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CCRI Faculty protesting ‘educationally unsound’ 12-day classes



Members of he Community College of Rhode Island Faculty Association (CCRIFA) were protesting in the morning and at noon today to call attention to pedagogical failures of a 15 week curriculum being squeezed into a 12 day winter intercession called JTerm.

CCRIFA President Steve Murray told UpriseRI that the current program is not educationally sound and not in the best interests of students. Members of the CCRIFA are currently working without a contract and recently voted “no confidence” in Community College of Rhode Island President Meghan Hughes, vice president of academic affairs, Rosemary Costigan, and Dean Thomas Sabbagh. The motion, approved by more than 80 percent of the members, maintains that Hughes, Costigan and Sabbagh have “repeatedly failed in their leadership roles at the college to the detriment of our students. They lack the competence and demeanor required to fulfill their leadership roles at the College and they should be removed from their positions of leadership.”

“The administration,” said Murray, “is trying to boost the graduation rate, and they’ll do it anyway they can.” Prompted by Channel 10/WJAR reporter Bill Rappleye, Murray added, “It’s part of Rhode Island Promise, absolutely. The students, to be involved in Rhode Island Promise, have to complete 30 credits in an academic year. A lot of these students can’t do it in the Fall Semester.”

Rhode Island Promise is a needs based, last dollar scholarship that makes enrolling at CCRI essentially free. It is a program launched by Governor Gina Raimondo.

The faculty protesting outside CCRI are turning down around $4000 for 12 days work in refusing to teach the JTerm courses. CCRI has hired teachers from out of state, some who have never taught at CCRI before, to teach the classes. Some classes have as few as 3 students.

“They’re offering a nursing course, Pharmacology 3, for students who weren’t able to pass it in 15 weeks. They’ve got three students signed up to try to learn that same amount of material in 12 days,” said Murray.

The following is the press release from CCRIFA:

“Members of the CCRI Faculty Association are today engaged in leafleting and an informational picket at the Warwick campus, following the overwhelming vote of No Confidence in CCRI President Meghan Hughes and her administration earlier last month. The CCRI faculty are protesting the launch of the winter intercession (JTerm) at CCRI. This intercession – which will fail the very students it purports to serve – illustrates the greater failure of President Hughes’ leadership.

“Not only was the intercession developed in rushed fashion without the input of the faculty, it was, in fact, created by President Hughes after rejecting the concerns of the faculty over the efficacy of the 12-day semester.

“It is intuitive to nearly everyone that you cannot do in 12 days what is typically done in 15 weeks. But for President Hughes it is what looks good more than what is good.

“It is a shame that when President Hughes eventually moves on – and eventually she will – she will have done a great disservice to the students of CCRI and to the institution itself.”

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Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.