Similarly, as the Mad Hatter asks, “Why is a raven like a writing desk.”
Yesterday, Elsa Nunez, the Board of Regent’s Vice President for State Universities, and President of Eastern Connecticut State University, sent an email to faculty and staff at Eastern Connecticut State University about the, “recent news coverage of events related to the Board of Regents for Higher Education.”
In the communication, Nunez seeks to ensure readers that last spring, when the Board of Regents selected her to become Vice President for State Universities, in addition to her role as President of Eastern, the extra $48,000 that was added to her annual paycheck was a “stipend/salary adjustment (not a raise).”
She reports that a similar situation was implemented when David Levinson, the president of Norwalk Community College, was appointed the Board of Regent’s Vice President for the Community Colleges.
In Nunez’s case, she says, adding $48,000 to her base salary of $299,000, plus benefits, (and $48,000 to Levinson’s salary,) actually saved taxpayers money since the Board of Regents would otherwise have had to hire a new President of Eastern and a new President of Norwalk Community College, thereby costing the state even more money.
In her letter yesterday, she also wanted Eastern Connecticut State University faculty and staff to understand that her appointment and stipend was approved by the Board of Regents on May 17, 2012, so that the situation was substantively different than the illegal raises that were handed out to people like Michael Meotti, the Executive Vice President of the Board of Regents.
President Nunez goes on to chastise the media saying, “In my opinion, the list of system office staff pay raises mentioned in the news media should not have included the two Vice President stipends that had been previously approved by the Board of Regents.”
Apparently the good news for Nunez is that hopefully the whole situation will be resolved in the near future. Since, as Nunez notes, “Last week, the Board of Regents suspended Dr. Levinson’s and my stipends, pending a review by a subcommittee established by the Board of Regents. At some point, a determination and a statement will be forthcoming from the Board of Regents on this personnel matter.”
She closes by saying, “In the meantime, I am committed to supporting the higher education goals of the Board of Regents as we move forward to serve our students and the citizens of Connecticut.”
As to the exact nature of what the “higher education goals of the Board of Regents” might be, she is silent.
To date the goals appear to include;
(1) Failing to follow the law,
(2) Failing to have a full array of Board Members who actually have the experience and understanding necessary to manage a state university and community college system,
(3) Failing to speak out against the fact that Governor Malloy implemented the deepest cuts in state history to Connecticut’s public colleges and universities and that those cuts are shifting more and more of the cost of getting an education onto the backs of Connecticut’s working families.
(4) Failing to admit that by reducing the number of courses being offered and shifting to the use of a record number of adjunct (part-time) faculty, rather than more experienced full-time faculty, students are paying more, but getting less.
Nor does Vice President mention that, to date, the Board of Regents has been engaged in an unprecedented, unwarranted and destructive attempt to undermine the quality and essential role of Connecticut’s state community colleges.
Except for that, the answer as to when is a “stipend/salary adjustment (not a raise)” or “Why is a raven like a writing desk,” are now pretty clear.