PROVIDENCE — Meghan Hughes, president of the Community College of Rhode Island, received a three-year renewal of her contract Tuesday night.
The Council of Post-Secondary Education unanimously approved her contract after meeting for an hour in executive session.
The vote came despite strong opposition by the faculty union, who recently penned a letter to council chairman Tim DelGuidice claiming she has ignored their concerns and refused to collaborate.
Both the faculty union and support professionals issued a vote of no confidence in Hughes last year.
Members of the council, however, praised Hughes, who arrived in 2016, for the transformational change she has brought to the college, highlighted by the free scholarship program called Rhode Island Promise.
“We just codified the Promise program,” DelGuidice said, referring to a recent vote by the legislation to make the program permanent. “This is the result of her leadership.”
Council member Rachelle Green said in numerous conversations with faculty, students and business leaders, a consensus emerged that Hughes has their enthusiastic support.
“She is mission-driven,” Green said, adding that CCRI has seen “dramatic improvement” under her leadership.
Details of the contract will now be negotiated by DelGuidice.
In a letter to DelGiudice last week, the faculty union and two other unions wrote that management relations are strained across CCRI’s campuses.
“As you know the Faculty Association and the Education Support Professionals Association both voted no confidence in President Hughes. These votes were not taken lightly and only after multiple failed attempts to be heard by this administration,” the letter said.
“Overall, we feel disrespected and unheard,” the letter said. “The Hughes Administration has shown no regard for the professional knowledge and expertise of the faculty and staff. Decisions are made impacting students without seeking the input of the individuals who interact with students daily.”
Asked about the proposed contract Monday, Walsh declined to comment, saying that “We are always in dialogue” with the college administration.
Linda borg covers education for the Journal.