Mark Ojakian (right), President of the Board of Regents of Higher Education listens to Maura O’Connor, an art professor at MCC while she voices her concerns over the rising costs of tuition and fees for art students. Photo by James Lancy

Thursday morning saw a packed house in the SBM Charitable Foundation Auditorium as Mark Ojakian, President of the Board of Regents for Higher Education met with students, staff, and faculty alike to hear their concerns surrounding a plan to consolidate all two-year institutions into one.

Such a plan would reduce the amount of staff on college campuses by centralizing leadership and administrative staff. Each community college campus would, under this plan, operate under one name at their specific location. Ojakian voiced that he believes his plan would not affect students in any way while saving the state an estimated $28 Million, as reported by the Hartford Courant.

Maura O’Connor, an art professor lamented that her students would see an increase in studio fees in the future when obtaining a degree in programs such as Graphic Design.

Angelo Messore expressed his concern that the proposed plan would unjustly single out community colleges, and would cut out much more of a budget than larger four-year institutions. Such a cut would adversely affect in-state students that come from lower income families.

Savannah Hoy, a student of MCC expressed her concern about the quality of her education, that it would likely decrease because of Ojakian’s proposed plan. If the quality of her education decreases, she would likely take her business elsewhere, she said.

Others stated that the individual college campuses would see a decreased quality in the way they operate because of the erasure of their individuality. Should the centralization happen, a new administration would have to spend much of the money the state would save in an effort to rebrand every college campus in the state of Connecticut.