PROVIDENCE — Meghan Hughes, the president of the Community College of Rhode Island, was awarded another three-year contract Tuesday night.
The Council of Post-Secondary Education unanimously approved a renewal of her contract after meeting for about an hour.
Hughes took over as CCRI’s president in February 2016, becoming the fifth leader of the community college. Much of her time as president has been focused on Rhode Island Promise, a program that helps cover tuition for eligible students at CCRI. It was set to expire with the class entering school this year, but the General Assembly recently removed the sunset provision to make it permanent.
The details of her contract will be negotiated by Council Chairman Tim DelGiudice. Her annual salary during the current fiscal year is $276,799.90, according to state records.
While the Council was able quickly come to a decision on Hughes, it comes after a strained year between her and CCRI’s employees. In December 2020, after the community college announced 122 layoffs of part-time employees, the CCRI Educational Support Professional Association, a union that represents 184 employees, voted “no confidence” in Hughes and Associate Vice President for Administration Alix Ogden.
“Our members are the lowest paid employees at CCRI, yet we have been the most severely impacted from your administration’s poor institutional management. While 16 percent of our members’ jobs have been eliminated, high-level administrator positions have ballooned on your watch,” said Michael McNally, president of CCRI ESPA, at the time in a letter to Hughes and Ogden.
McNally had asked that in order to regain the confidence of members, leadership would have to engage in dialogue with the union and assure the workers who were reassigned to the state health department would have jobs when they attempted to return to CCRI.
But December’s vote wasn’t the first time that Hughes faced opposition from union leaders.
In 2018, the faculty union, CCRI Faculty Association or CCRIFA, called for Hughes and others in the administration’s leadership to “step aside” after 82 percent of the union’s members voted “no confidence” in Hughes.
Union presidents for the CCRIFA and CCRI ESPA could not be immediately reached Tuesday night regarding Hughes’ contract renewal.