- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Fourteen faculty, staff and former staff members at Rhode Island College are asking the state to fire the college president.

The group wrote last week to the Council on Postsecondary Education, which is conducting an annual review of President Nancy Carriuolo.

The letter alleges Carriuolo isn’t paying enough attention to school finances, doesn’t collaborate with appropriate staff, and terminates or penalizes people because of unsubstantiated rumors or honest professional disagreements, among other issues.

It says the college “barely resembles” the spirited, student-focused, highly-productive institution it once was, and Carriuolo “must go.”

A college spokeswoman directed questions to the postsecondary commissioner’s office, which says it will consider the feedback.

The signatories’ names were removed when the letter was made public.

“People have been afraid for much too long, I think, to speak about some of the practices of the president with respect to those who disagree with her and those she takes a disliking to,” said geography Professor Mark Motte, one of the signatories willing to speak publicly. “There’s no doubt she has accomplished some positive things on this campus, but many of us feel that the negatives far outweigh the positives.”

Paul Brooks, the coordinator of the president’s staff, said Tuesday he couldn’t immediately reach Carriuolo for comment because she was traveling. He said he couldn’t say whether she’s aware of the letter.

Another signer, Michael E. Smith, who works in institutional research and planning, said he worried Carriuolo wasn’t setting priorities or a clear strategic vision. Smith, who was the president’s assistant from 1995 to 2012, said he also thinks Carriuolo doesn’t pay enough attention to serious fiscal issues. Carriuolo was named president in 2008.

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the bond rating for the Rhode Island Board of Governors for Higher Education in March. It said the downgrade reflected the credit quality of both Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island.

The postsecondary council annually reviews the presidents at the state institutions, considering their vision and accomplishments, Jim Purcell, the postsecondary commissioner, wrote in an email.

Purcell said the council values the input of the college community, though he said it wasn’t helpful to the process or fair to Carriuolo for the letter to be made public.

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