CPCS Loses Its Dean

Carl Brooks

Ismail Ramirez-Soto, Dean of the College of Public and Community Service (CPCS), has left his position after contract negotiations came to a sudden end. He has stepped down after university administration offered him what CPCS Assistant Dean Marie Kennedy called “basically a severance package.”

“They offered him a totally unacceptable contract [and] the negotiations were very late.”

According to Assistant Vice Chancellor Anita Miller, Ramirez-Soto was offered the same one-year contract as all the other deans at UMass Boston. Ramirez-Soto’s position is unique, however. He did not have tenure and has never been offered tenure at UMass. According to Marie Kennedy, “All deans either come in under tenure or are offered tenure. [Ramirez-Soto] had a special clause in his contract that would allow him to convert back to a tenure track if he left the dean’s office.”

“If he had accepted [the one-year contract] he would have been extremely vulnerable.”

Under the new contract, Ramirez-Soto could be forced out of his faculty job if he was not offered tenure after the new, one-year contract was up. Ramirez-Soto has been dean of CPCS for eight years.

Miller says that Ramirez-Soto did not have a special clause, “There was language allowing a discussion about beginning talks regarding tenure.”

Negotiations for the new contract had apparently been rocky from the start and ended abruptly.

His five-year contract came to an end at the end of August and, according to Kennedy, final details of Ramirez-Soto’s new contract were not revealed to him until 5pm on Friday, Aug 28. Miller replies, “There has been discussion about this for some time. I don’t believe anything [Ramirez-Soto] was offered last week was new.”

He did not accept the terms and instead exercised the clause in his old contract that allowed him to return to faculty life and seek a tenure track.

According to Miller, Ramirez-Soto “will be transferred back to an academic basis position on the faculty.” That leaves CPCS without a dean and has aggravated many members of the CPCS staff.

Indignation is running high among CPCS staff and faculty. “He spent his whole career here as an administrator,” says Kennedy. “He has seen the college through some extraordinary changes and he has overwhelming support in the department.”

A five-year review of Ramirez-Soto’s performance was released in June and is described as “extremely favorable.”

The college is facing $169,000 in budget cuts and the uncertain position of their administration has left many unsettled. An emergency meeting was called on Tuesday to discuss the sudden disappearance of a popular administrator and to make tough personnel decisions.

Kennedy feels that the failed contract negotiations and Ramirez-Soto’s sudden abdication are part of a concerted attack on the CPCS by the UMass Boston administration. “It’s been understood for some time now that this administration does not share our values or the mission of the College.

“This is their opportunity to put in somebody who will do their bidding.”

Miller strongly denied that there was any effort to get rid of Ramirez-Soto, “He was absolutely not singled out for this! There was no hunt for this at all.

“I can confirm that he was offered a contract and he turned it down. I don’t know why. I’m sorry about it; I like Ismail a great deal.”