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Rhode Island College president steps down following criticism

Dr. Nancy Carriuolo came in with much fanfare, but now, after seven and a half years, her tenure as the head of Rhode Island College is coming to an end. (WJAR)

Dr. Nancy Carriuolo came in with much fanfare, but now, after seven and a half years, Carriuolo's tenure as the head of Rhode Island College is coming to an end.

The Office of the Postsecondary Education Commissioner announced on Thursday that Carriuolo will resign effective following May 2016 graduation.

For many employees of the college, it has been a long time coming.

"I think it's a very sad time for Rhode Island College because this president was handed a gift," said Dr. Mark Motte of the college's geography department.

That gift, said Motte, was being given the reigns of what he describes as a fine educational institution.

Motte is just one of several staffers that submitted a letter to the Board of Education describing a "damaging" work environment during the past several years.

"We had people who broke down in tears telling their stories about how they had been punished, persecuted (and) harassed by this president," Motte said.

The numbers speak for themselves.

In an anonymous survey given to employees, the negatives far outweighed the positives. In fact, 74 percent of survey-takers disagreed with the statement, "Administration regularly consults with employees about decisions that affect them."

Bar charts illustrated the level of disagreement when it comes to perceived administrative ethics, and respect of employees.

"I would describe her behavior, particularly in the last three to four years, as pathological," Motte said.

But Carriuolo has her supporters, as well.

Sixty of the 360 employees signed a letter in support of her. She also released a statement to members of the staff at Rhode Island College saying, in part, "I cannot ignore the fact that the college community is divided. Consequently, for the sake of the college, the Postsecondary Council and I have agreed that I will step down as president after spring graduation."

In a statement, Bill Foulkes, Chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education, said Carriuolo had done much to improve the school.

"Under her leadership, RIC has expanded both the curriculum and the physical footprint of the School of Nursing and boosted outreach to the Rhode Island community," said Foulkes.

But Motte told NBC 10 News there's a sense of relief among staff members on campus and they hope the next president will be more willing to work with them to better the educational experience for students.

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