A New Day -
The CWCC resolution bringing our Academic programs into compliance with SUNY Seamless passed easily at the special Academic Senate meeting held November 13, 2014. As previously stated, the NCCFT Executive Committee respects the integrity, professionalism and efforts of the CWCC, Academic Chairs and the Senate to bring together a proposal that best addresses our needs and satisfies SUNY’s mandate. However, as a matter of principle, we abstained from voting on this proposal in protest to the concept articulated in the MtP, to SUNY’s interference with local control over curriculum, to our Administrations usurpation of our governance process and to our Board of Trustees intervention.
Yet, that was yesterday. Today is different.
The Administration, delighted by their success, drafted and presented the Board with another resolution to usurp the authority of the Senate. This time they did so without bothering to use a mandate as an excuse for their inexcusable action. This resolution http://www.ncc.edu/aboutncc/ourpeople/board_of_trustees/11_2014_November_13_Calendar.pdf not only directs the Developmental Education Committee to conclude their deliberations by May, 2015, but also directs the outcomes.
Before the Board of Trustees hold their public sessions, they hold committee meetings. There are usually less than ten or so faculty and administrators sitting in the bleachers. However, at the latest Academic Affairs Board meeting, approximately fifty faculty and administrators were in attendance. The Chair of the committee, Kathy Weiss, discussed her support of the concepts described in the resolution yet, how uncomfortable she was to entertain this resolution and proposed to table it. She recognized that many faculty members were sitting in the audience and that the Board was interested in hearing what we had to say. The Board continued their discussions, tabled the motion with indecipherable caveats and concluded their discussion. At that time, Dr. Weiss turned and allowed only two people to speak. Bruce Urquhart, Chair of Developmental Education Committee, and Ed Boyden, Chair of the Academic Senate, both spoke eloquently about the process and accomplishments of the committees work thus far. In addition, they both expressed dismay at the Administration and Board’s interference with their deliberations. They might as well have been speaking to the proverbial wall. The Board’s decision was already made.
The Board then convened without going into Executive Session. As stunned and disgusted as we were by the Board’s actions, what happened next was truly contemptible; Dr. Saunders announced the Academic Senate had passed a resolution bringing our academic programs into compliance with SUNY Seamless. The Board questioned Dr. Saunders on the process of accepting or vetoing that proposal and made it clear to the President that the Board wanted to see the Senate proposal, comment on the proposal and the President shall understand and respect the feelings of the Board prior to making a decision. The President concurred.
Remember, in my previous post, I was told by the Chairman of the Board, “they didn’t understand or want to get involved in the Academic Senate, but were only nudging us to act with respect to the MtP”.
How can anyone misinterpret that comment? It is quite clear now, this Administration and Board have set a new paradigm and we must be vigilant with respect to the threats and united in our determination to protect our shared governance process. If we are not, they might be writing your course syllabus next.
The NCCFT Executive Committee supported the Academic Senate Executive Committee’s October 28, 2014 resolution asking the Board of Trustees to rescind their SUNY Seamless Mandate resolution. We supported this resolution as a matter of principle. Whether or not you agree with the concepts presented in SUNY Seamless, we believe the BOT’s resolution was premature and resulted from this Administration’s disingenuous representation of our process. They surprised all of us by presenting the resolution to the BOT without announcing it as an agenda item nor discussing the action with the Senate, Chairs or NCCFT. We were told by Board members that this BOT resolution was meant to “nudge” us to move forward since the SUNY mandate must be complied with and the Board did not want to interfere with the Academic Senate’s authority.
We also support the Governance process and respect the efforts of the Senate, CWCC, Academic Chairs, and all the departments attempting to comply with this ill-conceived SUNY mandate. The ASEC’s resolution, in our opinion, was not a stop work order, but a notice to the BOT to respect our shared governance process and allow us to continue our efforts to bring NCC into compliance.
The recurring theme during this entire debacle is that we must comply with the SUNY mandate or else SUNY will reduce FTE funding, deny conferral of degrees to our graduates, and will impose their own curriculum requirements. These are the same empty threats our Administration explained to the BOT to convince them to intervene. Empty threats because SUNY does not pay FTE monies, SUNY never indicated they would deny conferral, and SUNY went so far as to say they would not implement their own criteria into our programs. Remember, our resistance to the rush to implement bought us valuable time to address many inefficient and impractical requirements in the original MtP.
In reality, ask yourself, “If we don’t comply within the timeline imposed by SUNY, might someone on campus lose favor with the Chancellor?”
Now we are faced with another BOT resolution demanding action by our Developmental Education Committee http://www.ncc.edu/aboutncc/ourpeople/board_of_trustees/11_2014_November_13_Calendar.pdf . We are not going to address the merits of the committee charge. This is a Senate matter, at least until policies are discussed that will result in lost full time jobs. However, we will address this new order of business. The latest BOT resolution not only demands a timeline for action, but also demands specific results. We ask you, since this is not a SUNY mandate but rather a pet project of the Chancellor to eliminate remediation from the campus, thus saving money and eliminating jobs, why is the Administration drafting language for the BOT to intervene again?
Who owes this Chancellor so much that they are willing to interfere with our governance process, attack the dignity, ability and authority of the faculty, and implement their own distorted view of student achievement?
Furthermore, if past practice is any prediction of the impending procedure, the BOT Academic Affairs Committee will allow the Administration to make their case for the BOT to intervene again; the BOT AA Chair will not allow the faculty to speak; the BOT will meet in Executive Session to discuss the resolution and vote on the resolution in public session. They will then adjourn the meeting and give the attending public 3 minutes each to speak, if we place our names on a speakers list by calling the Secretary to the Board (Anne Brandi) prior to the meeting.
Administrative interference with faculty rights is a common complaint we hear from our K-12 brothers and sisters. Ask yourself, who on the Board would bring this new paradigm of K-12 interference to Nassau Community College?
POLITICAL ACTION-Nassau County:
It’s all about the turnout now-we’ve done a solid two months of labor walks, mailers, phone banks, and assisting multiple campaigns both financially and with man power. What this election is going to depend on is who shows up to the polls on Tuesday. Please do everything you can to get out and vote on Tuesday and support NYSUT endorsed candidates. Vote like your job depends on it.
We have multiple key races in Nassau and Suffolk county that could all fall in our favor if NYSUT members come out strong and vote on Tuesday. This election is ours for the taking!
The Nassau PAC team thanks everyone for their efforts up to this point and we are asking for one final push. GET OUT THE VOTE!!!!
Ask not what your Union can do for you, but what you can do for your Union!
We need your help.
It is important to be an active member. Here is a way you can help.
NYSUT wants our help in getting the endorsed candidates elected into office. The
NYSUT PAC team is running phone banks.
We have the following dates from 3-6 pm at the Nassau Regional office, address
They also have earlier hours if you need them. Let us know and we can tell you
when they are. Please let us know if and when you can go. We will forward your
name to NYSUT so that you are expected.
Monday, Oct. 20
Tuesday, Oct. 21
Wednesday, Oct. 22
Monday, Oct. 27
Tuesday, Oct. 28
Wednesday, Oct. 29
Please call or email the NCCFT union office – 516-572-7198 or email@example.com
with your availability.
Thank you in advance for your help
Co-chairs NCCFT PAC
1000 Woodbury Road -Suite 214
Woodbury, NY 11797
Just when we thought we were making progress with our discussions concerning SUNY Seamless, the empty threats emanating from our Administration have taken a turn to desperation. In an act of utter contempt for the concerns of the faculty, students and community we serve, our Administration has asked the BOT to disregard our history of shared governance and give dictatorial powers to the Administration.
At the NCCFT General Faculty meeting yesterday, I spoke to you on the topic of SUNY Seamless. I reiterated the position of the NCCFT Executive Committee. We believe that SUNY Seamless is problematic in many ways, as previously posted on this website. The Faculty on this campus have risen to the challenges and were able to push back the implementation date by one year. This has given us time to reevaluate the consequences of the SUNY mandate and has allowed us to engage is honest and meaningful discussions. Of course, we recognize the authority of the Academic Senate and support the will of that body. President Debbie DeSanto also reminded us that the main concern of the NCCFT with respect to the implementation of this mandate is the effect on Full Time employment.
We received word that the BOT scheduled an Academic Affairs sub-committee meeting for Tuesday evening. The rumor was that the BOT was going to assume the responsibility for implementing SUNY Seamless. At the General Faculty meeting I quipped, “if you have never been to a BOT meeting, you might think this will work”.
Never did I imagine what was about to occur. At the BOT Academic Affairs meeting, the Administration presented to the BOT an outline discussing how the Academic Senate has been stonewalling any discussions on SUNY Seamless and how this has led to a crisis in meeting the timeline established by SUNY and the arbitrary timeline established by the Administration to program Banner, etc. At these BOT committee meetings, the faculty are guests and sit in the audience. We do not have any right to speak. In order to speak, we must get the attention of the Committee Chair (whose back is to us) and ask for permission. Permission is not always granted. Debbie, Lynn Mazzola and I finally brought enough attention to Dr. Gardyn to recognize us and he allowed us to speak. The discussion became quite robust. The Administration asked the BOT to give the Academic Senate a deadline to create a resolution bringing the campus into compliance this semester or, if the Senate does not comply, grant that authority to the Acting Executive Vice President.
And, the Board complied.
Frank Frisenda, NCCFT Vice President
- The NCCFT received today the first draft of the new CBA from Ingerman Smith. We are working on finalizing the language of the CBA in spirit, intent and word. This is a time consuming and an ongoing process.
- The Academic Senate Executive Committee (ASEC) placed SUNY Seamless front and center for discussion at the opening session of the Academic Senate meeting, which took place on September 30, 2014. Many interesting viewpoints were expressed, many valuable insights were provided and many unanswered questions remain. It has been and continues to be the position of the NCCFT to support the will and authority of the Academic Senate. In addition, the welfare of our members is of utmost importance. Our primary objective is to protect jobs and prevent the loss of full-time lines. Our past posts regarding SUNY Seamless have intended to educate our members on this initiative and the consequences that we will have to live with if we comply with the mandate as dictated by SUNY. We are confident that the contributions of the NCCFT have been of assistance, with the succor of the Faculty Council of Community Colleges, to the ASEC in their efforts and success in challenging SUNY’s ill-conceived mandate while we embark cautiously with collaborative discussions.
- On October 2, 2014 the NCCFT held their annual New Faculty Luncheon. It was so wonderful to welcome so many new union brothers and sisters from across the campus, including an entire table of LINCC Lecturers, to the NCCFT. Several members expressed their appreciation for the recent CBA, understanding that the NCCFT is all about, for and driven by its members. We are proud to report that we have increased our full-time faculty to 693 and that 692 are NCCFT members. It was exciting to see the enthusiasm of our new union brothers and sisters who wish to become active members as they learned that the NCCFT is their bargaining voice and their advocates on the NCC campus. We welcome all, not just our newest members, to get involved as we continue to embrace new ideas and fresh perspectives as we grow and evolve toward the future. This is your union! We stand stronger when we stand together!
- Upcoming dates to note:
- October 7, 2014 – NCCFT Executive Board Meeting at 11:30 am in room G-109
- October 14, 2014 – NCCFT General Union Meeting at 11:30 am in the CCB-MPR