What the Forked! Let me be clear about the FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) requests mentioned in Chuck Cutolo’s allncc email. The NCCFT Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for the NCCFT to form a Budget Committee in order to make budgetary recommendations to the college. Dr. Faren Siminoff has agreed to Chair our ad hoc Finance and Information Committee committee to support that effort. As such, Dr. Faren Siminoff on behalf of the NCCFT wrote these FOIL requests. We are grateful for her dedication and courage as we move forward. The information we are seeking refers to recent budgets submitted by the College. Furthermore, these requests are necessary to insure we have access to vital information related to the ongoing cuts to the services that we provide to our students. The FOIL request will insure we receive the information we need to make well-reasoned recommendations. I think it is appropriate to extrapolate from Chuck Cutolo’s recent email, the hostile sentiment of the Administration towards the Faculty as we exercise that right.
This sentiment was made very clear at the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, September 14. When the Board returned from executive session and opened the public meeting, Dr. Astrab made his now familiar power-point presentation concerning budget projections. Then he made his now familiar entreaty whereby we all must step up to the plate to solve this crisis. This dog and pony show that Dr. Astrab repeatedly rolls out concerning the budget is absurd. If, in fact, the Administration wants our help, why then, will they not collaborate with the Senate or the NCCFT to resolve the issues.
Perhaps the events that unfolded during the remainder of the Board meeting answer that question. The Board opened the floor to comments. Each speaker is limited to a 3-minute sound-byte to express their concerns and offer solutions to an incredibly complex financial and political institutional crisis. While there may be some rationale to this time limit in order to expedite the meeting, I think cutting speakers off in the middle of a sentence is beyond the pale. That action is tantamount to saying, “that’s enough; we are not listening anyway, so just shut up”. In addition, it was made perfectly clear that the Board will not collaborate with the faculty to resolve the budget crisis; instead, they will listen to suggestions. This is problematic insofar as our concerns with Dr. Astrab are now our concern with the Board. These discussions should take place with the elected bodies of the campus that are empowered to do so. This includes the Chairs, Senate and NCCFT Executive committees. This overreaching on the part of the Administration is one of the reasons for the Vote of No Confidence in the first place. Now, the Board of Trustees joins Dr. Astrab in their understanding of how the campus operates.
After the public comment portion of the meeting, members of the Board were also offered the opportunity to comment. To add insult to injury, the Board members jokingly asked the Chair if they were limited to 3 minutes, and then proceeded to speak well beyond that time allotment. The Board members once again expressed their confidence in Dr. Astrab, admonished the faculty for our negative evaluation of Dr. Astrab and told us that the NCCFT was a problem union. Those comments and the debacle that followed made it quite clear that the Board of Trustees and this Administration do not understand our concerns. In fact, not only were members of the Board clearly failing to respond to our concerns, indeed some showed outright antagonism that was of such concern we have requested a copy of the audio tape of the meeting. I believe the aggregate of our comments over the past year have touched upon every aspect of concern, commitment and expertise. Yet, the Board responds to our issues in such a manner as to indicate that they are responding to their perception of our concerns rather than our actual concerns. On the other hand, perhaps, they just do not care.
The NCCFT recognizes that the Board of Trustees and the President are clearly more interested in dismantling our contract and our governance structure than they are in collaborative efforts to solve the budget problems.
The NCCFT will continue to participate in the process to resolve the political and budgetary crisis. We ask that you consider using your talents to address our concerns by joining the Crisis Committee. We want to thank those who attended the Board meeting and those of you who spoke so passionately of your dedication to our students, campus and community that we serve.
Frank Frisenda, VP Classroom faculty
And now for a little music…