On behalf of the NCCFT, I want to extend our congratulations to Dr. James Hoyt who was re-elected to serve as Vice-President of Non-Classroom Faculty. Next, it is with sadness that we accept the resignation of Prof. Michael Anzelone as Secretary of the NCCFT. Mike has been a resourceful, intelligent and dedicated leader. We want to extend our gratitude to him for his service, and we are confident that he will continue to serve as the true professional he is. If you see him, you might want to say thank you.
Over the summer, the NCCFT formed the Crisis Committee, co-chaired by Prof. Richard Newman and Mr. Garry Ouellette. The first action of the Crisis Committee was to educate and organize the faculty for the Vote of No Confidence (VNC). At the same time, Prof. Faren Siminoff, on behalf of the NCCFT, filed FOIL requests asking for information regarding last year’s expenditures and this year’s budget. The very next day after the VNC, the NCCFT met with Michael Freeman, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, and the Administration to discuss cost savings measures. Our offer was summarily “dismissed” with no counterproposal except to say, “the College will bite the bullet for the next two years”. The Crisis Committee then organized the faculty to attend the now infamous BOT meeting on September 14.
The Board of Trustees and the Administration has told the NCCFT membership where they stand. Now begins a new round of action.
Last weekend, I attended NYSUT’s Higher Ed Council in Albany. This body is comprised of the union leadership of the Community Colleges as well as the United University Professionals, the union representing the SUNY 4-year institutions. The agenda focused on the new Statewide Higher Ed Master-plan being developed by the NYS Department of Education http://www.highered.nysed.gov/swp/ – and the potential consequences to the SUNY 2 and 4 year campuses if implemented in a variety of forms. One issue of concern is that the leadership of the NYSED has an agenda focused towards privatization and business models. I have confidence that the faculty members who serve on the Senate Planning Committee will review this statewide plan in conjunction with the NCC Strategic Plan. We must be ever cognizant to the implicit and explicit agendas contained in both these plans with respect to our CBA, shared-governance and the future of the rights we have worked so hard to achieve.
Moreover, the Higher Ed meeting gave me the opportunity to discuss some of the issues of concern at Nassau with members of the NYSUT staff. If you recall, my last post referred to the Tower of Babel, wherein I asserted the President and the BOT do not understand or care what the faculty have to say. With respect to the Vote of No Confidence and the horrendous BOT meeting that followed, the NCCFT is in communication with the leadership of NYSUT Albany, and NYSUT is exercising its political influence with SUNY in an attempt to bring a level of understanding between the NCCFT and the College Administration. Furthermore, NYSUT is providing the NCCFT with a staff member to provide assistance to our newly formed NCCFT Budget Committee. The members of this committee are Professors Carolyn Falconetti, Bernie Gorman, Phyllis Kurland, Lynn Mazzola and Richard Newman. We are planning on meeting with members of the administration in the very near future to begin discussions with respect to the budget process. Prof. Faren Siminoff is leading the NCCFT FOIL requests and Professors Lynn Mazzola, Carolyn Falconetti and NCCFT President Debbie DeSanto are also actively involved in that review. The information we receive from these requests will provide vital assistance to the Budget Committee and the campus at-large.
In addition, the NCCFT Executive Committee met with NYSUT Nassau Regional Director, Mr. John Coverdale, and our Labor Relations Specialist, Claudia Shacter-deChabert, last week. Nassau regional NYSUT staff are aware of the crisis on our campus and they are working with us to provide political and public relations support. Finally, I want to make it clear that the NCCFT has been working with the CSEA and the other County unions by attending their rallies, ceremonies and are in contact with the leadership of the CSEA. As the NYSUT slogan says, “We are One”; and we have been practicing what we preach.
The political and fiscal crisis overwhelming our nation is real. However, make no mistake, there is another crisis taking place on this campus and this is not a budget crisis. This is not a crisis that Dr. Astrab inherited through no fault of his own. This is not a crisis that the Board of Trustees is qualified to solve on their own. This is a crisis insofar as a handful of new arrivals to our campus believe that they know best how to solve the budget problems. Their answer is to break the NCCFT membership and erode shared governance. We must be prepared to engage in a sustained fight so that the full-time faculty are able to continue to provide the services that we offer our students. The Administration has their public relations machine trying to make the case that we are entrenched in a lost culture. Together with support from the Statewide and Local NYSUT offices we are asking you, the membership, to provide your expertise and energy to force the administration to listen to our ideas through the appropriate channels. The most productive manner in which this can be accomplished is to join the Crisis Committee, relay your ideas to your department representative and work diligently in your individual departments and the Senate committees to find acceptable cost savings. Your Department Reps are in the process of collecting private email addresses so the Crisis Committee can put together a database. Please give them this information, as this will be the vehicle we use to communicate information and Calls to Action.
Of course, business as usual has not stopped in the NCCFT office…but that’s another story.
Frank Frisenda, Vice-President Classroom Faculty
And now for a little music…..