The sudden resignation of Michael Freeman from the Board of Trustees has certainly come as a shock, at least to us. We are also surprised that the announcement about his resignation indicated that it was for personal reasons, despite coverage in Newsday and The New York Times that same morning of his indictment along with 6 other people on charges including bribery, extortion, wire fraud and money laundering. We understand that Mr. Freeman is presumed innocent, and we wish him appropriate representation. Meanwhile, the remaining members of this Board suddenly have even more work to do to restore our confidence in the administrative leadership of NCC. We suggest they start by working whatever connections they have to make sure that Mr. Freeman’s replacement is an educator with a strong commitment to excellence in public higher education.
While all this unfolds, the business of the NCCFT goes on, and we want you to know what we’ve been up to. It has been a very busy beginning of the semester.
On Monday, September 26th, The NCCFT Executive Committee and our NYSUT Labor Relations Specialist Claudia Shacter-deChabert attended a conference at the Brooklyn branch of PERB (Public Employees Relations Board). On the other side of the table were John Gross, Regina Cafarella (Attorneys for the College) and AVP Ann Muth. The Administrative Law Judge listened to arguments from both sides regarding the issue of the appointment of Temporary lines into the 5th semester. The NCCFT believes Past Practice dictates those appointments be converted to Probationary lines. The College does not. No agreement could be reached and a hearing has been set for January 19th, 2012.
In addition to the PERB hearing, September has been a busy start of the semester for the Executive Committee. We thank Michael Anzelone (ENG) for his service as NCCFT Secretary, and we look forward to the election of a new officer. Meanwhile, though shorthanded:
- We met with the Crisis Committee and are working with them to help them organize the membership.
- We attended the NYSUT Higher Ed Council meeting in Albany.
- We formed a Budget Committee to review the College budget.
- We are collecting and evaluating the FOIL requests.
- We met with NYSUT Regional Staff Director John Coverdale to discuss concerns about the last BOT meeting, and about anti-union animus.
- We participated in ongoing mediation on questions related to LINCC Lecturers.
- We met with members of the administration, including President Astrab, on mulitiple occasions, to discuss matters ranging from the affirmative action search for an Academic Vice President, to the move to the new health sciences building, to proposals related to the college’s budget deficit.
In addition, we continue to meet with individual faculty members about individual concerns and represent them at Affirmative Action investigations and progressive discipline meetings.
Some of the content and substance of these discussions is, of course confidential. Some is strategically premature to discuss, and some is posted our website. Many items will be discussed with the NCCFT Executive Board at its monthly meetings. We encourage you to stay in close contact with your representative to the Executive Board. And, of course, there will be many updates at the NCCFT General Faculty meeting. Please make every effort to attend those meetings.
We hope you have all had a chance to read Dr. Astrab’s allncc email explaining his actions to the campus community. After sending that email, Dr. Astrab read a statement at the Academic Senate explaining his actions. In his statement he acknowledged many things he did not acknowledge in his email, namely being hasty and overconfident, and not understanding the history or the structure of the shared governance system at NCC. His statement included a promise to work on these shortcomings and to collaborate with the Executive Committees of the Senate, Chairs and NCCFT. We are encouraged by Dr. Astrab’s remarks and the NCCFT will make every effort to work with his Administration in discussions that insure the integrity of the contract, the rights of the membership, and the mission of the college. However, it would be premature to sigh a collective breath of relief in thinking that Dr. Astrab’s statements signal the end of the hostility and distrust that exists on the campus. The upshot is that actions speak louder than words and it is incumbent upon each of us to be clear on what collaboration means, and on how we can and can’t collaborate. Dr. Astrab made it clear that the College’s financial deficit is real and that he is forming several budget task forces. It is important that we are vigilant in working within the framework of the NCCFT contract. This includes the autonomy of the academic departments and the authority and structure of the Academic Senate. Furthermore, it would constitute an improper practice for individual faculty to enter into negotiations or agreements with the administration about items defined in the contract.
With so much happening so rapidly, it is more important than ever for you to stay in close touch with your NCCFT department representatives.
Some reminders about upcoming events:
- The candidates’ forum for the NCCFT Secretary election will be Tuesday, 10/11, at 11:30 in F-123.
- The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is Wednesday evening. The Board will open its meeting at 6:30pm, then generally goes immediately into Executive Session, and resumes its public meeting at approximately 8pm. The meeting is in the Tower building, 11th floor. Please make every effort to attend.
The NCCFT Executive Committee