NCCFT Statement to BOT on 10/12/11 read by M. D. DeSanto
I am Debra DeSanto, president of the NCCFT. The name of our school is Nassau COMMUNITY College. We are here as members of the faculty and members of this community. Our community and our college are in trouble.
The college suffered one black eye when the faculty lost confidence in the President. Now it suffers another with the resignation and indictment of its former Board chair. At best these issues present problems for the college’s image. At worst, our standing as an institution of higher education is threatened.
Mr. Freeman was our primary contact on the Board. Now he’s gone and we are trying to understand what has occurred. A Federal investigation is a distraction. We wonder if Mr. Freeman was able to bring back to all of you an accurate representation of the meetings we had.
On a potentially brighter note, we also recognize the change in Dr. Astrab’s demeanor at the Academic Senate last week. Given that many of our concerns are related to shared governance, we welcomed his words. How those words are translated into action has yet to be determined. We are hoping these words represent a new beginning. If not, we will have heard empty words and no meaningful change will have occurred.
As I said, we are a college community. We hold everyone here – faculty, administration, board of trustees – to high standards for professional behavior so that when there are difficult problems to solve we can talk productively and respectfully. Respecting the process and structure of our shared governance system ensures the integrity of our educational environment as well as our collective bargaining agreement.
We want to move forward for our students and our community. One important step that you as Trustees can take to restore our confidence in the Board is to advocate with all your power that the Governor replace Michael Freeman with an individual who has longstanding experience as a faculty member in higher education.
Finally, although many things have changed, the budget deficit still looms. I renew my assertions that the Board of Trustees and the College Administration needs the NCCFT as its partner in solving the problems that challenge us. We continue to be here for our community.