The NCCFT Executive Committee wants to welcome Dr. Faren Siminoff as Secretary of the NCCFT. Dr. Siminoff has hit the ground running and we look forward to strengthening our team with the expertise and energy she brings to the union. We want to thank Prof. Richard Newman for coming forward to run for this position and are grateful and excited that he will continue to serve as Chair of the NCCFT Crisis Committee.
Last week, the Executive Committee attended NYSUT’s annual Community College Conference in Cooperstown (one of the few places in New York that still cared about this year’s World Series). Dr. Elizabeth Wood presented at a workshop detailing community outreach and Dr. James Hoyt presented at a workshop detailing professional faculty issues. In addition, Prof. Debra DeSanto and Prof. Frank Frisenda moderated other workshops. In attendance were: Lynn Bergin, Carmine DeSanto, Gerald Leibowitz, Jean Miller, Christine Tuaillon and first timers Heather Huntington, Stephanie Sapiie, and Dawn Smith.
While the news throughout the conference was uniformly depressing (the exception was Frank Frisenda’s recognition as Higher Education member of the Year) there were some glimmers of hope. On the negative side, anti-labor forces have stolen the narrative. Labor, and public unions in particular, have been vilified as a major cause of the nation’s and local communities’ current economic woes. On a more encouraging note, regardless of your personal views on the Occupy Wall Street movement, this has provided the opportunity to take back the narrative. We need to seize the moment this movement has provided. We are, after all, the 99% – too big to fail.
The NCCFT has formed a Budget Committee and has scheduled meetings with the Administration in an effort to both understand the budget process and move forward a more productive dialogue with the Administration as to how we can fairly and smartly resolve our budgetary crisis. There is also now a Search Committee for the VP for Academic Affairs and Frank Frisenda will serve as the NCCFT’s representative to it.
On Wednesday, November 2nd, the Crisis Committee conducted another successful leafleting event. This ongoing campaign is intended to alert students and their families to the fact that inadequate State and County funding, along with this Administration’s repeated disregard of faculty expertise, has placed student services and academic integrity in jeopardy.
Since our last communication several issues of concern have surfaced. One is the debacle surrounding the Administration’s putative decision to take over half of the Library’s third floor with no consultation with Nancy Williamson, Chair of Library Services. Confusion reigned with different branches of the Administration unclear as to who had authorized this “takeover” and exactly when it would occur. While Dr. Astrab at the recent Academic Senate meeting indicated that this was now “unlikely”, he would not definitely rule it our either. The resolution of this very problematic proposal remains, to date, still unresolved.
Equally disturbing is the Writeplacer debacle. Writeplacer is a computer program that will be used to score English placement essay exams. It will be implemented over the objections of the English Department and despite its demonstrated high failure rate in accurately placing students. The selection of Writeplacer is clearly an arbitrary decision by the Administration and yet another example of an Administration who, in its arrogance, cares little for this faculty’s expertise or the best interest of our students.
In a final slap on our proverbial face, the Administration has just increased the salary of the College’s Assistant General Counsel from $92,835 to $126,000 during a time when the faculty is constantly told that due to a budgetary crisis it must sacrifice, sacrifice and sacrifice some more to resolve this crisis. Is this the Administration’s and Board of Trustees’ response to our repeated offers to enter into discussions with them? Could this be their plan to resolve the crisis? First eliminate thirty-nine full-time faculty positions, next pad the pockets of their own with outlandish salaries? This constant assault on our faculty, on our system of shared governance, and on academic standards and integrity must be stopped.
The NCCFT Executive Committee
And now for a little music….