Good Evening—I am Debra DeSanto—President of the NCCFT and I will be reading this statement on behalf of the Executive Committee
If this has been a difficult year–and it has–it is not because we have made it so. Each time we have spoken strongly against President Astrab’s actions, or sought remedies from the grievance procedure or PERB over the actions of the administration, we have done so only after our repeated attempts at finding solutions have failed.
It has also been a difficult year, however, because of the many issues that have unnecessarily been turned by President Astrab or members of his administration into major points of contention between us. A list of these issues includes:
- The attempt to deny NCC email privileges to professors emeritus
- The allncc moratorium
- The raises that were given to certain administrators, who apparently deserve more money when they do more work, while the rest of us are expected to do more with less
- The problematic nature of President Astrab’s vision statement
- The attempt to deny full-time temporary faculty fourth-to-fifth semester conversions to probationary status
- The embarrassing debacle of the NCC Fact Book
- The changes to the Nassau Foundation’s bylaws
- The reduction of Academic Senate-related reassigned time
- The misinformation provided to Vignette reporters
None of these issues needed to become major conflicts. That President Astrab allowed them to grow into ones makes us question his decision making ability. Yet he has consistently refused to take responsibility, choosing instead to lay accountability for these problems elsewhere, with the college attorneys, for example, or the Board of Trustees or some other campus entity – anyone other than himself. This is hardly the behavior of a leader and, as much as anything else, justifies the two votes of no confidence we have taken against him.
As President of the NCCFT, I am accountable to my members; so are the officers of the Academic Senate Executive Committee and so is every other elected faculty representative on campus. If we fail as leaders, our members let us know and, when the time comes, they can vote us out. When you extended President Astrab’s contract at the end of the last academic year, you signaled support for the style and the substance of his leadership. Looking back on this academic year, can you honestly continue to do so? Will you not hold him accountable as a leader for the strife he has created on this campus? If you don’t, then you will have failed not just us, and not just our students, but the entire community who values NCC.
NOTE: Video of the May 31 Board of Trustees meeting can be found on our YouTube channel: http://youtube.com/nccft.