PRESS RELEASE Contact: Richard Jeffrey Newman NCCFT Communications Coordinator
Phone: (718) 757-6934 NCCFT Office: (516) 572-7198
Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers
One Education Drive, F-3293
Garden City, NY 11530
The Nassau Community College Faculty Welcomes Dr. Donald Astrab’s Resignation as President
Garden City, July 30, 2012: The elected leadership of the Nassau Community College (NCC) faculty responded today to the announcement of Dr. Donald Astrab’s resignation, effective August 31, 2012. “Whatever his perceived strengths may have been when he was hired,” said Dr. Kimberley Reiser, Chair of the college’s Academic Senate, whose members represent faculty, students and the administration, “Dr. Astrab has demonstrated that he is not the right person to lead NCC through a time of fiscal crisis and educational change. His misguided policy decisions and ill-conceived budget-cutting measures have put at risk this institution’s national reputation for excellence, undermined the academic integrity of our courses and program offerings, and made it more likely that students will not have access to the services they need.”
Among the programs that Dr. Astrab eliminated, was the very successful Math Partnership Program for local high school students. “He also cut student services and reduced the number of available course sections, making it difficult for many students to register and for some to finish their degrees on time, which ultimately cost them more money than they should have had to spend in this very difficult economy,” said Professor Debra DeSanto, president of the Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers (NCCFT), which represents NCC’s full-time faculty. Some of these cuts could have been avoided, DeSanto explained, and the impact of others lessened, if Dr. Astrab had treated the faculty as partners in putting students’ education first, rather than as employees who needed to be managed.
“Indeed,” continued DeSanto, “despite his being a newcomer to our campus, Dr. Astrab seemed to believe he knew better than we did who our students were and what they needed. This attempt to deprofessionalize us as a faculty is what led to the two votes of no confidence we took against him, one in June 2011 and the other, which was covered in Newsday, in September of the same year.” Those votes notwithstanding, Reiser and DeSanto persisted in identifying measures Dr. Astrab could have taken to rebuild the faculty’s confidence in him. Instead, he dug in his heels, deepening their adversarial relationship. “There is only one logical conclusion,” DeSanto stated. “We need a new leader, one who will welcome our faculty’s commitment to the quality and integrity of this institution and who will work with us to nurture our tradition of nationally recognized academic excellence.”
Dr. Astrab’s timely departure will help ensure a smooth start to the fall 2012 semester, while also allowing the college community to begin planning for the future. “We look forward to working with a new administration that is as opposed as we are to Dr. Astrab’s ill-conceived policies and authoritarian style,” Reiser concluded, “one that will work with us to rebuild the culture of trust, mutual respect and collaboration that has for decades been the norm on our campus.”
“Our first priority,” Reiser and DeSanto agreed, “is guaranteeing the quality and integrity of our students’ education.”
ABOUT NASSAU COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Nassau Community College, a division of the State University of New York, is an institution where nearly 24,000 full- and part-time students and almost 15,000 continuing and professional students start and continue their successful journey through higher education. More than 70 fields of study are offered on a 225-acre campus located in the center of Long Island. As the largest single-campus two-year college in New York State, Nassau Community College maintains a national reputation for excellence.