Whether you have been on campus throughout the summer or had a chance to get away, we hope the start of this new academic year has gone smoothly so far. As you know, Nassau Community College is in the midst of transition. When the Board of Trustees accepted Donald Astrab’s resignation on the morning of July 30th, they set in motion a process that will ultimately lead to the appointment of a new college president and a new academic vice president. This is an important victory for us, as a faculty and as a union. Too many people to name made important contributions to this effort, but the most significant factor leading to Dr. Astrab’s resignation was the unity and commitment you showed in protecting and preserving the quality of the academic life that we and our students have here. For this, you have our respect and our gratitude.
The NCCFT expects to be represented in the search for a new president and AVP, as will other important faculty constituencies throughout the campus, like the Academic Senate and the department chairs. We look forward to working with our colleagueså and with the administration to make sure that the next president this college hires is someone whose values match our own, who can lead us through what everyone knows will be difficult times without compromising this institution’s long-standing commitment to the robust faculty governance that has made NCC the nationally recognized community college we are. As Officer-in-Charge, Dr. Ken Saunders has made important gestures towards restoring the atmosphere of civility, respect and collaboration that has been the norm on this campus for decades and that will be important in ensuring the success of these two searches. His emails of August 31st and September 4th, as well as the meetings he held over the summer with faculty, students and administration, have begun to lay a foundation for what we hope will be the concrete actions that are required to rebuild what we lost during Donald Astrab’s administration.
Sadly, however, the Board of Trustees sees things differently. As you know, we have been trying since spring 2011 to negotiate with them an extension of our current collective bargaining agreement. The process has been a long and difficult one, but we believed we were making progress until we met on September 5th with Geoffrey Prime, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Donna Haugen , the college’s General Counsel, and John Gross, outside counsel for the Board. At that meeting, this group announced an all out attack not only on our jobs, but on the core of our contract as well. Your department reps should already have shared with you the details we provided at the Executive Board meeting on September 11th, and we will have more to say in the rest of this series. For now, please make sure to heed the call to action that went out about the next Board of Trustees meeting which will take place at 8 AM on Tuesday, September 25th. (You can draw your own conclusions about why they chose that day and time.) Make sure as well to put the general union meeting, which will take place on October 16th, on your calendar.
Finally, we want to acknowledge some transitions in the NCCFT as well. As you know by now, Elizabeth Wood has resigned her position as union treasurer so that she can care for her ailing mother. We thank her for work and dedication. She will be missed. We have appointed Professor Caroline Falconetti, from Accounting and Business Administration, to serve as interim treasurer until an election can be held. Professor Falconetti has been a member of the NCCFT/NCC Budget Review Committee and served as chair of the union’s Audit Committee. We look forward to working with her until a new treasurer can be elected. As well, Rich Newman will be continuing as our communications coordinator. His charge for this year is to improve how we communicate with you and how we get our message out beyond the NCC campus. As our struggle with the Board of Trustees continues to heat up, these changes will take on increasing importance. We look forward to seeing them implemented.