It’s almost becoming a habit, these Board of Trustees meetings-that-aren’t. This past Tuesday was the second time since June that the board was unable to do business because they did not have a quorum. This is disconcerting. A board meeting is not only a time for the members to discuss and conduct the college’s financial business; it is also our time to speak with them, in their official capacity as the college’s trustees, on the record about our concerns. How are we to have confidence in them, if they aren’t showing up to do their jobs?
Despite the fact that no official business was done, however, Tuesday’s meeting was important. First, the strong faculty presence in the room demonstrated once again our commitment to showing up and bearing witness; second, the statements made by those of our colleagues who spoke left no doubt that we are paying attention and that we will continue to hold board members accountable for the quality of their stewardship of this institution.
Because there was no quorum, there was no executive session, so the public meeting began at 7:30 AM. NCCFT President Debra DeSanto spoke first. Choosing to save her prepared comments for a meeting when they would be on the record, she spoke extemporaneously, reviewing the history of the last 18 months of negotiations over our proposed contract extension. She emphasized that the only reason we entered into those negotiations in the first place was to preserve job security. She then pointed out that the Board’s position, as announced on September 5th by its attorney John Gross, seemed to indicate that eliminating our job security was what the Board has wanted all along, not a collaborative effort to address our so-called financial crisis. President DeSanto ended by asking if the Board members who were present did indeed endorse the statements John Gross made on September 5th, and when it became clear that at least some members did not, she urged them to make sure the entire Board revisited the issue.
Executive Committee members Frank Frisenda and Faren Siminoff also spoke, making the case that this college owes its first-rate reputation to its faculty, not its administration, and they called the Board to task for not adequately recognizing that fact. You can read their statements here and here. (Also, if you would like to subscribe to the NCCFT YouTube channel, you can do so here.)
Finally, we want to thank those of you who were able to come on Tuesday, even—and especially—those who arranged to be at the college by 8, when the public session was supposed to start, and who arrived just as the meeting was breaking up. We know that some of you came even though your classes started much later in the day and that some of you made special child care arrangements so that you could attend. For the past two years, that kind of commitment has been making the difference between success and failure in our struggle with the college administration and Board of Trustees and it will continue to make that difference as we move forward. We know that those of you who were unable to come to the meeting because you were working were with us in spirit nonetheless. There will be other opportunities for you to do your part. We look forward to being there when you do.