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SUNY Seamless: NYSUT Gets Into the Act

On October 19th, the Faculty Council of Community Colleges (FCCC) passed unanimously the “Resolution in Opposition to a De Facto Core Curriculum.” This resolution calls on SUNY to “suspend the implementation of Seamless Transfer requirements” and to “engage in established state and local campus shared governance processes” in order to resolve the very serious curricular questions that have been raised about Seamless Transfer. So far, the Academic Senates of Nassau Community College, Suffolk, Westchester and many other community colleges have endorsed this resolution. We are gratified that this groundswell of opposition to Seamless Transfer is rooted in a commitment to shared governance, because shared governance is what gives two-year institutions the independence and flexibility to meet the needs of their individual communities.

We are also gratified that this opposition is spreading beyond the walls of higher education. The New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has also drafted a resolution opposing SUNY’s “de facto core curriculum.” The NCCFT, along with many of the Community College locals in Election District 39, has signed this resolution as a cosponsor. Modeled on the FCCC resolution passed last month, this resolution will be submitted to the NYSUT Representative Assembly in April. If approved, it will authorize and direct NYSUT to pursue all avenues available to it, legislative, political, and legal, to help SUNY’s two and four-year campuses in opposing Seamless Transfer as it is currently defined. NYSUT has also assured the NCCFT that we will have NYSUT’s full support if SUNY takes any action related to Seamless Transfer that harms this or any campus within the SUNY system.

As you are aware, Acting President Saunders has vetoed the recently passed senate resolution directing the College Wide Curriculum Committee (CWCC) to postpone voting on the proposal put forth by the Ad Hoc Committee on Seamless Transfer. In light of the FCCC’s resolution and NYSUT’s draft resolution, we believe that postponing the CWCC’s vote is the only responsible thing to do and we urge you, the membership, to support unequivocally an override of Dr. Saunders’ veto (though if the Senate Parliamentarian calls the veto out of order, the override is moot). We also urge you to support the motion we will introduce at the Academic Senate to withdraw the charge to the CWCC and to disband the Ad Hoc Committee on Seamless Transfer until we have a clear and definitive policy that does not result in a de facto core curriculum and/or remove our ability to shape curriculum to serve our particular community. We believe that the best way to encourage such a policy is to oppose the Seamless Transfer initiative in its entirety—for all the reasons we have outlined in our previous posts (here, here, here, and here). Indeed, there is mounting evidence to suggest that the promised “seamlessness” of Seamless Transfer is far from the reality, and we will write about that in future posts.

The NCCFT Executive Committee is so convinced that the Seamless Transfer initiative is the wrong policy at the wrong time for all the wrong reasons that we, along with NYSUT’s legal division, are investigating possible legal actions against SUNY in the event that we are forced to move forward. In order to preserve these legal options, however, we must first exhaust all administrative avenues for exemption from the policy. For that reason, if it becomes necessary we will call on the Academic Senate to request blanket waivers for all our AA, AS, and AAS programs. We urge you to let your senators know that you support the NCCFT Executive Committee’s position and that you expect them to:

  • Vote to override Acting President Saunders’ veto
  • Insist that the Academic Senate support the NYSUT resolution
  • Vote to pass your Union’s motion to withdraw the charge to the CWCC and disband the Ad Hoc Committee on Seamless Transfer
  • Support the request for blanket waivers in the event these are needed to preserve our legal options

The NCCFT Executive Committee will not be complacent when our academic freedom, shared governance, local control or collective bargaining agreements are put at risk, but we can only succeed with your support.