A New Day –
The CWCC resolution bringing our Academic programs into compliance with SUNY Seamless passed easily at the special Academic Senate meeting held November 13, 2014. As previously stated, the NCCFT Executive Committee respects the integrity, professionalism and efforts of the CWCC, Academic Chairs and the Senate to bring together a proposal that best addresses our needs and satisfies SUNY’s mandate. However, as a matter of principle, we abstained from voting on this proposal in protest to the concept articulated in the MtP, to SUNY’s interference with local control over curriculum, to our Administrations usurpation of our governance process and to our Board of Trustees intervention.
Yet, that was yesterday. Today is different.
The Administration, delighted by their success, drafted and presented the Board with another resolution to usurp the authority of the Senate. This time they did so without bothering to use a mandate as an excuse for their inexcusable action. This resolution http://www.ncc.edu/aboutncc/ourpeople/board_of_trustees/11_2014_November_13_Calendar.pdf not only directs the Developmental Education Committee to conclude their deliberations by May, 2015, but also directs the outcomes.
Before the Board of Trustees hold their public sessions, they hold committee meetings. There are usually less than ten or so faculty and administrators sitting in the bleachers. However, at the latest Academic Affairs Board meeting, approximately fifty faculty and administrators were in attendance. The Chair of the committee, Kathy Weiss, discussed her support of the concepts described in the resolution yet, how uncomfortable she was to entertain this resolution and proposed to table it. She recognized that many faculty members were sitting in the audience and that the Board was interested in hearing what we had to say. The Board continued their discussions, tabled the motion with indecipherable caveats and concluded their discussion. At that time, Dr. Weiss turned and allowed only two people to speak. Bruce Urquhart, Chair of Developmental Education Committee, and Ed Boyden, Chair of the Academic Senate, both spoke eloquently about the process and accomplishments of the committees work thus far. In addition, they both expressed dismay at the Administration and Board’s interference with their deliberations. They might as well have been speaking to the proverbial wall. The Board’s decision was already made.
The Board then convened without going into Executive Session. As stunned and disgusted as we were by the Board’s actions, what happened next was truly contemptible; Dr. Saunders announced the Academic Senate had passed a resolution bringing our academic programs into compliance with SUNY Seamless. The Board questioned Dr. Saunders on the process of accepting or vetoing that proposal and made it clear to the President that the Board wanted to see the Senate proposal, comment on the proposal and the President shall understand and respect the feelings of the Board prior to making a decision. The President concurred.
Remember, in my previous post, I was told by the Chairman of the Board, “they didn’t understand or want to get involved in the Academic Senate, but were only nudging us to act with respect to the MtP”.
How can anyone misinterpret that comment? It is quite clear now, this Administration and Board have set a new paradigm and we must be vigilant with respect to the threats and united in our determination to protect our shared governance process. If we are not, they might be writing your course syllabus next.