Things to Come
The NCCFT Executive Committee along with our NYSUT/AFT Delegates joined HigherEd colleagues from across the United States for the joint NEA/AFT Higher Education Conference “Advancing Equality On and Off Campus” in Orlando, FL from March 12-15, 2015.
The conference was comprised of workshops covering governance, membership, political action, finances, grievances, and litigation.
Labor History for Higher Education, Fighting Higher Education Corporatization, Addressing Membership Apathy, Demystifying the Threats and Opportunities of MOOC’s, Bargaining Issues: Control of Curriculum, Addressing Sexual Violence on Campus, and Transmitting Our Values Across Generations were only a few of the workshops offered.
The session on Advancing Equity on campuses was particularly interesting. At a time when institutions of Higher Education throughout the country are laying off full-time faculty or not replacing those who retire, how do we increase the diversity of our full-time faculty, staff and administration to mirror the faces and experiences of our students and our county?
Citing Angela Davis, one panelist reminded us that equity is not justice. In a similar vain, another panelist noted that diversity is not equality. These are issued for all of us to address in these most challenging times.
In addition, a host of guest speakers described the national threats to public higher education funded by political action committees and hedge-fund managers seeking to privatize our public institutions.
This attack has been successful in other parts of the nation where places such as Wisconsin and Michigan have turned into Right-to-Work States. It is obvious that even in New York, which has an established union presence and an established public education system, we are being attacked by Governor Cuomo and his hedge-fund backers. The privatization concept of public higher education appears to have trickled down to our local political structure whereby the appointment of the Board of Trustees has resulted in directing the NCC Administration to adopt a business model for this campus. How else can we account for their insistence on lowering the requirements for acceptance into credit bearing classes and then lowering the standards for graduation?
The recent Academic Senate meeting proved that the faculty across this campus, regardless of discipline or educational philosophy, are opposed to the usurpation by the Board of Trustees of the authority and time-honored role of the faculty in determining curriculum and standards for our students.
We urge everyone to speak to your Chairs, Senators, Senate Committee and Union Representatives to join in one voice that we will not be complacent in the BOT’s agenda to dismantle our reputation as a top community college that is recognized for academic excellence and known as “The Gem of Nassau County”.