The following letter was sent to the NCC Board of Trustees on June 26. We have a confirmation that the letter was distributed to the BOT members.
Please make every effort to attend the Special Meeting on Thursday, July 23 called by the BOT.
Board of Trustees of NCC
The Executive Committees of the Academic Senate, the Nassau Community College Federation of Teachers, and the Academic Department Chairs are writing to call for the appointment of an Interim President at Nassau Community College, from outside the college, who is ineligible to apply for the permanent position. On June 16th SUNY directed our Trustees to do this within 60 days. The unresolved presidential search, which is entering its third year, demonstrates the validity of SUNY’s own guidelines that an internal candidate can “cloud” the search due to the appearance of favoritism. The appointment of an external candidate will encourage a greater pool of highly qualified applicants. It is time to end the five-year contentious climate at the college, ushered in by the retirement of President Sean Fanelli in 2010, and revive the collaborative spirit that has made Nassau Community College a jewel of Nassau County.
During the three years that Dr. Kenneth Saunders has attempted to steer Nassau Community College he has been unable to unify the college community behind his leadership. Acting President Saunders is a personable, congenial individual. However, in his professional role at the helm of the largest single campus community college in New York State, he has perpetuated the more controversial approach of his direct predecessor, Dr. Donald Astrab. The short-lived administration of Dr. Astrab witnessed two faculty no-confidence votes and thwarted the collaborative model of shared governance that has served the college well for decades.
We are here to advocate for our students and facilitate their academic success and lifelong goals. For many, Nassau Community College serves as an affordable transfer institution to secure a Bachelor’s degree. For others, we provide job training towards immediate employment. We welcome recent high school graduates, those returning to college after years in the workforce, veterans, and so many others juggling life’s challenges. However, the last few years of the Saunders administration have witnessed a progressive decline in the services provided to students due to a decrease of the full-time faculty who provide these services. This is matched by an increase in both tuition and class size, further impeding student success. Fiscal exigencies need to be addressed through innovative fundraising, not cuts in services to our students.
We call upon the Board of Trustees of Nassau Community College to appoint an Interim President from outside the college who is not eligible to apply for the permanent position of President. Restore the climate of collaboration in which our students thrive, and proceed with a presidential search that follows the rules stipulated by SUNY’s guidelines. In the end it is our students who continue to suffer from the failure to secure permanent visionary leadership for our college.
Evelyn Wortsman Deluty, Ph.D., Chair, Academic Senate
M. Debra DeSanto, President, NCCFT*
Lynn Mazzola, Chair, Chairs’ Committee
*NCCFT is the full-time faculty union that represents approximately 700 members