On Tuesday, November 15th, the Nassau Community College Board of Trustees voted to accept policy documents 1200 and 1300, as revised by Dr. Keen. Along with many of you, the elected faculty leadership—the NCCFT, the Academic Senate, and the chairs—had raised serious concerns about earlier drafts of those documents, which the Board had made available to us starting in October. We believed these concerns were significant enough to warrant postponing the Board’s vote until we had a chance to consult further with Dr. Keen about possible revisions. When Dr. Keen transmitted our request for a postponement to the Board, however, they declined, which meant that we would not be able to read the revisions they were voting on until after the vote was taken. Especially in light of our past difficulties with the Board concerning issues of transparency, this was an unfortunate choice. At the very least, they could have posted the documents on a video screen during the vote so that those of us in attendance could see what the vote was about. By the end of the meeting, it was hard to escape the feeling that they were stepping back from the openness they had shown in sharing those earlier drafts with us.
As have many of you, we’ve now read the newly adopted documents very carefully. We still have questions that need to be addressed, but we are encouraged that these statement of the Board’s policy incorporate many of the concerns we raised, in particular that they explicitly locate responsibility for our curriculum where it belongs, with the faculty. We recognize that these changes would not have been made had Dr. Keen not welcomed our input, listened attentively, and compromised accordingly. We also recognize that the Board, when Dr. Keen brought our concerns to them, must also have listened attentively and taken them seriously. Otherwise, they would not have approved the versions of the documents that they did. We find this encouraging as well.
That we are encouraged, however, does not mean we are any less vigilant. As we said, questions remain about how the language in these documents relates to language in our contract and in the bylaws of the Academic Senate. We will continue to pursue these questions as vigorously and rigorously as necessary, but we now believe we are doing so as part of a productive dialogue, which is a welcome change and can only bode well for the future. It may sound corny to say this with Thanksgiving just a couple of days away, but that’s something to be grateful for.
(We’re having some technical issues with the video of the BOT meeting, which is why it hasn’t been posted yet.)