After the Board came back from executive session—this is the portion of the meeting captured in the video—they conducted the following business:
- They approved payments to Civitas LLC ($50,000) and to K Beard and Associates ($30,000).
- They accepted donations of:
- medical equipment from Good Samaritan Hospital
- gym and weight training equipment from Gym Source & Samuel Thomas Enterprises, respectively.
- They agreed to waive the facilities rental fee for EAC, an organization that helps people in need on Long Island, for a fund raiser the organization will be doing on campus.
- They approved an AOS degree to be offered through the Hospitality/Business Department.
- They approved the creation of a peace officer position within Public Safety and authorized President Keen to enter into any agreements necessary to fill the position.
- They elected Trustee Powers as secretary.
The Board then discussed the reading of the following BOT Policies, which President Keen certified are ready for Board consideration:
- Policy 3100: News Media Relations
- Policy 3200: Marketing, Advertising, & Promotional Materials
- Policy 5600: Protection of Minors on Campus
Regarding Policy 5600, Trustee Weiss commented that our policy closely mirrors the SUNY policy that four-year campuses are required to adopt. SUNY does not mandate that community colleges adopt such a policy, but strongly recommends that they do so. Both Trustee Weiss and President Keen emphasized the importance of our having such a policy in place, since the college does regularly host on campus events where minors are present.
Dr. Gardyn announced that President Keen will be holding open forums where faculty can give feedback regarding Board policies. (Links to all policies that have been drafted or approved to date can be found here. We will have more to say about these forums below.)
The President’s Report
President Keen spoke about the progress we’ve made regarding our Middle States probationary Status. He said we have received and responded to the report of the Middle States team that visited campus in November. (The report is here; our response is here.) As of now, thanks largely to actions taken by the Board of Trustees, like the writing of the policies mentioned above, we have brought ourselves into compliance with Standard 6 (Integrity). Nonetheless, President Keen reminded us, we still have a lot of work to do, though he said he is optimistic. The foundation we have laid through the formation of the Institutional Planning Committee, he suggested, will go a long way towards helping us meet the requirements for the remaining failed standards. Lapses in and the failure adequately to integrate different components of planning made up a common theme running through those standards.
President Keen also addressed himself to the issue of campus safety, specifically regarding the diligence of our Public Safety officers and faculty members who helped identify the student responsible for the swastikas and other hateful graffiti that had been appearing on campus. He stressed the importance of further professionalizing our campus safety posture through the establishment of the peace officer positions mentioned above, and mentioned as well that Public Safety, along with two faculty members, is in the process of developing active-shooter drills for the campus.
President Keen concluded his report by noting that, due to the work of our Veterans Services Office, Nassau Community College has been designated a “gold-status, veteran-friendly campus.”
Only two people signed up to speak:
NCCFT President Frank Frisenda spoke in appreciation of President Keen’s commitment to transparency, citing the ongoing regular meetings he holds with the elected faculty leadership and noting as well both the open forums which resulted in important revisions to Policies 1200 and 1300 and the NCCFT’s cooperation with Acting AVP Collins in recruiting faculty to work on our assessment issues. President Frisenda also spoke movingly in memory of Nassau County Legislator John Ciotti, who recently passed away.
Professor Chris Merlo spoke about concerns he had with how BOT Policy 3200 (Marketing, Advertising, & Promotional Materials) might impact faculty and students whose work deals with web technology and content creation. In response, Dr. Gardyn pointed out that these kinds of concerns are precisely what the open forums with President Keen are intended to address.
Dr. Gardyn made a couple of other comments in this regard that are worth nothing. First, he stressed that we should look at the draft versions of the policies as being as pliable as “play dough.” Then he characterized the process of responding to the documents this way: we, meaning the faculty, and Dr. Keen are working “in the trenches,” where the policies need to be implemented, and so we know best, and are the best people to work through, how to make sure implementation does not interfere with the college’s academic mission or impinge unfairly any individual or campus constituency. The Board, in other words, if we understand Dr. Gardyn correctly, sees its roll as setting up broad guidelines that it expects us, in collaboration with the administration, to fine tune.
This, it seems to us, is what the process should be, not just of responding to these policies, but of our interaction with the administration overall. Not that we cannot and should not go directly to the board when it becomes necessary, but now that we have a college president who has demonstrated his commitment to transparency and collaboration; whom we know listens to our concerns and responds respectfully and in a timely manner; who treats us as the professional educators we are, we believe we need to give this way of doing things a chance to work. Much has changed for the better on this campus, especially in our relationship with the administration. We may still be in the trust-building stages, but we see this process as one through which trust can be built.
For the process to work, however, we need to do our part. Therefore, we encourage you all to take a look at the policy documents posted to the Board’s web page and to participate in President Keen’s open forums once they are announced.
Other BOT Business
Some of our members expressed interest in knowing the details of Dr. Saunders’ separation agreement with the college. We FOILed that information last year and have received a copy of the agreement. If you would like to review it, please contact the NCCFT office.