Good Evening. For those of you who do not know me, I am Dr. Faren Siminoff from the department of History, Political science, Geography and Latin American Studies, I’ve been at the college for 25 years and I am the newly elected president of the NCCFT.
I had wanted to start with some good news. I hoped to tell you that an issue threatening the viability of the evening Nursing Program had been resolved. But it has not. If this is not resolved soon, the entire evening Nursing program may end. I am still hopeful we can reach a resolution, but the administration must understand that this must happen now.
But more to the point, this problem is emblematic of what ails the college: the failure to engage productively with the faculty. It is called “shared governance.”
But I want to turn to a matter of urgency: the health and safety of our faculty, staff and our students.
The administration insists we all return 100% starting in January. This is not safe. This not wise.
We have had a glimpse of what will happen if the administration carries out this ill-conceived plan. The department chairs were mandated to return this semester and to date 4 out of 30 chairs have had COVID- that’s a 13% infection rate amongst our chairs. And just a few weeks ago a long-time HVAC CSEA worker died of COVID. Imagine what will happen in January when we are at 100% capacity on-campus.
Adding to the challenges posed by COVID is mold. Mold has always been a problem in our buildings but over the course of these pandemic months it has run rampant throughout the campus buildings because this administration has failed to properly maintain the buildings.
And I hope the administration alerted this board that SUNY was contacted by the parents of an NCC student about this unsafe condition and demanded a tuition refund.
How does the administration expect to retain students by exposing them to these conditions? The answer: we will not retain nor attract students. If student retention is a priority of this college then let’s give them a healthy environment to learn in.
Other related problems include inadequate HVAC systems, buildings with leaks, standing water when it rains, inadequate ventilation and air flow, windows that don’t or barely open, bathrooms without exhaust systems – and, in violation of State regulations, there are many classrooms and workspaces without heat!
These are the conditions we and our students are expected to work and learn in come January.
Let me end with this thought: The college’s viability depends on attracting and retaining student along with a robust faculty. Neither of these will exist if we proceed on the course we are on. We need action and we need it now.