The Board believes it has safely circumvented SUNY’s request by appointing Ms. Conzatti as the Officer in Charge and Ken Saunders as the Executive Vice-President. This action is nothing more than a game of musical chairs. The Board simply reversed Dr. Saunders role with Ms. Conzatti’s, maintaining the status quo. Three years ago Ken Saunders was appointed the “Officer in Charge” but as Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name…” These latest shenanigans by this Board hold out little hope for a truly unbiased presidential search, which closes acceptance of resumes on September 1st. With such an abbreviated deadline, the message from the Board to prospective quality candidates is “need not apply”.
Let us consider the role of the Board of Trustees at public higher education institutions. The oversight of public colleges and universities is given to Boards of Trustees, mostly lay people or those who have a peripheral connection to higher education. Boards are comprised of the politically connected; whose backers rarely see our college through the lens of educators or even our students. With that knowledge in mind one does not need to question why our capital budget grows annually at the delight of chosen contractors while our operating funds are starved and we struggle to provide ample quality services such as: teaching, educating, counseling and the like.
This insertion of political agendas is detrimental for NCC specifically and public higher education generally. It is no wonder that the warring factions on our Board can’t find their way to appoint an interim, never mind a permanent president. An interim from outside NCC would assist the college to separate the presidential search from the numerous entrenched interest groups jockeying for position at our college and who see the presidency as their vehicle to promote agendas outside the scope of NCC’s mission.
-Faren Siminoff and Kimberley Reiser on behalf of NCC AAUP Advocacy Chapter