Just as we hoped that Nassau Community College was firmly on the path to restoration and renewal, our Board of Trustees has proposed new Policies 1200 and 1300, which we believe violate the NYS statutes and regulations governing the Board’s duties and responsibilities. It also contravenes its “historically accepted” role as enunciated in 1966 in the joint “Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities” issued by the American Association of University Professor (AAUP), American Council on Education (ACE), and the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB). In fact, these standards appear to have guided the formulation of the pertinent NYS statutes and regulations.
Policies 1200 and 1300, if implemented, will upend what President Keen refers to as the recognized “realms of responsibility” among the Board, president, administration and faculty. We are concerned that these new policies will jeopardize our Middle States accreditation. In the April 16, 2016 “Report to the Trustees, Administration, Faculty, and Students of NCC by An Evaluating Team Representing the Middles States Commission on Higher Education” (hereinafter: “MSCHE Statement”) the Commission found the college out of compliance with Standard 4. That standard requires that all constituents’ responsibilities and duties be clearly delineated. As noted in the MSCHE Statement, “There is no evidence that the Board of Trustees has an organized way of ensuring the effective interaction of the governing bodies in a manner consistent with the principles of shared governance.” The report further noted that, “The institution must create a system of shared governance in which each major constituency carries out its role in a complementary manner consistent with the principles of shared governance and New York State Regulations.” (MSCHE Statement, p.10) Policies 1200 and 1300 fail to meet this standard.
Problematic too is Standard 6, “Integrity,” which the Board has failed to meet by not ensuring the integrity of the college’s hiring practices or by working to“…prevent political intrusion into the business of the college.” (MSCHE, p.15)
The message is clear: it is not only the faculty and the administration that must work to address the Middle States deficiencies but also the Board of Trustees. If these policies are adopted, we believe that the Board will continue to place our accreditation in jeopardy. We urge the Nassau Community College Board of Trustees to modify Policies 1200 and 1300 so that these policies are consistent with NYS statutes and regulations and Middle States standards.
Submitted by: Faren Siminoff, JD, PhD