Academic Senate Overrides Acting President’s Veto on Class Size

To: The Academic Senate
From: NCC AAUP Chapter
Re: The College May Not Unilaterally Disregard Established Senate Procedures

The Facts: On April 17, 2015 Acting President Saunders vetoed the April 9, 2015 Senate Resolution on class size. That resolution called on Acting President Saunders to adhere to the process outlined in the May, 15 2012 Senate Resolution on class size before “implementing any changes to class size. Acting President Saunders has chosen to disregard the applicable Senate Resolutions, the NCCFT Collective Bargaining Agreement and the Academic Senate Bylaws.

Discussion: The Administration has made a number of arguments in defense of its veto. None convincingly address the Administration’s disregard of the applicable CBA provisions, Senate bylaws and, in particular, the cited May 15, 2012 and April 23, 2013 Senate Resolutions. These resolutions require that any changes to class size comply with CWCC procedures and that the numbers used for reviewing and making recommendations for maintaining or changing class size be based on the Senate approved class size limits. President Astrab and Acting President Saunders approved both resolutions respectively. Consequently, it is unnecessary to argue about the status of the May 2010 Ostling letter that purportedly raised class size as the aforementioned Senate Resolutions supersede any action by Vice President Ostling in 2010.
The Administration asserts that it just “discovered that many departments had class size limits lower than those implemented in 2010” and that “it was uncovered that a number of Chairpersons acted unilaterally to decrease their class size limits.” We respectfully remind the Acting President that the Administration controls Banner and the class size numbers posted thereon, hence the Chairs cannot unilaterally raise said numbers. This does, however, suggest that the Administration understood that the Ostling memo was never college policy.
Last, the Academic Senate has never attempted to preclude the Administration nor the Board of Trustees from exercising their “statutory powers.” The Academic Senate is simply exercising its powers granted by the contract, Senate Bylaws and duly passed resolutions.

Conclusion: The College has contractually given to the Academic Senate the “responsibilities and powers …to formulate and propose…policies on class size…” and may not unilaterally disregard the procedures established thereunder.