Nassau Community College
AAUP Advocacy Chapter
June 18, 2015
Dear Chair McCall and Members of the Board,
On behalf of Nassau Community College’s AAUP Advocacy Chapter and Academic Senate, we would like to thank you for taking action on the presidential search at Nassau Community College. We are pleased that you placed a sixty day time limit on the appointment of Dr. Saunders as Acting President.
Almost three years have passed since President Astrab was removed after two votes of no confidence by the faculty. Since his departure we have had two failed presidential searches at a significant financial cost to the students and to the citizens of the county and New York State. From the perspective of faculty the loss, of course, is much more than financial. It is no secret that we are losing ground in terms of our reputation as one of the leading community colleges in the nation.
In essence we have been a college without a leader for the last three years. As if this is not bad enough, we have also been without an Academic Vice President for five years. Such a situation is unparalleled in an institution of higher education and puts our college at a significant disadvantage.
The current crisis goes beyond the presidential level. We have an administration that does not support the role of faculty in our shared governance system and a Board of Trustees and a faculty at odds with one another. We believe that the breakdown of trust and communication at our college can only be ameliorated by an outsider who has not been part of the Astrab/Saunders administration or the current Saunders administration. We have called on the NCC Board to ask you to appoint an Interim President from outside the college who can bring an unbiased point of view and restore communication on our campus. We have asked that SUNY guidelines be followed and that the Interim President be ineligible for the permanent position. Such an appointment will signal both to the campus community and to any potential candidates that NCC is prepared to have a genuine search unmarred by the appearance of favoritism or internal wrangling. Only in this manner can we begin to return our campus to a semblance of normalcy.
Please be assured that the faculty is committed to working with our administration and Board in order to restore stability on our campus. We look forward to starting afresh with a new leader who possesses a vision for the college that embraces our rich culture of shared governance –one in which our dedicated faculty work hand-in-hand with the administration in a climate of mutual respect, collaboration and consultation. Our students and the citizens of Nassau County and New York State deserve nothing less.
Kimberley Reiser, Ph.D. on behalf of NCC AAUP
Evelyn Wortsman Deluty, Ph.D. on behalf of NCC Academic Senate Executive Committee