April 11, 2016
Years hence, when we look back on the events at Nassau Community College, will we remember this time as one where we simply sat back, clutching our paychecks, secure in our tenure, turning a blind eye in hopes others would fight the fight? And what is this fight about? It’s complicated we know, but here’s what’s happening: acting with shocking bravado and reckless disregard for the college’s welfare, the Board of Trustees in collaboration with the Interim President and most of our top administrators, instituted changes to the AA and AS degree requirements without legally mandated consultation with faculty. Making this even more egregious, it was done days after a Middle States exit report condemned precisely this sort of anti-democratic, anti-faculty governance action, adding a new nail to the accreditation coffin constructed by this administration. Such action could reduce the once educational gem of Nassau County to an institution with little more than the empty allure and value of costume jewelry.
The faculty need to stand united. We cannot let NCC’s demise be foretold in a series of “Whereas” and “Be it Resolved” clauses in the Board of Trustees resolution, that, popped up in an all-faculty email on April 5th. Here is one such clause: “BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT IF SAID RECOMMENDATIONS ARE NOT PRESENTED TO THE BOARD BY MAY 12, 2015, THE BOARD SHALL CONSIDER WHAT FURTHER ACTION IS APPROPRIATE RELATING TO THE GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GENERAL LIBERAL ARTS AA AND AS DEGREES.”
Woven into this legalistic verbiage is the ominous threat of “further action,” while at the same time demanding the instantaneous (“Do it now!”) dumbing down and dismantling of a curriculum that took years of ardent, democratic thinking and negotiating to create.
NCC has been down hard roads before and has overcome the challenges by uniting as a faculty and just saying,“No.” We must insist that shared governance principles and practices be adhered to. Middle States requires it. We must demand it. Our students deserve nothing less. We urge you to attend the Board of Trustees Academic Affairs Committee Meeting scheduled for Tuesday April 12th at 6:15 pm at which time the resolution will be discussed. Although faculty generally do not have the opportunity to speak at the Board Committee Meetings, the faculty’s presence will demonstrate that we are standing up for the most central role of a faculty in higher education- to formulate and to oversee the curriculum.
the NCC AAUP Executive Committee