Almost three years have passed since President Astrab was removed. Since then we have had one and what appears to be two disastrous and failed presidential searches. Just as troubling 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.
Why do we find ourselves in this situation? From the start it was clear that numerous interest groups were jockeying for position at our college and that the presidency was their vehicle. Making matters worse, SUNY threw out its own guidelines for presidential searches permitting an internal temporary president to be a candidate for the position creating the very situation the SUNY Guidelines warn against:
“Experience has shown that the pressure on trustees and search committee members, real or imagined, can cloud an open search when there is an internal candidate who is at the same time chief executive. Therefore, we recommend that temporary or interim appointees not be candidates for the permanent position”. (See Appendix A: https://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents.cfm?doc_id=438
Clearly, permitting an internal candidate who is also the acting or “temporary” president is both detrimental to the search process and to the college itself. Our ongoing quest, or perhaps more accurately described “ordeal,” gives legs to SUNY’s recommendation against this practice.
If the current search has failed, we are faced with at least another year of more of the same. It is time for the NCC Board of Trustees to re-think extending Acting President Saunders’s contract and ask SUNY to appoint an interim president from outside the college. 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 this campus to a semblance of normalcy. Our students and the citizens of Nassau County and New York State deserve no less.