Nassau Community College
AAUP Advocacy Chapter
August 24, 2015
On August 20th the NCC AAUP sent an ALLNCC email noting that the appointment of Ms. Conzatti as the Officer in Charge and Dr. Saunders as the Executive Vice-President was nothing more than a game of musical chairs to maintain the status quo at NCC and a clear repudiation of the SUNY Board’s instructions. We would like to thank Ms. Conzatti and Dr. Saunders for confirming our position in their joint interview with Olivia Winslow of Newsday on 8/21/15.
In that Newsday article Dr. Saunders affirmed that the “role reversal” was of little import as he and Ms. Conzatti were “…like the yin and yang…” assuring the public that the Board of Trustees’ recent action would not change the college’s status quo. The Board’s chair, Dr. Gardyn, an outspoken proponent of Dr. Saunders, lauded him for his “…exemplary job…” at the college over the last three years.
And here is the problem- it has become increasingly apparent that Dr. Gardyn, serving in his role as Board chair is at the epicenter of the college’s continuing inability to find new and vibrant leadership for NCC. Anyone who has attended a Board meeting will have noted that it is punctuated by a flagrant disregard for any normative rules of procedure and a constant violation of NYS’s Open Meetings Law by the Board’s chair. Of equal concern is that Dr. Gardyn is not a consensus builder. Hence, we are faced with a Board driven by internecine conflict. If we add Dr. Gardyn’s singular agenda to hire Dr. Saunders to this toxic brew, a fair search does not appear possible.
The latest attempt to wear down the trustee holdouts against Saunders’ permanent appointment is posted for all to see on the NCC website in the section on the search for the permanent president. Dr. Gardyn only announced the extension of the search at the June 3, 2015 Board meeting, yet the college website’s presidential search page reads “… only applications received by September 1, 2015 can be assured full consideration…” http://www.ncc.edu/aboutncc/president_search/
We cannot help but question the timetable for this essential position. The renewed call for applications began after the academic year terminated in June and will close right as the semester resumes in September. Furthermore, Dr. Gardyn announced that Dr. Saunders was still in the pool despite the fact that his candidacy has been three times rejected, once after Dr. Fanelli retired and twice since the removal of Dr. Astrab. We now ready ourselves as Dr. Saunders gears up for his fourth attempt. Clearly, the message to all new candidates is that they should not waste their time or reputation because the fix is in.
Under Dr. Gardyn’s stewardship this academic institution has been without a qualified leader for three years. Perhaps it is time for Dr. Gardyn to resign as Chair of our Board of Trustees so that this Board will no longer be the problem but the solution in moving the college forward.
Kimberley Reiser, President for the NCC AAUP
Faren Siminoff VIce-President for the NCC AAUP