Academic Senate at NCC isn’t to blame

The editorial “Let state find new NCC head” [April 22] both captures and misrepresents happenings at the college.

It was accurately reported that the Nassau Community College’s board of trustees failed to meet the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s standard of integrity because of the board members’ subterfuge in hiring and the recent presidential search.

The editorial, however, continues, “The Academic Senate, whose gamesmanship and constant sabotaging of the administration contributed to the negative findings, should be deeply embarrassed.”

The commission lauded the time-honored process of shared governance that guides the Academic Senate. Disagreement between the Academic Senate and the administration persists, but gamesmanship and constant sabotaging are fictions.

Although the Academic Senate did contribute to the commission’s negative findings, it did so to expose misrepresentations and cover-ups by the administration. The Newsday editorial implies that faculty and administrators bear equal responsibility for the current crisis; however, the college failed on seven of 14 Middle States benchmarks, six of which can be attributed to the administration and a controlling cabal on the board of trustees.

Mark S. Halfon

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Kensington

Editor’s note: The writer is a professor, chair in the Philosophy Department and a member of the Academic Senate at Nassau Community College.

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Newsday’s editorial rightly notes that the Middle States accrediting organization gave a failing grade to Nassau Community College’s board of trustees, and that this assessment could pose a serious threat to the institution. Newsday also rightly asserts that NCC students should be “furious.” The situation is serious, and I don’t think there is anyone on campus, in the faculty or the administration, who doesn’t realize that fact.

However, Newsday stepped over the line in saying that the college’s Academic Senate should be deeply embarrassed. Nothing in the report, fairly read, leads to that conclusion. Precisely because there is so much at stake, your readers deserve a more nuanced understanding of a complex situation. Richard Jeffrey Newman

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Jackson Heights

Editor’s note: The writer is a professor of English and a member of the Academic Senate at Nassau Community College.