Nassau Community College trustees Tuesday night selected the college’s next president, fast-tracking a candidate through the process in a day after several failed attempts to find a permanent leader for the school over the last four years.
The name of the new president was not released publicly.
The trustees’ choice requires the approval by the State University of New York board of trustees, NCC officials said.
“The process remains confidential until such time as the SUNY Board has acted,” NCC trustee Arnold Drucker said.
The board came to the decision after spending four hours behind closed doors in executive session. They were expected to interview both candidates and deliberate on them before taking a vote.
Trustees also approved a $211 million budget proposed by the school’s administration that raises full-time tuition by $334 and a technology fee by $70. Officials said the raise was necessary to close a $10 million budget gap. The college plans to cut eight temporary full-time faculty members and reduce administrative spending by $350,000, the interim president said.
About 75 members of the faculty and administration attended the meeting. More than 40 people had signed up to speak during the public comment period.
Members of the faculty appeared grateful to trustees for coming to a decision on a new president.
“We look forward to working with the next president to secure our Middle States accreditation and bring the college into the future,” said Evelyn Deluty, chairwoman of NCC’s academic senate and a philosophy professor.
“I hope we can start a new dialogue,” said Frank Frisenda, president of the NCCFT, which represents the college’s full-time faculty union.
NCC is the largest, single-campus community college in New York’s public university system. Any president installed at the school first must gain the approval of Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in addition to SUNY’s trustees.
It was unclear Tuesday night whether the members of the college’s search committee, or the outside search firm, were involved in the selection of the presidential candidate. No candidates had been invited to campus for meetings since the last round that resulted in trustees selecting Kenneth Saunders, a longtime administrator who eventually withdrew from the search, according to SUNY officials.
SUNY spokeswoman Holly Liapis, when asked Monday, declined to comment on whether the chancellor’s office had recommended the recent candidates, citing a personnel matter.
Johanna Duncan-Poitier, SUNY’s senior vice chancellor for community colleges, said last month she would work closely with the NCC board to hire a permanent president. Duncan-Poitier attended NCC’s Tuesday meeting.
The college has been without a permanent president since the departure of Donald Astrab in 2012. Astrab was on the job for 30 months and received two votes of no-confidence by the academic senate, a majority of whom are members of the college’s full-time faculty.
The college’s administration, faculty and board of trustees have been at odds over the selection of the school’s next leader ever since. Allegations of bias and political influence have marred past searches. Three times, trustees have been unable to choose a viable finalist to become president.
The lack of stable leadership has not only been a point of contention among faculty and campus groups but was a primary concern of independent auditors from the nongovernmental Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the college’s accrediting agency.
After a three-day visit in March, a team representing the commission issued a scathing report that puts the college in poor standing. NCC’s accreditation status is expected to come before the commission at the commission’s June 23 meeting. The college could be given a warning or face stronger action, such as probation.
Accreditation is critical to students’ participation in federal financial aid programs and could be a factor in the validity of their academic record and their ability to obtain future employment.