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Long IslandNassau

NCC trustees meet Thursday to resolve issues

A student walks through the campus of Nassau

A student walks through the campus of Nassau Community College on April 28, 2011. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau Community College's board of trustees will hold a special meeting Thursday night to choose a new chair, pass the school's budget and resolve issues holding up selection of a new president, a trustee said.

The board met Friday night in apparent violation of the state's Open Meetings Law -- it did not post a notice of the gathering in advance, said the board's general counsel.

Chuck Cutolo, general counsel to the board, said there were six trustees present Friday, constituting a quorum for a meeting, he said.

Cutolo was not aware of Friday's meeting. "It appears that there is clearly a notice requirement for the meeting and it does not appear that notice requirement was met," he said.

Trustee Anthony Cornachio referred questions about the Friday meeting to student board member Faruque Amin. Amin said that three of the six board members in attendance Friday were there in another capacity, as part of the presidential search committee.

Nassau Community College has been beset with problems surrounding the selection of a new leader.

Nancy L. Zimpher, who heads the State University of New York System, this month directed board chair Geoffrey Prime to halt the selection process until he conducted an investigation into its fairness.

Prime, a defense attorney, abruptly resigned Saturday night, saying his post was "just too time consuming."

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said in a statement that the administration "is committed to bringing the board back to full capacity in an expedited fashion, without removing the necessary due diligence needed to appoint well-qualified members . . . The Governor will select members who will be responsive to all the constituencies involved."

Campus groups and individuals have complained to the state university system that the selection process is not being properly handled.

Cornachio, responsible for appointing members to the presidential selection committee, in an email to other board members made public last month, referred to an African-American member of a campus minority advocacy group as "a thug." It also said another of its members was "the youngest looking and very pretty."

Critics say he should be removed from his role and that his comments were demeaning and sexist. Cornachio has said the emails were not meant to be offensive or go public.

Kenneth Saunders, the college's acting president, said he was treated with hostility during his interview for the full-time position. He is not one of the final three candidates.

State Supreme Court Justice Anthony Marano, 70, who has no education experience, is being considered for the job.

So is Joyce Easter, 47, of Chicago, president of Kennedy-King College of the City Colleges of Chicago. Elana Zolfo, 63, of Smithtown, interim president of Dowling College in Oakdale, is also up for the job.

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