The three new trustee members will be crucial in the direction BCC goes in//Illustration by Gabe Wanissian

The three new trustee members will be crucial in the direction BCC goes in//Illustration by Gabe Wanissian

By Gabe Wanissian, Editor In Chief

During the aftermath of the BCC faculty union voting to ratify a four year contract, there was a tangible sense of peace and ease that has not been felt on this campus in quite some time. This feeling was such a departure from the harsh climate that had existed on campus during the nearly three years that our professors had worked contractless. For once, administrators and the faculty had come to see the bigger picture, and were able to make a bipartisan settlement that our United States Congress could only dream of achieving.

It came as a shock to many; back in 2013, the college unsuccessfully secured a contract for the faculty, as they fruitlessly spent over half a million dollars on legal consultants Marvin Goldstein and John Schepisi. The decision to hire Goldstein (a legal consultant with zero experience in the educational field) proved to be a foolish one, and hundreds of thousands of dollars from student tuition was flushed down the drain.

The tension carried into Spring of 2014, when the Faculty Senate passed a two-to-one vote (104 of the 165 votes) of no confidence in current BCC President B. Kaye Walter. And whilst all of this was happening, administration continued to get raises through 2014 and 2015. Still, our professors, along with the college’s support staff and professional staff, worked without contracts; and it appeared that there was no end in sight.

Lo and behold, the administration began to come to their senses in ousting Goldstein, and hiring a new legal consultant in Matthew Giacobbe in 2014. Slowly but surely, the support staff, professional staff, and finally the faculty, were able to secure contracts. This security for the college’s employees is something that will surely improve the morale on campus, and hopefully that directly correlates to an improved college experience for students.

However, not all is rainbows and sunshine. In order for the college to function optimally, a change to the college’s Board of Trustees, which has largely misrepresented and disregarded the best interests of the students, is absolutely necessary.

Countless times, the Board has unanimously voted to pass resolutions that have had little to no input from the college’s faculty. One example is the “First In the World” grant, in which 500 remedial math students could have been in danger for the sake of a “study.” Of course, this grant was created without input from the math department. The college administration has since admitted that they rushed the grant, and have agreed to postpone enacting the study, until its procedures are approved by the college math department. But the problem should have been avoided altogether.

Or even the Pay-to-Print initiative back in May 2015, when it took the outcry of several student organizations to snap some sense into the board, in which they finally took it off the agenda. The initiative was then reworked over the summer. Had the original proposal remained, we would not have received the 150 page allowance.

Also, who could ever forget the time when the revised employee code of conduct was passed by the board in September 2014? Several professors spoke up at the board meeting in protest, citing the lack of collaboration with faculty members to put the ECC together, as well as criticising the vague and unethical language found within the Code.

With County Executive James Tedesco stating that two new trustee positions will be appointed by the May BOT meeting, it is highly imperative for the college’s future that we get the right people to hold these seats. I am calling on County Executive Tedesco to appoint trustees that will work in the best interest for the students, and only the students.

One board position however, the Alumni Trustee, is entirely up to you, the students. Unfortunately today, the position has seemingly become nothing but a figurehead. In the past, Alumni Trustees like Victoria Tahhan frequently spoke out against questionable decisions made by the rest of the board, as well as having a great working relationship with the Student Government Association. It has not been the same with our current Alumni Trustee. That can all change with the student vote, as the SGA elections will be coming up soon; it is crucial that students get to know their candidates.

But it is even more crucial as tuition-paying students, (even Bergen County tax paying citizens) that we are well educated on the College’s internal affairs. That is the only way we can assure that signed contracts, and new board members do not just end up being empty promises. Stay Based Bergen.