March 14, 2013

Letters to the Editor: March 14, 2013

Blame is not productive

TO THE EDITOR: It seems we have again descended into the “blame game” as austerity and revenue meet expenditures and long-term staffing aspirations; in this case, at CCC.

Having taught at more than five colleges and universities, on both coasts, at both the graduate and undergraduate level, I’ve acquired a bit of perspective on staffing, funding crises and also, alas, of the “blame game.”

Experience has taught me that this is mostly unproductive and largely denial in nature. No one person, or even group, makes a crisis.

The projected cuts at CCC will strike deeply into the heart of a number of programs. My own successor, a highly regarded, multi-discipline talented colleague and former student at both CCC and PSUC, is among those being cut.

It isn’t about his course load or student registration but more about some perhaps misguided budget priorities. Apart from his own strong teaching qualities, his family includes a prospective Winter Olympic’s contender, perhaps two.

In my 14 years at CCC, there were seven college presidents, one of whom has been twice promoted since leaving and four of whom retired, if one counts interims. Several became controversial. Compared with other colleges this isn’t quite unique.

Clinton is a good learning environment, with a largely dedicated faculty (and administration, and trustees). It is an asset to the community and the SUNY system.

However, its resource issues won’t be solved by administrative changes, nor by dropping a few low-enrolled tech programs, nor by laying off the “seed corn” faculty.

Retirements among senior faculty will cut some costs; realignment of programs could save others. Blaming “the Second Floor,” or the Faculty Association, etc. is counterproductive.

One hopes management and staff participate in this challenging process and time will embrace that total reality.

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