Troubled by a series of questionable decisions made by the CCSNH Administration over the last few years, a group of CCSNH faculty and staff have been raising red flags to SEA/SEIU Local 1984 and members of the legislature. Last week, concerned members attended a meeting of the Public Higher Education Study Committee where they shared what they find alarming.
At the meeting, four union members and one former student voiced some of their worries that CCSNH administration expenditures and practices are adversely affecting the education of the students and not fulfilling the mission of the system. These concerns had already led to the Committee requesting that a performance audit be done by the Legislative Budget Assistant.
Melanie Martel, a full-time professor at the Concord campus (NHTI) spoke extemporaneously to the three NH Senators and five NH Representatives who compose the committee. “I was very gratified that the chairman solicited and listened to our input,” she said. “I thought the meeting went well. I was happy to see how closely members of the committee listened and really took in the magnitude of the information they were being given.” said Martel.
Laura Morgan, also a professor at NHTI stated in her public comments that a cycle of decreased enrollment and resulting tuition revenue decrease that began over three years ago should have resulted in putting into place a strict spending policy and it was not. “Instead of planning for reduced spending, this Board and Chancellor have spent the limited dollars available to support student learning in ways that threaten the quality of education for New Hampshire’s community college students,” said Morgan.
“I believe that an audit report would support what the faculty and staff have been saying and I hope that the committee and the administration will implement necessary changes,” said Martel.
Martel asked the committee to not be diverted by the administration’s claims that these complaints were being voiced by a group of employees who are simply resistant to change. The group of employees who are willing to speak up in front of their bosses are truly interested in the education of their students and upholding the system’s mission.
She also asked the committee to consider the central question of whether we are using taxpayer dollars and tuition revenue to best serve students in the classroom.
According to Pam Veiga’s comments, a member from Nashua Community College, “Many employees are fearful of retribution and loss of their jobs if they speak out. Tight lipped, they watch as the institution they want to see succeed, falters and continues to make poor financial, curriculum and administrative decisions.”
“This has been a long effort and many, many individuals have been working to move it forward,” Martel said.
The Committee has referred their audit request to the Fiscal Committee, which next meets in August. We will provide you with updates as this process moves forward.