Faculty at Monroe County Community College have overwhelmingly approved a no-confidence vote in President Kojo Quartey and filed charges of Unfair Labor Practices against the college, which the faculty association addressed with a show of solidarity at the Board of Trustees meeting on Monday night.
A four-page resolution detailed reasons behind the no-confidence vote, including a lack of problem-solving, loss of talented employees, and concerns about the college’s financial health from information obtained in an audit.
“The Faculty at Monroe County Community College maintain a continuation of the status quo will undermine student learning conditions, employee morale, and the reputation of the College,” the resolution of no confidence said.
More than two dozen faculty, staff, students and community members attended Monday night’s meeting – many in neon green shirts that read, “Support MCCC Faculty.” Empty seats contained poster-size photos of professors who couldn’t attend because they were teaching evening classes.
The administration’s negotiating team has refused to bargain in good faith, according to the association’s ULP filed last week with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission. Talks have continued since April with minimal movement as the college has shown it does not wish to bargain MCCCFA issues.
The college has engaged in regressive bargaining and delay tactics, such as canceling sessions, arriving late, leaving early and wasting time, the complaint states. The last negotiated contract expired in August and was extended.
The faculty at MCCC are concerned that trustees have not been fully informed of the depth of their concerns regarding the college’s climate, stature and sustainability, according to Mark Bergmooser, a communications professor and president of the faculty association.
“President Quartey’s lack of instructional leadership has severely impacted student learning conditions and risked MCCC’s accreditation status and principles of academic freedom and integrity,” the resolution continued, going on to detail specifics behind the complaint.
Leadership at the college is attempting to pit community members against one another, all while refusing to provide adequate compensation to MCCC educators, Bergmooser wrote in an op-ed published in The Monroe News last week.
“This is a dangerous game that can have devastating long-term effects on our entire community,” Bergmooser wrote. “We are in the midst of a crippling educator shortage, both locally and across the state. Due to inadequate pay and benefits, we don’t have enough trained, qualified educators to provide local students with the education they deserve.”
Students, alumni and community members have written recent letters to the editor of the News, urging the college to settle the contract with fair compensation for faculty members who make MCCC the strong learning institution that it is.
Bobby Zimmerman, an MCCC alum who lives in Carleton, said in a letter to the editor that faculty are the reason his experience at the college was excellent.
“The education I received there is a direct result of qualified, caring faculty members who invested their time and expertise in me to prepare me for my transfer to Siena Heights and my career as a financial adviser,” Zimmerman wrote.
Contract talks have been in mediation since November with very little movement, union leaders report.
“Please contact MCCC administrators and board of trustees members and tell them that instead of attacking educators, they should work collaboratively with faculty to strengthen our college for the sake of our entire community,” Bergmooser urged readers in his editorial.