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December 2014


Networking 5
Kevin Peterman


kevin peterman
Kevin Peterman addresses attendees at a meeting of SUNY community college presidents and NYSUT ED39 local presidents on November 7, 2014.

The 36th annual NYSUT Community College Conference was held in Saratoga Springs on November 7-9, and the FA had nineteen leaders participate in the conference (listed below).

What really started off the productive conference was the networking luncheon preceding the 3 p.m. start of the conference.

NYSUT, as it has done the past few years, arranged a luncheon meeting with community college (CC) presidents, CC union presidents, SUNY leadership and NYSUT leadership and members of NYSUT research and legislative staff. In the past the presidents’ meeting was held in Albany on a different date.

In October I suggested to NYSUT that we try to meet right before the start of our conference. My rationale was that the CC union presidents would already be at the conference and this could foster greater participation. It worked. This year’s luncheon was the best attended, with the most CC presidents attending and a strong showing of CC union presidents.

I drove to the conference with President McKay. The four-hour car ride allowed us to discuss ways of lobbying for more funding for community colleges and other college issues. Andrew Pallotta, executive vice president of NYSUT and I, as ED 39 director, hosted this event. The luncheon was very productive with all the stakeholders agreeing that we will ask for a $250 full-time equivalent (FTE) increase per year over the next three years.

emily lauer
First-time NYSUT Community College Conference attendee Emily Lauer contributes to the conversation.

Everyone also agreed that we engage our students in Reclaiming the Promise, which I discussed in the last issue of The WORD. The elected officials in Albany need to hear our students’ stories and pay their required share of CC funding. Other topics discussed were the changes in demographics, SUNY’s seamless transfer and the need for the state and our local sponsors to contribute their fair share towards CC funding.

There was also a commitment from NYSUT to have this luncheon for college presidents and the presidents of the unions at the CC conference next year at Cooperstown. This is the first time we planned this far ahead for next year’s luncheon. I’m confident that next year’s luncheon will have even better participation.

Kevin Dunn, president of Broome CC and president of the New York Community Colleges Association of Presidents (NYCCAP), was at the luncheon and mentioned to me that day that he was encouraged. He said, “If we can get the college presidents, the union presidents, SUNY, NYSUT and our students working together, this will be one powerful advocacy effort.” I immediately thought, networking to the fifth power: networking5.

This luncheon meeting was so productive it energized NYSUT’s three-day conference.

On Friday evening NYSUT president Karen Magee was the keynote speaker. I was impressed that all six officers of NYSUT were present either at the president’s luncheon or at the conference. The workshops included labor history, advanced negotiations, adjunct issues, strategic planning and grievances, to mention a few. We discussed the Reclaiming the Promise campaign throughout the weekend and our goal is to get students on every CC campus to work with us to advocate for our fair share of funding.

sue demasi
Sue DeMasi also shared her ideas during this year's conference, as first-time attendee Adam Holzer looks on.

I have discussed the Reclaiming the Promise campaign with all three campus student leaders, and we will begin our campaign at the beginning of the spring semester. We will have petition drives, and I’m working with NYSUT to see if they can develop an app to use technology to aid the campaign.

The goal is to have students from all three campuses going to Albany in March to

advocate for more funding.

I look forward to your support as we work with our students and empower them to become activists.

Networking5 and activism will surely work!

Attendees at this year's conference included the following:

Officers Activists
  1. Kevin Peterman
  2. Sean Tvelia
  3. Marie Hanna
  4. Joyce Gabriele
  5. Pete DiGregorio
  6. Cynthia Eaton

  1. Courtney Brewer
  2. Doug Cody
  3. Joan Cook
  4. Sue DeMasi
  5. Michelle Fowler
  6. Adam Holzer
  7. Emily Lauer
  8. Kevin McCoy
  9. Tim McHeffey
  10. Dante Morelli
  11. Bruce Seger
  12. Jane-Marie Wright