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MCC faculty has tentative contract, but concerns about Kress' leadership remain

Emily Hunt for WXXI News

The union representing hundreds of professors, adjuncts, and non-teaching professionals at Monroe Community College has reached a tentative agreement with the college on a two-year contract.

Union members have been working without a contract since last August.  They're scheduled to vote on the tentative deal March 25.

MCC Faculty Association President Bethany Gizzi is happy about the pending agreement, but  says a settled contract only resolves a portion of the ongoing concerns faculty members have about college President Anne Kress.

"Things are quieter because we want to just see that ( contract ) process complete," Gizzi said, "but there is still an overall feeling of concern and worry about the future of MCC. There's a general feeling of low morale and fear that's influencing people's daily job experiences."

The union approved a no-confidence resolution regarding Kress in November.  It was based on numerous grievances, which Kress has denied, including lack of shared governance and an atmosphere of intimidation.

Gizzi said the college's board of trustees has not responded to the Faculty Association's request for a comprehensive evaluation of President Kress.

"If she believes there is no concern about her ability to do her job and to do it well," asked Gizzi, "then why wouldn't she be willing to have an open and public and comprehensive evaluation done? And if the board has full confidence in her, then why wouldn't they be interested in doing that and showing that there are reasons for them to have confidence?"

When WXXI news asked board chair Barbara Lovenheim for a comment, she did not directly address the faculty's request for a review of Kress.

Lovenhiem said, through a spokesperson, "The Trustees are pleased that faculty and administration continue to take steps together to move forward, improve shared governance, and strengthen MCC." 

If members of the Facuilty Association approve their contract in the March 25 vote, the board of trustees would then vote on the agreement April 1.

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.