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Webmaster

Peanut Gallery, it's safe to ask questions here. Yes, "one party consent" in NJ means that only one of the people being recorded needs to be aware of the recording, so the person doing the recording would suffice as the person having this knowledge.

peanut gallery

But the person recording knows he or she is recording. Does that count as the person in the know? Not trying to be difficult here, dear WM, but I am merely wondering. You are right in not letting dick interpret the rules for us by loudness and intimidation.

Webmaster

New Jersey is a state that allows for "one party consent" to recording conversations. That means that as long as one person who is being recorded knows about the recording, then it is legal.

It is perfectly legal to record a department meeting or a meeting with a supervisor.

I do not know why we accept the things that dick says as gospel-they are not. Some fairly simple research leads us to the truth.

peanut gallery

Greetings All: Great suggestions for protecting ourselves and being fairly evaluated. Always civilly question and ask for documentation. While this new point system is probably legal, let's not let it become unreasonably stressful and intimidating.

So many of us who post here have good thoughts and that is what holds me, at least, together. As far as recording meetings without consent, I'm not too sure. At the start of one department meeting, faculty was told in no uncertain terms that recording devices were NOT permitted. How overtly hostile and divisive is that? And that has also occured in meetings between Deans and faculty when faculty was called on the carpet for frivolous reasons and disciplinary "discussions."We need to investigate the legalities of taping.

I am not sure if any of the non tenured people who are being fired are pursuing legal action. I imagine many fear for retaliation in some way.Based on the original numbers dick gave us, it seems inevitable that more will be let go which is awful since most have been here at least four years and working toward getting documentaion for tenure consideration. Bummer.

Anyone have any ideas about how to air our concerns and have some dialogue in a school, dept. or faculty-wide meeting with deans or am I being ridiculously naive?

Webmaster

Instead of speculating about the impact, how do we find out definitively what the impact of this quantitative system will be?

I know that we cannot respond to a policy that is yet to be put in place, however, we should be able to learn how a general policy can impact our employment.

Scrapple

Stupified's points are excellent. I would add to be sure your voice is heard on any hidden taping.

Jefferson

"Stupified" has excellent suggestions! I think #4, especially, invites elaboration. Talks w/administrators should clarify what excellence in teaching is. Can the evaluator be specific? Has he/she seen examples in the work of others? Could department meetings address our presumed common interest (?) in promoting excellence, so all could benefit? Pressure on these mid-level functionaries must be steady: this is what we expect of you...not just what you expect of us. In OCC's early years, issues of common concern HAD to be addressed by all. It was revealing, sobering and sometimes helpful, but you had to bring them up unfailingly.

Stupefied

Webmaster, I think the ridiculous quantification system proposed by the administration may be more impactful for tenured faculty than you could imagine. May I offer some suggestions that we can use to protect ourselves?

1) At every meeting with administration, take copious notes or make an audio recording whenever possible. It is perfectly legal for us to record such meetings even without anyone else's knowledge or agreement.

2) At any evaluation meetings, fight the deans tooth-and-nail for the highest possible ratings in every performance criterion.

3) Demand at least 2 pieces of objective evidence that validate the ratings you received for each criterion.

4) Ask for tangible examples of "excellence" in the given criterion and ask exactly how those examples demonstrate excellence. If you do not receive a perfect rating in any criterion, ask why their examples of that criterion are "more excellent" than your efforts in the criterion.

5) Incorporate their stated examples of excellence into your work activities to the best of your ability and according to the contract so that they cannot establish any false "patterns" of mediocrity or failure.

6) Bring your own written self-evaluation that includes evidence for "excellence" in every criterion found in the dean's evaluation form so that you can confidently and accurately rebut any average or negative ratings.

7) DO NOT leave the dean's office with anything less than a perfect score in every criterion. For your own protection, make the meeting as objectionable as possible for the deans.

Remember, the deans and assistant deans are simply the minions of evil. I don't believe that most of them are motivated by malintent. So far, they all simply are rolling over and following orders from above-- even when the orders are unethical and immoral. People stop negative behavior when it gets painful for them. If we make the proposed evaluation process sufficiently painful for the deans, then perhaps they will begin to think before they act.

Press on... Fight the good fight... Peace be with you all.

BlueStateBlues

"A hostile work environment exists when an employee experiences workplace harassment and fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by the harasser.

A hostile work environment may also be defined as when a boss or manager begins to engage in a manner designed to make you quit in retaliation for your actions. Suppose you report safety violations at work, get injured at work, attempt to join a union, complain to upper level management about a problem at work, or act as a whistleblower in any respect. Then, the company’s response is to do all manner of things to make you quit, like writing you up for work rules you didn’t break, reducing your hours, scheduling you for hours that are in total conflict with what you can do, or reducing your salary. The company’s reaction can be viewed as creating a hostile work environment, one that makes it impossible to work and is an attempt to make you quit so that the employer does not have to pay unemployment benefits.

The anti-discrimination statutes governing hostile work environment are not a general civility code. Thus, federal law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not extremely serious. Rather, the conduct must be so objectively offensive as to alter the conditions of the individual’s employment. The conditions of employment are altered only if the harassment culminates in a tangible employment action or is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment."

I believe that OCC embodies a hostile work environment. How many of us have complained to management about a problem at work only to have our schedules tampered with? How many non-tenured faculty who were "fired" were threatened by dick that they would not be given letters of recommendation for future employment so that they would quit instead of being dismissed?

I believe that we have a class action suit. Please post other examples of a hostile work environment.

Webmaster

Thanks, Peanut Gallery, for your kind words.

Here is my question, if the full-time faculty is going to be "scrutinized" next, then what are we worried about?

I've heard that it's some bullshit scoring system that will quantitatively analyze the categories on our end of the year report.

So, let's say that the scale is on a 1 to 5 basis and a faculty member scores in the bottom third. I'll make up a number, 1.2, when the average is 2.5, then what?

What can they do? Can they de-tenure someone because the person falls short on their made-up scale? I think not.

Can they give a smaller increase in salary to someone who falls short on their made-up scale? No. We are still going by our contract, so if we ever get, say, a 2% raise, then EVERYBODY gets the 2% raise. They can't make it that faculty who scored above some arbitrary number get this percent and that those falling below it get this percent.

So what the hell are we all worried about? Honestly, sometimes I think that we are the biggest bunch of candy-asses that I've ever been around. I include myself in this. I think that is what dick feeds on.

Pretty soon dick will have expended every bullet in his chamber and then he had better watch out because no one will give a rat's behind what he threatens next.

peanut gallery

Webmaster,please know you are doing us all a service with this blog but I understand your frustration and that of our collegues who may not appear disheartened and worried as they go about their daily business of teaching. I don't know of anyone who is not tense and anxious about his or her fate. Everyone I talk with is on some type of stomach or nerve meds from the stress and uncertainty.

Rumor has it tenured full timers will be scrutinized next and that our jobs are on the line. Many are being harrassed already.Who knows if more non tenured faculty will get their walking papers at the end of the term.

I could not agree more, BSB with your comments about the E College. The Gateway Bldg is getting high end furnishings and equpment while ours is falling apart; JL and Co. worry about getting overseas students and toss ours to the curb; full time faculty cannot teach those courses because why? The Adjunct Union has Admin in their pockets? WIll the new 12 month non tenure hires be able to? Let us not forget Mega classes. It is pretty arrogant of administration to believe students in Asia and the Middle East are foaming at the mouth to take DL classes in TOms River NJ.

The adjuncts will be getting a new and much improved contract salary and benefit wise shortly from what I understand and we work under our old one. Something is terribly amiss. This is undeniably a selective and hostile workplace. And it seems as if nothing can be done to reverse it.

BlueStateBlues

Don't forget about the "E College" that they are concocting right now. A new E College will be created and no full-time faculty will be allowed to teach for it. All the jobs go to adjuncts. Then they chase the overseas dollars in China and Saudi Arabia. They see quick, easy money by trying to lure the Chinese and Saudis to take their on-line courses. We were told in a meeting that there are "70,000" Saudi Arabians that can't wait to take DL courses.

My mother always told me that when it seems too good to be true, it usually is. King Jon, dick and company see fast and easy dollars in the form of overseas students.

What about the students in Ocean County?

Webmaster

I'm sorry that I haven't created a new post in a while. I wanted the Ode to Buildings to stay up. I think that it gets under Larson's skin since he mentioned how ridiculous the notion of erecting-buildings-as-a-legacy was during his colloquium speech.

I'm also just disgusted by the work environment. I've had colleagues tell me that they wake up in the middle of the night worrying about work. One person confessed to crying on the way home from work after a tough day.

Is this not grounds for a "hostile work environment"? If it isn't, can anybody explain what would constitute a HWE?

I would like to think that a group of well-intentioned, honest people can do anything that they put their minds to, but we seem to be up against very powerful and politically connected people who are deeply entrenched in Ocean County's incestuous political affairs.

I have heard many things about this administration, but I do not know what is true, what are lies, or something in between the two. The latest rumor is about the political patronage coming out of the president's office. Jobs that should have been made public are going to Larson's cronies. Jobs that should be bid on are not put up for competition, but, again, are given to cronies. These are rumors and have no way of knowing what is true.

The Egyptians did just oust Mubarik, but it took 28 years. Our reign of terror is into its eleventh year. We are no longer a "community" college. We are a corporation whose boss terrorizes his workers. I understand why corporations have a bottom line-so that the stock-holders get rich, but I do not understand why a non-profit like OCC has a bottom line. Where is the money going?

peanut gallery

Good point at least for not giving up. But as far as rallying on the campus mall it would certainly get PR but I doubt any results. JL is now sending out reminders about the worsening crisis at the college just in case we forgot.

Been Here, Done This

Look at the transformation that is occurring in Egypt. I am reminded of the actor Peter Finch saying "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore." Do we still believe that change cannot occur at OCC?

peanut gallery

Hi Everyone: What is going on with this blog? I miss feeling a connection to everyone and sharing our concerns and frustrations.I feel soooo out of the loop. Things seem quiet but there is a underlying tenseness I am sensing hanging over the campus. It's all very oppressive and I guess we are all scared to do anything given the firings nad non renewal of contracts.

Webmaster

Thanks for the well-wishes.
Feeling pretty impotent lately.

who else is there

You too, Webmaster!
Thanks for all that you do.

Webmaster

Merry Christmas!
Wishing us all a healthy, stress-free New Year!

peanut gallery

Very true, Stupefied. Why are certain faculty members being including one who isn't being renewed targetted for unspecified hostility and incivility incidents but administrators are excused? At least the meeting is a start so let's see how civil dick is and maybe it'll pave the way for our contract negotiations. Pat should have a witness attend the meeting. Merry Christmas all and here's to a better new year. Can't get worse.

Stupefied

Did anyone notice the "polite" wording of Dick's most recent response to P.D. concerning OCC's civility statement/policy? Apparently, the adminsitration's definition of civility and collegiality shifts in response to variables like pending legislation and/or litigation. There is no "standard" of civility at OCC because its leadership (who is supposed to model a standard) is ethically bankrupt, emotionally unstable, and intellectually deficient. How sad.

buzzin' by

What a joke. Check out the APP front page today (Sat.) Freeloader Bartlett said that yesterday was the greatest day in history for OCC because of the Board approval of the Gateway Building. Reality Check. I think he neglected to mention the Board also approved without any thought, all the cuts and non re-appointments of faculty. Oops. Great letter from FAOCC by the way.

Jefferson

"Deep change" is right. Real leaders show the way by example, in the military & other spheres of organized life. Phony leaders send others to do their wishes & extract personal advantage therefrom, looking "good" to themselves & their overseers. JL becomes smaller & greedier over time.

deep change

Its time for deep change at OCC. That change should start with the president and his $300,000 salary. He should open his own contract and be given at least a 25% cut in pay and at the same time rescind all benefits. Benefits like a car, EZ pass, credit card, long term healthcare, annuity and a housing allowance. If the president was a real leader, then he should lead by example.

who else is there

We do have at least two chances to make some public responses right now. We can respond to the internal online questionnaire relating to the RIF plan. And we can post public comments online to the article in the APP.
I'm composing my own contributions to both, right now.

I'm not naive. I doubt that anything relating to the internal document will matter. Although the report is beautifully presented, it isn't remotely comprehensive (there is a summary of staff suggestions near the end, but NONE of mine were included, so I assume that many others were "overlooked" as well). I suspect that any criticisms will be automatically disregarded as whining and complaining, and once again there will be no transparency.

However, a complete lack of response to the report will surely be interpreted as complacence and/or acceptance. So I feel that I have to go through the process of critical reading and response, even if my actual thoughts never see the light of day.

Public comments to the APP, on the other hand, at least cannot be sanitized directly upon receipt by OCC personnel . . . or am I really that naive?

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