MCCC faculty wears red at Board of Trustees meeting

The MCCC faculty wear red at the trustees meeting. (Photo by Will Johnson)

A sea of red attire greeted those attending Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting, donning shirts reading “MCCC Faculty Negotiating for a Fair Contract” on the back.

The choice of apparel is part of the MCCC faculty’s ongoing protest for a new work contract, a cause that has been ongoing since April of this year. The faculty’s contract expired in August.

In recent months, their protests have escalated, wearing buttons that read “Value MCCC Faculty” and demonstrating at the State of the College Address.

“As I look over the agenda this evening, I saw that there were a variety of resolutions and accommodations for employees who will be leaving our college,” said Mark Bergmooser, president of the MCCC Faculty Association. “And little has been said about some of the hard work and the dedication of faculty during the pandemic.”

Bergmooser spoke in support of the new contract, known as the Master Agreement during the meeting.

“And I’m sure many of you have been wondering what we’ve been up to during the past year and a half.” Bergmooser said, proceeding to share his colleagues’ achievements, obscuring names to maintain anonymity.

Bergmooser’s speech included achievements such as securing a $10,000 gift to the Dan Shaw Journalism Memorial Fund, establishing the first in-person Honors course since the pandemic began, starting the first ever survey at MCCC that addresses the mental health needs of students, making over one hundred visits to high schools in the area, and taking students to conferences to increase their writing skills.

“Now earlier this month, the State of the College Address focused on the incredible renovations that have occurred on our campus,” Bergmooser said. “But our college depends on so much more than the state of our facilities. It depends on the state of our faculty.”

Later in the meeting, Lynette Dowler, board chair, provided a presentation regarding President Kojo Quartey’s compensation in comparison to other community college presidents in Michigan.

Trustee Steve Hill said they should settle faculty and staff contract negotiations before talking about the president’s compensation.

“An organization is strongest when it takes care of its people,” said Hill, who is leaving the board after finishing his six-year term. “Just a thought.”

Dowler reported that the president had not received a salary raise in three years, and had also reported that Quartey’s salary is below the median average of Michigan community colleges, and also nearly 12% below the national average. However, he has earned a longevity bonus every three years since 2016. That bonus increased from $9,000 to $30,000 this year.

According to The Monroe News, Quartey’s base salary was $177,500 when his three-year contract was renewed in 2018. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, President Quartey’s contract was changed to year-to-year, according to an email from Penny Dorcey, executive assistant to the President and Board of Trustees.