Mark Bergmooser: MCCC administrators’ actions harming the Monroe community

Mark Bergmooser
Mark Bergmooser

Monroe County citizens deserve a high-quality community college that can provide a great education to local students and give them the skills they need to succeed in life. Yet Monroe County Community College’s leadership is attempting to pit community members against one another, all while refusing to provide adequate compensation to MCCC educators.

This is a dangerous game that can have devastating long-term effects on our entire community.

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.

As with our K-12 schools, this is a problem at MCCC, where faculty members have watched their wages remain stagnant as inflation rises and health care costs soar. Despite taking such an economic hit, MCCC faculty have remained unwavering in their commitment to delivering a quality education to the students of Monroe County.

When the pandemic struck, the college’s faculty were forced to switch from primarily teaching face-to-face courses to online learning. As COVID-19 raged on, faculty knew their professional and personal lives had changed forever. Quickly learning the technological skills needed to lead their students to success, faculty used their own personal computers, paid for their own internet and electricity costs, and became on-call coaches to aid their students. Counselors and librarians did the same, also making themselves available to the broader community.

But the inadequate compensation for MCCC educators, combined with the unprecedented stress of the last few years, has led to a crisis. Morale is at an all-time low, and we are losing talented, experienced educators to the private sector and colleges in other communities, where they can be compensated fairly and treated like the professionals they are.

By watering down the wages and health benefits of faculty, MCCC leaders are harming the quality of education our students receive by making it more difficult for MCCC to attract and keep high-quality educators in our community. That means local students can’t receive the education and training they require to compete for good jobs or get into quality four-year universities. Moreover, without a skilled and educated workforce, our community can’t compete for the jobs of the future.

Students and families in Monroe County deserve better than this.

Now it’s time for the community — the working families who fund MCCC through their tax dollars and tuition payments — to step in on behalf of our local educators and speak out.

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.

Mark Bergmooser is assistant professor of communications and faculty association president at Monroe County Community College.

This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: MCCC faculty union addresses contract negotiations with college