Faculty Union Sues Hudson Valley Community College Over Withholding Safety Report


Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) is embroiled in a legal dispute with its faculty union over the refusal to provide a full, unredacted copy of a campus safety report.

The report, completed in September by an independent contractor, was prompted by a stabbing incident on campus in November 2022. The college's faculty association filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain the report but was denied access to the complete document. This article examines the context of the dispute, the arguments presented by both sides, and the implications for campus safety and transparency.

Faculty Union Sues Hudson Valley Community College Over Withholding Safety Report

(Photo : WIKIMEDIA COMMONS / Zippylips)

The Dispute

The dispute between HVCC and its faculty union escalated when the college administration declined to provide the complete safety report, citing concerns over security risks. The faculty union, represented by the college's Faculty Association, argued that access to the full report is crucial for addressing safety concerns on campus. Robert Whitaker, president of the Faculty Association, emphasized the importance of transparency and collaboration between the union and the college administration in ensuring campus safety.

According to CBS 6, the safety report was initiated in response to a stabbing incident involving a student in a campus parking lot in November 2022. The incident raised fears and concerns among the college community, prompting calls for improved campus security measures. The completion of the safety report was intended to assess the existing security protocols and identify areas for improvement.

READ MORE: NYU's Instructors Elect Union, Forming The Largest Non-Tenure Faculty Union In Private Higher Education 

The Legal Battle

The Faculty Association's decision to file a lawsuit against HVCC, its president, board, and the surrounding county reflects the escalating tensions between the union and the college administration. The lawsuit, filed under the Freedom of Information Act, seeks to compel the college to release the full, unredacted copy of the safety report. The union argues that the report is essential for addressing the safety concerns raised by its members and ensuring a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff.

In response, Dennis Kennedy, executive director of communications and marketing at HVCC, defended the college's decision to withhold the full report. Kennedy stated that the report contains confidential information, potential security vulnerabilities, and areas of risk that, if disclosed, could threaten the safety of the college community. The college administration maintains that it is committed to ensuring campus safety and is working to address the concerns raised by the Faculty Association.

Implications for Campus Safety and Transparency

The legal battle between HVCC and its faculty union has broader implications for campus safety and transparency in higher education. The dispute highlights the challenges of balancing the need for transparency with the imperative of maintaining campus security. While transparency is essential for fostering trust and collaboration within the college community, security concerns must also be taken into account to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff.

The outcome of the lawsuit could set a precedent for how colleges and universities handle similar requests for information related to campus safety. It could also impact the relationship between faculty unions and college administrations, influencing future negotiations and collaborations on campus safety initiatives.

The dispute between HVCC and its faculty union underscores the complex nature of ensuring campus safety in higher education. While both sides have valid concerns, finding a balance between transparency and security is essential for fostering a safe and collaborative college environment. As the legal battle unfolds, the college community awaits a resolution that prioritizes the safety and well-being of all its members.

RELATED ARTICLE: University Of Kansas Faculty Overwhelmingly Vote To Unionize, Citing Need For Better Wages And Job Security 

© 2024 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.
Join the Discussion
Real Time Analytics