March 11, 2024


Boylan digs in following NFA calls for his resignation

Regent Patrick J. Boylan

Nevada Regent Patrick J. Boylan told media outlets that he would not step down following a statement released by the State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance calling on him to resign immediately for his hostile response to a student's public comments. The student, a representative of the Nevada Student Alliance, protested Boylan's frequent transphobic and racist remarks made during the quarterly meeting of the Board of Regents on 

February 29 and March 1. He calmly told Boylan "I hope that you expand and change your paradigm."

Earlier in the same public comment period, Regent Michelee Cruz-Crawford stepped up to the podium with a brief statement. She reminded her colleagues of federal laws protecting LGBTQIA+ individuals and decried the earlier statements without specifically mentioning Boylan. Similarly, three other Regents felt compelled to comment after Boylan's response to the student leader.

By Monday, March 4, Board of Regents Chair Amy Carvalho and Vice Chair Jeff Downs released a media advisory, followed by a statement from Interim Chancellor Patty Charlton, asserting the Board's and NSHE's commitment to inclusivity. Multiple news outlets in Las Vegas and Reno also covered the story.

These actions are commendable, but they do not address the true offense in Boylan's actions. Boylan is certainly entitled to his opinions and to express them at the appropriate times. His words on this occasion, however, add to several prior instances of using language with discriminatory intent at public meetings that violate the Board of Regent's anti-discrimination resolution and acceptable standards of public conduct for an elected official for higher education. 

We do not seek his resignation because his views run contrary to ours. We seek his resignation because he persists in violating the Board of Regents resolution, and by extension, its ethics. But, more egregiously, he used his position of authority as a Regent to go on the offensive against a student leader who used the appropriate opportunity of the public comment period to constructively criticize him and ask him to do better. 

The Nevada Faculty Alliance stands by our call for Boylan's resignation. We encourage faculty to support all their students, but especially their student leaders. Many student groups are already mobilizing with activities to protest Boylan's behavior. NSHE students need to know that their instructors, mentors, and advisors have their backs when they have the courage to speak truth to power.


Campaign underway to update BOR regulations on collective bargaining

The first NFA chapters were established over forty years ago as affiliates of the American Association of University Professors. It was another nine years before the Board of Regents added Title 4 Chapter 4 to the handbook, the policies governing collective bargaining on NSHE campuses. Soon afterward, TMCC-NFA was established as the first collective bargaining unit in the Nevada System of Higher education.

Adopted in the early 1990s, the policies changed little over three decades and are now significantly outdated. In the interest of shared governance, NFA has submitted a proposal to the Board of Regents in hopes of starting a discussion about modifications that we believe will not only reflect the reality of our practices, but also streamline process for both the System Administration and NFA.


Legislators answer faculty questions at Question 1 forum hosted by NFA

Assemblyman Howard Watts, Senator Dina Neal, and Senator Marilyn Dondero Loop
answer faculty questions during NFA's Question 1 forum

On February 23rd the Nevada Faculty Alliance hosted a forum on Question 1, the upcoming ballot measure that would remove the Board of Regents from the Nevada Constitution, effectively increasing legislative oversight. Given that this change has the potential to directly affect NSHE faculty, the NFA welcomed three legislators to the forum - Senator Marilyn Dondero-Loop, Senator Dina Neal, and Assemblyman Howard Watts - to share their perspectives on any changes that would take place if Question 1 passes. 

As the event began, Senator Dondero Loop, the Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, relayed her description of the Question as one that will modernize the Board of Regents and align it with how other, similar boards are governed in the state. However, “transparency and accountability” became the main themes of the legislator’s comments - with all three legislators pointing to what they described as an ability to conduct audits and examine governance as their reason for supporting the Question. Assemblyman Watts said that the legislature currently feels as if their “hands are tied” when it comes to understanding how NSHE spends the money that the legislature approves.

About 60 faculty members participated either in person, or via Zoom, and took the opportunity to voice their hopes and concerns should Question 1 pass. Most agreed with the aim of the lawmakers to bring more accountability to NSHE, but some expressed fear about an uncertain future. They urged the panel to put protections for academic freedom, shared governance, and tenure in place.

The lawmakers were adamant that very little would change “the day after” election day if the Question were to pass. In response to a question relaying concerns that future legislatures could attempt to dictate curriculum, Assemblyman Watts warned to expect those fights “no matter what happens' with Question 1. Senator Neal encouraged faculty to give input starting in August, when any bills aimed at higher education will appear on the list of bill draft requests (BDRs) and as they move through the legislative process.

All three legislators also encouraged faculty to reach out to them directly.

NFA has not expressed support or opposition to Question 1 and plans to hold more events focusing on the measure so that NFA members, and all NSHE faculty, have opportunities to become informed on the possible effects if the measure is approved.


AAUP issues letter describing concerns for on-going issues at UNR

Recently, the NFA reached out to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) to express concerns about violations of shared governance at the University of Nevada, Reno. The AAUP acknowledged NFA’s concerns about the climate at UNR and responded with an advisory letter that  included relevant AAUP statements on aspects of shared governance.

According to AAUP, only about 10% of the complaints they receive rise to the level of NFA's concerns. The State Board of the Nevada Faculty Alliance has sent a copy of the advisory letter to the President and Provost of UNR, the Interim Chancellor, and the leadership of the Board of Regents. To date, none have confirmed receipt of the letter, nor acknowledged our desire for them to work more closely with faculty groups to improve the campus climate, raise morale, and reverse the growing attrition of talented faculty.

Read AAUP Letter of Concern addresses UNR issues >>


Transparency disappears from NSHE employee buyouts report to Regents

Last year, the Board of Regents set transparency and accountability as one of its strategic goals, but the annual employee buyouts report presented at the Board's quarterly meeting this month, is a case of diminishing transparency. 

A revelation in November 2018 that NSHE institutions had spent nearly $8.8 million on employee-related buyouts in the previous biennium prompted Regents to pass a policy that requires NSHE to share information annually. The Regents received the first detailed report in March 2020, another in March 2021, and a third in March 2022. Those multi-page reports, however, gave way to a single page report with virtually no details in March 2023, and again this year.

NSHE institutions frequently use settlement buyouts and termination agreements to avoid negative publicity about its employment practices. The detailed reports provided a much-needed glimpse into the extent of these practices. 

The briefing paper for the 2022 report reflected a revised interpretation of the policy by incoming NSHE Chief General Counsel, James Martines. The reported included only payments directly associated with terminations and notices of non-reappointment. Amounts paid out to settle actual or anticipated litigation are no longer reported, and apparently, any payment made to an employee who agrees to resign to avoid termination is omitted as well. NFA is aware of at least one such case where a substantial payout under these terms was not reported.

NFA urges the Board of Regents to correct Chief Counsel Martines' misinterpretation of this policy and provide a full accounting of all independent payments made to employees associated with their separation from employment with any NSHE institution.

Read Concealing what's critical in buyouts >>


AAUP and NFA file joint amicus brief in Jensen appeal to U.S. 9th Circuit Court

The Nevada Faculty Alliance has joined the American Association of University Professors to file a joint amicus brief in the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, in support of TMCC math professor, Dr. Lars Jensen, who faced retaliation for voicing concerns about lowering math curriculum standards. 

The appeal was filed following a conclusion in the federal district court that Jensen's constitutional right to engage in such speech "was not clearly established." AAUP contends that a 2014 case, Demers v. Austin, clearly and unequivocally affirmed that such speech pursuant to a faculty member's official duties is protected and that Jensen was addressing "matters of public concern." TMCC filed a response to the amicus brief on March 6, starting the clock for an AAUP/NFA reply by March 13. 

READ Jensen v. Brown, No. 23-2545 (9th Cir. 2024) >>


Join us on Instagram and Threads

Due to recent changes that have led to an increase in disturbing content and hateful rhetoric on its platform, NFA has archived its account on X (formerly Twitter). While the NFA account will remain it will not be active or monitored.

We are moving our social media presence to other platforms, starting with Instagram and Threads. We hope you’ll follow us there!

2023-25 NFA State Officers

Jim New - President

Shantal Marshall - Vice President

Joey Ray - Secretary

Cheryl Cardoza - Treasurer

Kent Ervin - Past President

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The Nevada Faculty Alliance is the statewide independent association of professional employees of the colleges and universities of the Nevada System of Higher Education. The NFA is affiliated with the American Association of University Professors and the American Federation of Teachers/AFL-CIO.  The NFA advocates for higher education as a common good, academic freedom, and empowering our faculty members to be fully engaged in our mission to help students succeed.