The Nevada Faculty Alliance (NFA) today issued a statement criticizing Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) and the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) for a late-night visit by University Police to TMCC faculty member Thomas Cardoza’s home Oct. 6.
First reported by This Is Reno, the police hand-delivered a notice after 10 p.m. to Professor Cardoza telling him his conduct and character would be the subject of an upcoming NSHE Board of Regents meeting Oct. 15 as well as consideration to appeal the lawsuit Cardoza won against NSHE.
“TMCC sent armed university police officers to Professor Cardoza’s home after 10 p.m. at night to serve a notice for the (since canceled) October 15 special meeting of the Board of Regents at which an appeal of the court ruling by TMCC was to be considered,” Kent Ervin with the NFA said in a statement to the news media. “The Nevada Faculty Alliance is appalled at the inappropriate time and manner of serving documents to a currently working employee of the system, which gives the appearance of hostile intent. NSHE needs to create a policy about how to serve legal notices to employees to prevent such overreach in the future.”
NSHE policy states that “given finite resources, each police department shall not engage in non-essential services, including those available through arrangements with municipal police.”
TMCC officials said the sending of police was routine — however, when asked for how many times it has happened in the past, TMCC spokesperson Kate Kirkpatrick said the institution doesn’t maintain that data. A subsequent note to Cardoza about the Oct. 15 meeting cancelation was provided to Cardoza’s attorney.
“Cardoza has been notified this morning, through his attorney, that the BOR meeting has been canceled,” Kirkpatrick said on Oct. 12.
TMCC President Karin Hilgersom told faculty, however, the reporting by “the This Is Reno blog” is part of a “disinformation campaign.”
“I am completely removed from all logistical planning in both the cases that were mentioned, including the evening service of a notice related to the upcoming NSHE board meeting, as well as any logistical planning related to termination proceedings,” she said during a faculty senate meeting. “I literally have no knowledge of these details. I’m just not involved. There are many pressing situations at TMCC including my support and action steps related to positive directions at TMCC.”
The second case, aside from Cardoza’s, is TMCC trying to fire its longtime, tenured faculty member Lars Jensen, whose second hearing is scheduled for Friday at 8 a.m. at TMCC.Hilgersom ordered, with a signed letter on July 12, 2021, the hearing to terminate Jensen.
TMCC’s Kirkpatrick, despite a judge’s ruling to the contrary, said, “At TMCC, academic freedom and the rights of faculty are highly valued and recognized as an integral part of our college organization. All the stipulations of bargaining agreements are carefullyfollowed.”
The NFA’s Ervin disagreed.
“The Nevada Faculty Alliance remains seriously concerned about violations of the collective bargaining agreement and of academic freedom at Truckee Meadows Community College,” he said. “Faculty members should not need to go to court to protect their faculty employee rights.”
Ervin also said the Board of Regents should not pursue an appeal of Cardoza’s case.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor, and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011, where he completed a dissertation on social media, journalism and crisis communications. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.