- The Buffalo News, Feb. 21, 2010
Yesterday, while thumbing through the Buffalo News, I was more than a little shocked to read about the exploits of Niagara County Community College Professor Philip Haseley. It seems the good professor is convinced little green men are visiting the earth. So much so that he’s made bringing speakers on the topic to NCCC a kind of personal crusade.
Now, we’ll offer the full range of disclaimers here. Yes, we realize that an interest in UFOs doesn’t make someone a lonely parents’-basement dweller with an unnatural relationship with one’s pet cat. Yes, we realize that not just tinfoil-hat wearers believe in this stuff. Yes, we realize that many UFOlogists lead productive, normal lives, and have numerous friends who they’ve even met in person. Yes, we realize that Gillian Anderson was incredibly hot in the first three seasons of The X-Files.
In all fairness, Professor Haseley is probably a fine guy. He probably can even strike up an interesting conversation on this topic. But that doesn’t give him a right to use taxpayer-financed resources—namely an entire community college: its auditorium, its phone lines, its copying machines, its staff, its utilities—to further his wacky hobby. The purpose of the community college is to train the local workforce with marketable skills, not to debate the intricacies of Romulan spacecraft design.
A couple months ago, we took the NCCC faculty union to task for their unrealistic salary expectations. Then, as now, we know that NCCC President Jim Klyczek is doing his best to fight an uphill battle against an entrenched union that provides a bunch of hacks who couldn’t cut it at first-rate colleges with a cushy existence and a place to hang their otherwise worthless advanced degrees—all funded by taxpayers.
At the time, the union was whining about how Klyczek didn’t feel their pain enough when he asked them for concessions. For that, we applauded Klyczek. Well, we now see that we stand corrected. Without this bunch of geniuses running NCCC's classrooms, the 40-year-old-virgin set would have to go to the nearest Star Trek convention to congregate with their own.
Still, call us old-fashioned, but if we’re going to pay NCCC’s instructors more than those at any other community college in the entire Upstate, we expect classroom discussion to not include the word “tribbles.”