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Dante Morelli: The Faculty’s Top Communicator, Negotiator

The Pittsburgh native has been president of the faculty’s union for the past five years
Communications professor Dante Morelli is the voice of the college’s faculty as president of its union, the Faculty Association.

Dante Morelli goes to his office every morning, expecting a long day ahead of him. Some days he starts off with multiple meetings. Other days he has to deal with a barrage of emails. Sometimes it’ll be multiple calls from Faculty Association members. 

As president, Morelli, 44, is required to handle issues and grievances of the faculty, partaking in meetings with the school to address these concerns, and running meetings with the Student Government Association. 

“I got involved with the Faculty Association as a representative shortly around 2011 or so, and then I just started getting involved at other levels. Now here I am.” 

Despite the heavy responsibilities that come with the position of president of the Faculty Association, the faculty’s union, Morelli doesn’t let the role overwhelm him. 

“The work can get stressful at times, but it comes with the work culture. Any union president will tell you the stress varies on the time of year and what projects you’re pursuing. You learn to manage it, and five years now into the position I feel as if I can manage the stress in the day-to-day a lot easier than I started. 

Morelli, who moved from Pittsburg 18 years ago to Long Island to teach at Suffolk, said he loves to travel, visit Long Island’s beaches — especially Fire Island — and explore New York City.

He still teaches communication studies and college seminar classes.

In the five years Morelli has been the FA’s president, he considers getting through COVID-19 as one of his greatest accomplishments. The pandemic struck six months into his presidential tenure. Morelli called it a “baptism by lava.” He successfully navigated through this time and watched the school return to its natural order. 

“As president, I had to continue to run the office because there were bills to be paid and business to take care of. It was a really bizarre time because most of the membership was not on campus at the time, so [the school] became a lonely, desolate place. I’m so glad those days are over and that the college is back with life and students walking around.” 

Morelli’s job requires him to get along with and meet with a large number of people, with the association consisting of over 1,500 members. However, his closest members are the FA’s executive board. 

“I think he’s been a very good choice for the role. He’s very dedicated, his energy level is amazing, he’s very focused on protecting faculty, and as a whole, I think we’re doing a very good job,” said Courtney Brewer, a professor of psychology and the FA’s executive vice president. 

Brewer works very closely with Morelli. The members of the executive board meet every week and collaborate on issues, with Morrelli having the responsibility to sign off on agreements with the college.

“Dante is the voice of the Faculty Association, so he is the one that speaks on our behalf and represents faculty publicly to not just the college, but other outside parties. [President] is a very big role.”

One task both Morelli and Brewer mentioned was negotiating a new contract with the school. Dante was put in the role of chief negotiator for the first time since neither he nor Brewer had ever negotiated with the college before. With Morelli in charge, the FA came away with a contract that they considered one of their major accomplishments.

Morelli’s responsibility extends beyond just the immediate Ammerman campus. He works for members of the faculty across all three Suffolk County Community College campuses, requiring him to collaborate with the faculty of each specific campus. 

“We work together on issues that the faculty may have across the college and across my campus,” said Irene Rios, the CEO/executive dean and the interim vice president of academic affairs at the Ammerman Campus. Rios added that she works with Dante as a member for both of her roles. 

As the executive dean of the Ammerman Campus, Rios has worked closely with Morelli on issues about both the faculty and the school. As president, Morelli is required to work with the college administration on solving problems and bringing awareness to any issues that exist. 

In his time as FA president of the FA, he has proven himself to be an effective leader, Brewer said.

“He is very effective to work with. He’s a good communicator, a staunch advocate for our faculty and counselors and librarians, and he’s dedicated to students’ experience in the classroom,” she said. “He’s reasonable to work with. He’s a good listener. And he’s very aware of the needs of our faculty, students, and college.”

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About the Contributor
Sajad Syed
Sajad Syed, Editor-in-Chief
Sajad Syed is a journalism major and the editor-in-chief of the Suffolk student newspaper, the Compass News. An aspiring sports reporter, he will graduate from Suffolk in 2024 to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism

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