Turns out, my hunch was right, though not for any reason I could anticipate.
One of the Committee's tasks was to explore ways of revamping the English courses students were required to take.
York, like most schools, required all students, regardless of major, to take two English courses. And, as in most schools, the first semester course was Composition. They had a fancier name for it, but it was essentially more or less the same as English Composition 101 classes in most American colleges. The difference was that it was a four-credit course, while in most schools it is three credits. If I'm not mistaken, the rationale for it was that most of the students needed the extra work, as they entered the college with weaker reading and writing skills than students in many other four-year colleges.
The second semester of English was something called Intro to Literature, or English 200. It was designated a "writing enhanced" course, as opposed to the "writing intensive" course that English 125, a.k.a. Intro to College Writing (or Composition) was. "Writing enhanced" meant, basically, that we were supposed to assign students to write essays and responses, but not full-blown papers.
One of the complaints about the courses was that when students transferred into York, the advisors and registrar weren't always sure of whether or not the student should receive credit for English 125 and/or 200. And students who transferred out of York complained that they "lost" credits and had to repeat--and pay for--classes that, in essence, they had already done.
The common-sensical--and ethical--thing would have been to structure the courses more like those in other colleges, where students take two semesters of composition (usually called English 101 and 102) and the second semsester, or 102, is usually a kind of "composition with literature" course.
But of course being common-sensical and ethical meant that it wasn't going to happen. Or, if it did, it would be made to appear "unique" in some way--as if a lower-tier four-year college in the CUNY system was doing things that other schools would notice, much less emulate!
So we spent weeks alternating between changing without seeming to, and seeming to change without actually doing so. Every educational and management theory and practice that defied common sense but got somebody a grant and tenure had been bandied about, as well as ideas that had been discredited in every field but English.
The low point came during one meeting that began in the middle of the afternoon and stretched into the night, long after classes had ended and nearly all other faculty members and students had left the campus. After debating what fancy-ass names to give the courses, the august scholars in the room spent the next three hours arguing over what numbers should be assigned to the courses. My suggestion that they should be called 101 and 102 were pooh-poohed; all manner of other combinations of numbers--some not even in sequence--were suggested. Finally, the the committee's chair adjourned the meeting after everyone agreed to narrow the choices down to two sequences and vote on them during the following meeting.
It's three hours of my life that I'll never get back. But, hey, I was doing my part to help improve the education York College students receive. Right?