Board of Trustees meeting gives floor to divided campus
Board of Trustees at the March 5 meeting. Avani Kapur
Board of Trustees at the March 5 meeting. Avani Kapur
The Board of Trustees held a scheduled meeting on March 5 where they released a redacted version of the investigation report concerning President Farahi's past resumes.
The report details the findings of the independent law firm that completed the investigation for the board. Parts of the 20-page investigation, including the entire conclusion section, were redacted.
The report states that the redaction is in accordance with the New Jersey Open Public Records act which is a state law enacted to give the public greater access to information and government records.
It also states that the law firm specifically investigated seven issues raised by the KFT "based on its review of various resumes bearing Dr. Farahi's name, and his Kean employment application."
These included whether four of Farahi's academic articles were submitted, accepted or published "by various journals as claimed in various documents," Farahi's claim that a text book was accepted for publication by Franklin Watts and whether technical reports he prepared were published by APC publishers.
In the report, the law firm also said they investigated whether a 1980 presentation was given by Farahi, whether he was "Acting Academic Dean" at Avila College from 1976-1983 and had over 50 technical articles in major publications, whether he was on the Editorial Review Board of Public Administration Review and whether he was fired from Avila College.
The report states that none of the issues investigated were referenced in the 2002 resume Farahi submitted when applying for president. The full report can be found on kean.edu/KU/Media.
Students and faculty also expressed their opinions of the recent decision to keep President Farahi in a public comment session that lasted just under an hour. All but one of 17 speakers voiced their opinion of the board's decision to retain Farahi on Feb 15.
James Castiglione, KFT President, said that research done by several faculty members showed irregularities in the vote including the abstention of a board member and some votes being recorded incorrectly. He also questioned if political influence affected the vote.
"[There are] concerns that State Sen. Raymond Lesniak, who sources place in Kean Hall the night of the vote, may have exerted undo political influence in the board's decision," said Castiglione.
He added that a re-vote is necessary and said that its result would be Farahi's removal.
Jose Sanchez, Executive Director of the School of Social Sciences, who has publically supported Farahi, said the KFT is using students as "cannon fodder."
Board Chair Ada Morrell said that the vote was properly taken and recorded and the vote stands.
Students involved in Student Organization and Residence Life spoke in support of Farahi.
"His accomplishments out measure anyone's in this room," said Senior and Resident Assistant George Morgan. He also said that Farahi sees the students as his children and treats them like family.
Senior Editor of The Cougar's Byte Benito Nieves, who lost an election for Student Org. last year, said that because he has lived far from his family he views Kean as his family.
"This place has been my home; Dr. Farahi has been my first father," he said.
Another Senior and Resident Assistant, Liscet Duran, spoke in support of Farahi.
"As I graduate, I pray that Farahi continues," said Duran. Before quoting a verse from the Bible she added that he has been shown no mercy.
While a number of students and faculty spoke out in support, others spoke against last month's decision.
"Those who knowingly voted for [Farahi's] stay is what is eating the ruin of today's society," said Gizeth Cruz of Occupy Kean University.
Kathleen Henderson, president of the adjunct faculty union, said, "We are a laughing stock throughout the state of New Jersey; whenever I attend meetings on state level I'm almost ashamed now to say I'm from Kean University and I'm an adjunct who's given my life to Kean."
Jaclyn Tuman and Nicole La Capria contributed to this report.
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