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Kean U seeks Communists for China campus jobs

By Ronica Cleary

Union, New Jersey (My9NJ) – Looking for a new job? Well Kean University is hiring at its campus in China. The catch? Membership in the Chinese Communist Party is preferred!

[...]

James Castiglione is an Associate Professor at Kean in Union and is President of the Kean Federation of Teachers.

He’s calling on the state for a forensic audit of spending here at Kean because he has serious concerns about this issue amongst others involving spending and layoffs at the University.

Castiglione noted the funding the university gets as a state school and said there is no transparency with spending.

“We’re calling on the state of New Jersey to investigate. We want them to conduct a forensic audit, looking into the finances, all aspects of the university, the branch campus in China, and the Kean University Foundation,” he stated.

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Teachers Needed to Review State English and Math Standards

What is next for the standards currently known as “Common Core”? Three Content Subcommittees will review each set of standards (K-2, 6-12 English Language Arts, and 6-12 Math) in-depth. Each subcommittee will propose a set of revised standards to a Standards Review Committee for consideration. Educators can apply for the content subcommittees, no nomination is required. Seventy five percent of each content subcommittee will be current, district and school based educators.

Act quickly: Download application and return before 4:00 PM, July 31 to njstandardsreview@doe.state.nj.us to be considered.

Questions? Please email njstandardsreview@doe.state.nj.us with any questions or concerns.

Public Employees’ Retirement System Chair Discusses New Pension Lawsuit

Another shot fired in the court battle over public worker pension payments. Four years ago unions cut a deal with Gov. Chris Christie to put pension payments on a secure footing. But when less than expected revenue came in, the state balanced the budget by contributing less than expected payments. The unions sued and the state Supreme Court effectively let the state off the hook. Now the unions have amended their suit citing breach of contract and they’re demanding billions of dollars in damages.

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Op-Ed: Charting The Path To Local Control For Newark’s Public Schools

By Theresa Luhm

QSAC maps out a clear and expeditious approach for moving Newark’s state-controlled schools back under home rule

In June, Gov. Chris Christie and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka announced the establishment of the Newark Educational Success Board (NESB), a nine-member panel charged with “developing a clear, specific pathway with appropriate timelines and benchmarks for the return of local control [of the public schools] to the Newark community” after more than 20 years of state operation. The Board will meet soon and should seize this unprecedented opportunity to jumpstart the restoration of local authority under the process established by the New Jersey Legislature a decade ago.

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How to be a part of N.J.’s Common Core review

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

TRENTON — New Jersey’s Department of Education is accepting applications from teachers to sit on the committees that will review the Common Core academic standards.

The applications are available on the department’s website, along with nomination forms for school districts. All applications and nominations must be submitted by July 31, according to the state.

RELATED: 10 things to know about N.J.’s Common Core review
The department announced earlier this month that it will establish a 23-member committee to oversee the Common Core review process and make final recommendations, as ordered by Gov. Chris Christie. Three subcommittees will review the math and English/language arts standards, which outline what skills students should master in grades K-12.

Any teacher can apply for the committees that review the standards, but only teachers nominated by their district can sit on the committee that makes final recommendations, according to the state.

The committees will also consist of parents, school board members, administrators, educational experts and business and industry representatives. For questions about how to apply, contact NJStandardsReview@doe.state.nj.us.

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Rutgers faculty: Don’t blame us for tuition hike

By Adam Clark, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW BRUNSWICK — When Rutgers University announced a 2.3 percent tuition increase last week, school officials cited rising expenses, including 2 percent raises for several employee unions with new contracts.

But the school’s faculty has its own ideas for why the typical undergraduate student will have to pay about $300 more to attend the New Brunswick campus this fall.

“The expanding ranks of highly paid managers and the bottomless pit of athletics spending seem far greater cost drivers at Rutgers than faculty and staff who experienced years of wage freezes while tuition continued to rise,” professor Deepa Kumar said this week on behalf of the university’s faculty union.

RELATED: What Rutgers students need to know about the tuition hike
Kumar said university leaders should work with the faculty to advocate for increased state funding rather than blame them for the tuition increase.

Tuition and fee increases at Rutgers have outpaced the raises to faculty over the past four years, according to The American Association of University Professors- American Federation of Teachers, which represents Rutgers’ professors and graduate students.

In makings its case, the union also pointed to a 2014 audit showing that 79 top Rutgers administrators and mangers were making at least $250,000. In another finding, the audit reported that Rutgers’ $75 million athletic program was not self-supported in 2013 and relied on 44 percent of its funding from student fees and core academic funds.

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Chinese Communists Preferred

By Elizabeth Redden

“Membership in Chinese Communist Party is preferred,” says the job advertisement for a “specialist for residence life” position at Kean University’s China campus, which is run jointly with Wenzhou University and is known as Wenzhou-Kean University (WKU). The same preference is stated in a posting for a “specialist for student conduct.”

Other posted jobs at the institution don’t include that stipulation. But the standard staff employment application posted on the WKU human resources website does ask prospective employees to attach a photo and requests any number of details regarding political affiliation and personal background that would be problematic to ask under American antidiscrimination law — birth date, birthplace, nationality, gender, marital status, “politics status,” even height.

Kean, a public university in New Jersey, said its Chinese partner institution, Wenzhou, is responsible for hiring student service and operations personnel according to Chinese laws, while it handles academic hiring according to American ones. But that means that staff with direct responsibility for student life can be hired according to criteria that privilege Chinese Communist Party membership and that would be considered discriminatory in the U.S.

The norm for American colleges and universities with campuses abroad — especially in parts of the world that don’t share American values in hiring — is to state repeatedly that they hire as if hiring in the United States. But the (non-American) hiring practices for nonacademic staff at WKU raise questions about whether Kean is upholding values central to American universities — antidiscrimination and academic freedom among them — at the campus that bears its name in China.

The Council of New Jersey State College Locals — an American Federation of Teachers affiliate made up of faculty and staff unions at nine New Jersey public colleges, including Kean — issued a press release on Wednesday first calling attention to the aforementioned materials on the WKU website. In addition to raising concerns about discrimination in employment, the union said that the university’s hiring practices and application criteria “also raise serious concerns about the existence of academic freedom at Wenzhou.”

Steve Young, the executive director for the council, said the two positions that state a preference for Chinese Communist Party members — specialists for residence life and student conduct — could function like the political commissars of Soviet Russia to make sure that students toe the political line (both positions, the union’s press release notes, involve close daily work with students). “How much control does China really have over this deal,” said Young, who is calling for the New Jersey state legislature’s higher education committee to investigate Kean’s campus in Wenzhou.

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Communist Party members ‘preferred’ for jobs on Kean U.’s new China campus, ad says

By Kelly Heyboer, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

UNION TOWNSHIP — Applicants for two top staff positions at Kean University’s new campus in China should be members of the Communist Party, according to job postings on the university’s website that are drawing criticism from union officials.

Wenzhou-Kean University, a satellite campus the public university launched in 2012 in a partnership with the Chinese government, recently posted  advertisements for 30 positions on its website.

“Membership in the Chinese Communist Party is preferred,” according to the job postings for two of the positions – Specialist for Residence Life and Specialist for Student Conduct. Both of the posts are non-academic jobs that include close contact with students on the Wenzhou campus, who are mostly Chinese students taking classes in English to earn Kean degrees.

Union officials on Kean’s New Jersey campus said the job listings raise questions about the academic freedom on the satellite campus. The applications for other non-academic positions on the China campus also ask applicants to list their political affiliation, a question that would be illegal on an American job application.

“I believe this is an extremely serious issue and that the Senate and Assembly Higher Education and Labor Committees should hold hearings on all expenses and labor practices as related to Wenzhou-Kean,” said Tim Haresign, president of the Council of New Jersey State College Locals.

[...]

 

The hiring on the China campus comes as Kean is preparing to lay off workers on its New Jersey campus, union officials said. University officials notified the local American Federation of Teachers union that they are preparing to eliminate 30 professional staff positions.

“The impending professional staff layoffs will undermine important services for our neediest students even while the university continues to raise the tuition and fees that they are required to pay,” said James Castiglione, a professor and president of the Kean Federation of Teachers, the faculty union.

Kean also recently eliminated more than 50 maintenance worker positions when it outsourced its cleaning work to a private firm that had the option to rehire the workers in non-union jobs.

Kean’s unions have a long history of clashing with Kean President Dawood Farahi and his administration. In recent years, the union has raised questions about error in Farahi’s resume and the university’s purchase of a $219,000 conference table and equipment from a Chinese manufacturer.

Union officials have also questioned the unusual agreement to open the Wenzhou campus, which is largely financed by the Chinese government but has American accreditation because of its ties to Kean in New Jersey.

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Press: Communist Party Membership Preference Advertised for Kean University Jobs in China While University Lays Off More in US

Contact: Steve Young, Executive Director, College Council,  young [@] cnjscl.org, 908-964-8476
James Castiglione, President, Kean Federation of Teachers, james [@] castiglione.ws 908-623-6020

Ed note: For source documents visit: http://ow.ly/PWwcx or http://www.cnjscl.org/wenzhou-kean.html and http://ow.ly/PWvwF

University’s China Job Applications Also Appear to Violate U.S. Employment & N.J. Anti-Discrimination Laws

UNION, NJ — At least two of the 30 staff job postings on Kean University’s Wenzhou website include a preference for Chinese Communist Party members. It is advertising to fill thirty professional staff positions and multiple faculty positions at its campus in Wenzhou, China. At the same time, Kean University has informed the AFT local in Union, NJ that it is actively planning up to 30 additional professional staff layoffs in addition to the twelve it imposed over four years ago.

“Membership in the Chinese Communist Party is preferred” for the Specialist for Residence Life and Specialist for Student Conduct positions. These positions involve close, daily contact with students. For example, the Specialist for Student Conduct would, according to the job posting, manage the student code of conduct and violation process as well as “student profiles and archives.”

Applicants for non-faculty openings at Wenzhou-Kean are also required to complete and submit the University’s application form. The form asks for the prospective employee’s photo, gender, birth date, nationality, birth place, marital status, height and politics status.

Such hiring practices and criteria could be found illegal and discriminatory in the United States under Federal and State civil rights statutes. They also raise serious concerns about the existence of academic freedom at Wenzhou.

Other U.S. based universities with campuses and academic partnerships in China seemingly do not prefer Communist Party membership in employment nor do they request information about an applicant’s personal information or political status. See for example recent job announcements for New York University’s Shanghai campus and Kansas’ Fort Hays State University China partnerships.

Council of NJ State College Locals president Tim Haresign said, “I believe this is an extremely serious issue and that the Senate and Assembly Higher Education and Labor Committees should hold hearings on all expenses and labor practices as related to Wenzhou Kean.”

All of this comes on the heels of Kean University’s April 2015 layoff off of 54 longstanding maintenance employees whose work was subcontracted to a private non-union employer. Kean Federation of Teachers (KFT) president James Castiglione said, “The impending professional staff layoffs will undermine important services for our neediest students even while the University continues to raise the tuition and fees that they are required to pay.”

The administration at Kean University under the leadership of President Dawood Farahi is no stranger to controversy. Farahi’s administration has been scarred by scandals surrounding the validity of the President’s own academic credentials, the near loss of the school’s Middle States accreditation, NCAA membership probation and the questionable use of public funds to purchase a $219,000 conference table from a manufacturer in Shanghai, China.

[END]

The Council of New Jersey State College Locals, American Federation of Teachers/AFL-CIO, is comprised of 11 AFT union locals and represents nearly 10,000 faculty and professional staff members at nine public state colleges & universities throughout New Jersey (Kean University, Montclair State University, New Jersey City University, Rowan University, William Paterson University, The College of New Jersey, Ramapo College of New Jersey, Stockton University and Thomas Edison State College).

Quota for In-Staters

By Elizabeth Redden

In pitching a new B.A. in architecture program to a state oversight body for approval, Kean University made an unusual promise — that it would limit the number of in-state students to 25 each year. The rest are to be recruited nationally and internationally — the program has links to China — so as to minimize competition with other New Jersey institutions.

The fact that Kean, a public university in New Jersey, is starting a new academic program with a cap on in-state residents was first reported Sunday by the Bergen County Record.

“We are a state university for the state of New Jersey,” said James A. Castiglione, an associate professor of physics and president of the Kean Federation of Teachers. “Our mandate, our mission is to provide an affordable education for the children of the citizens of New Jersey. That’s what we’re here to do, and to take the state subsidy and the state appropriations meant for that purpose and redirect it elsewhere is utterly at odds with our mission.”

The New Jersey Institute of Technology had initially opposed the introduction of an architecture program at Kean on the grounds that it would be duplicative of its own. NJIT, whose main campus is located less than 10 miles away from Kean’s, has since dropped its opposition and the Kean program gained approval from the Presidents’ Council, which is made up of New Jersey college presidents.

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