By Dierdre Glenn Paul
(A response to “It’s Time To Grant State Colleges The Same Authority As Other Public Colleges & Universities”)
With the state of New Jersey in dire financial straits, New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities’ CEO Darryl Greer seeks to capitalize on an opportunity to decimate collective bargaining.
Greer suggests that New Jersey’s higher education fiscal woes are inextricably linked to labor costs. Grabbing a page from Gov. Christie’s playbook, Greer would rather make higher education unions the public piñata than truthfully identify the real culprits–competing presidents amassing alarming debt for massive expansion campaigns of new buildings and satellite campuses around the globe in the hope of replacing Rutgers as the premier state university.
The nine state colleges and universities represented by Mr. Greer are in poor fiscal health because they have failed to retain their distinctive missions of providing an affordably excellent education to first generation college students and working-class New Jersey citizens.
This association that should be working to find common ground with all stakeholders and planning a viable strategic plan for higher education has instead revealed for all to see that they have no plan. Like Wall Street, they have opted to rely on the government for a bailout that will forgive years of imprudent fiscal decisions made at New Jersey taxpayers’ expense.
Unlike Greer’s management association, the American Federation of Teachers Higher Education division is working in collaboration with the Association of American University Professors to develop initiatives that will benefit students, educators and New Jersey’s working families. These reforms are not dependent upon Gov. Christie’s odd brew of flawed logic and vindictiveness that resulted in the Race to the Top debacle and, most recently, pulling the plug on the federally funded ARC tunnel project.