Ruling against Kean could have widespread implications

By Elana Knopp

UNION COUNTY, NJ — An appellate court has ruled that Kean University failed to provide adequate notice to a professor before deciding not to renew her contract at a public meeting.

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American Federation of Teachers President Donna Chiera said in a statement released to LocalSource on Feb. 15, that the court’s ruling was a wake-up call.
“This ruling is a wake-up call for state college and university managers who think they can ram through opaque decisions affecting the livelihoods of workers who’ve dedicated their lives to serving the public,” Chiera said. “The Sunshine Law serves a righteous purpose — to ensure the decisions taken in public meetings can be scrutinized by the citizens who fund our institutions. The court rightly found that the Kean trustees, by resolving not to renew these contracts without debate or discussion, were in flagrant violation of both the intent and spirit of the law.”

In a statement released to LocalSource on Feb. 15, Castiglione said, “We are pleased that the court has recognized, and put to a stop, Kean University President Dawood Farahi and his administration’s willful flouting of the Sunshine Law, done with the acquiescence of a rubber-stamp majority faction of the Kean board of trustees.”

Castiglione also called on Gov. Chris Christie, and all of the state’s current gubernatorial candidates, to make “effective oversight of New Jersey’s public colleges and universities, and compliance with the text and the values of the Sunshine Law by all public bodies, a priority of a good governance agenda.”

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