On April 25 my colleagues and I participated in a statewide coordinated “Day of Action” to protest draconian proposals from the Governor’s Office of Employment Relations, which would significantly weaken teaching and learning conditions in New Jersey’s institutions of higher education. The governor’s office has taken the unprecedented action of withholding cost of living increases and suspending traditional academic programs such as sabbatical leave and career development undermining the research missions at the nine state colleges and universities and further challenging a system of higher education already seriously impacted by years of underfunding and neglect from the state.

Much to my dismay the NJTV coverage of that event in a segment titled, “Professors protest at New Jersey’s universities” the next day offered no voices from the thousands of, faculty, professional staff, librarians and students who participated in the demonstrations across the state. It should be noted here that it was not simply a faculty protest as presented, but one where faculty, professional staff and librarians who have been working without a contract since July 1 stood side by side with students and spoke with one voice standing up for higher education funding and against the rising tuition and mounting student debt. However, instead of a balanced and factual report on NJTV, there was a five-minute interview with the President of William Paterson University who briefly presented only one side of the issue.

I urge your readers to instead listen to the voices of labor on our web site at http://www.aftlocal1904.org and at the Council of New Jersey State College Local’s website http://www.cnjscl.org and see that the students, faculty, librarians, and professional staff at the nine state colleges and universities have legitimate concerns about how the state is treating our latest round of contract negotiations. The future quality of higher education in New Jersey rests in the balance.

NJTV replaced the public NJN news last year, profiting from taxpayer Corporation for Public Broadcasting funding in a deal that was fraught with political overtones. The parent company, WNET, leases space at Montclair State University for their broadcasts. Even though it may be beholden to the Office of the Governor for the sweetheart deal that created it, NJTV has an obligation to cover New Jersey fairly and should tell both sides of the story.

Richard Wolfson
AFT Local 1904

from http://www.mycentraljersey.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012305100007&nclick_check=1

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