Contact: Nat T. Bender, firstname.lastname@example.org, 908-377-0393 (c)
Faculty and staff voice support for reintroduction of bi-partisan legislation
EDISON…College and University faculty and staff are calling for passage of legislation to study college affordability for New Jersey students and families. The advocates join State Senate President Steve Sweeney who is reintroducing the measure in today’s Senate Higher Education committee meeting despite the Jan. 13 veto of the same bill by Governor Chris Christie. The bill had unanimous bi-partisan support from both houses of the legislature when the Governor vetoed it.
“With student debt surpassing credit and mortgage debt to become the largest debt for Americans, this issue is too important to neglect and deserves a second hearing,” said American Federation of Teachers New Jersey (AFTNJ) President Donna M. Chiera. “New Jersey has an unfortunate combination of high tuition and limited capacity that makes it the number one state for exporting high school graduates.” AFTNJ is the largest union of higher education workers in the state, representing more than 20,000 full and part-time faculty, graduate student workers and professional and administrative staffers.
Governor Christie vetoed the ten-person commission to study college affordability measures and offer recommendations claiming it would be redundant to the efforts of Secretary of Higher Education Richelle Hendricks. “Unfortunately Secretary Hendricks’ office has released no relevant information nor shown any indication of addressing this major challenge for New Jersey students,” said Chiera. “If the Secretary is addressing this critical problem she should release any details of her efforts and solicit input from student, faculty and staff stakeholders. Otherwise, the Governor should reconsider and sign the legislation creating this commission.”