Is the “Move Forward” slate running for the Board of Education committed to academic integrity and to keeping the school system free from political interference? The experience with candidate Ms. Felice Vazquez at Kean University raises concerns that they are not.
Hoboken needs to know the damage caused to Kean University by the actions of Ms. Vazquez’s patron, Kean University’s President Dawood Farahi, so that we prevent it from happening here:
Farahi was found to have allegedly lied about dozens of his academic credentials on eight different resumes over a 30-year period yet he was not fired by the Board of Trustees. For example, despite allegedly claiming “Over 50 technical articles in major publications” we find zero articles in peer-reviewed publications. [see: http://kft2187.org/farahi/]
The NCAA placed Kean – a Division III school – on probation for four years for five major rules violations, including the dreaded lack of institutional control. The Farahi administration was allegedly illicitly giving academic scholarships to athletes and changing athletes’ grades to keep them eligible for “big” games. [see www.ncaa.org and search on ‘Kean’]
The Middle States accrediting agency placed Kean’s accreditation on probation for failing four of their 14 standards of excellence including Standard 6: Integrity. [see www.msche.org and click on ‘Institutions’ to search for Kean]
Farahi hired Ms. Vazquez to a newly created position – Special Counsel in the Office of the President – to help him cling to power, in my opinion. She attempted to quash a Kean Faculty Senate Vote of No Confidence on Farahi, but was ruled out of order. The vote was 83 percent No Confidence.
According to her Linked In page, Ms. Vazquez received her M.A. from Farahi’s program. Did she learn about academic integrity under Farahi’s tutelage? Will she bring his corrupt standards and his poisonous leadership style to Hoboken’s Board of Education?
Moreover, Ms. Vazquez is formerly an associate attorney at WeinerLesniak, the law firm of powerful State Senator Ray Lesniak, also a close friend and supporter of Farahi. Evidence of political interference by Senator Lesniak at Kean University has been mounting. [see www.unionnewsdaily.com and search on ‘Lesniak’] Is Ms. Vazquez’s candidacy an attempt by Senator Lesniak to exert similar influence in Hudson County?
Cronyism, political interference, resume fraud, NCAA violations and accreditation crises have no place in the Hoboken school system. Given the above, can we trust “Move Forward” to oversee the education of our children with integrity?
While faculty, like myself, will continue to serve as guardians of institutional integrity at Kean, it is the voters in Hoboken who must protect the integrity of our public schools.
James A. Castiglione, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics
President, Kean Federation of Teachers