Honesty is a virtue in every occupation, but it is the life blood of education. As a longtime college professor and former dean, I know that there is nothing more poisonous to an academic institution than condoning deliberate misrepresentation of the truth. This is why university honesty codes for teaching, learning, and publication are so strict. At a time when the internet has made plagiarism easier than ever before, firm and credible leadership is needed enforce unequivocal standards for academic integrity. But what is to be done when the president of a university is suspected of flagrant dishonesty?
Recently, scholars and journalists have raised serious questions about Dawood Farahi, president of Kean University. He is alleged to have made false claims about his own academic credentials and publications. (See, for example, “Investigation of Kean president the best way to settle dispute,” Star Ledger, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012.) This issue should not be left to fester. I call on Sen. Sandra B. Cunningham, chair of the New Jersey Senate Committee on Higher Education, to investigate these allegations. If President Farahi is not guilty he deserves to be publicly exonerated, if he is guilty he deserves to be removed from office.