Christie must remove Kean University’s President Dawood Farahi

Saturday, 18 February 2012 16:32
pizzurosal073111_optBY SALVATORE PIZZURO

Academic integrity is a hallmark of the credibility of any university. The standards for academic achievement and scholarly research must be universally expected of all faculty and top tier administrators. An institute of higher learning cannot expect to impart solid academic standards among students unless those who educate them lead by example.

This is one of the reasons why colleges and universities have zero tolerance for plagiarism, for example. There must be integrity in the papers and studies that college personnel present to the public. Simply, one cannot lead by edict; one can only lead by example.

This concept is one of the reasons why the recent and current events at Kean University are so disheartening for New Jersey and all of academia. The University is not leading by example and, as a consequence, all New Jersey higher education has taken a backward step that places our academic and administrative integrity in jeopardy. We cannot expect to be respected by other states unless we can clean our own house.

Furthermore, the value of an education from a New Jersey institution has been devalued.

Kean University President Dawood Farahi was accused of, and admitted, misrepresenting himself and his academic record when he applied for the position in 2003.

He claimed that he had authored publications that never existed. The academic research journals that he claimed published his work have reported that the “so-called” research articles never existed. Farahi claims that the confusion was the result of clerical errors by his office staff. Based on this excuse, one would have to assume that typographical errors led to phantom research studies suddenly being created implanted in his curriculum vitae. In addition, one would also have to hold him blameless for not proof reading his own portfolio.


Actually, the Kean University Board of Trustees did not hold him blameless. They cited the lack of accuracy in Farahi’s dossier. However, the Trustees also voted, by a slim margin, to allow Farahi to continue as the President of the University. Perhaps most troubling, the same lack of accuracy and integrity would not be tolerated by a student or faculty member. In all probability, the student would be expelled from the University and the faculty member’s employment would be terminated. To do otherwise would place the University’s academic reputation permanently at stake.

This past week, the students at Kean University protested the action of the Trustees with a controlled demonstration on campus. The faculty has gone on record months ago, demanding Farahis’s resignation. Now, we have a University President who has neither the support of the faculty nor the students. It is obviously time for the Governor to step in and remove Farahi from this highly paid public job. The taxpayers are spending nearly three hundred thousand dollars per year for a fraudulent administrator who has betrayed all of New Jersey.

During this time of fiscal restraint, we cannot afford to waste taxpayer dollars on such a fiasco.

Dr. Salvatore Pizzuro, a Disability Policy Specialist, holds a doctorate in Developmental Disabilities from Columbia University and an advanced degree in Disability Law from New York Law School.


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Comments (7)
7 Friday, 07 September 2012 08:35
Kean University is a great school with a bunch of hard working dedicated professors. The University should not fall because of one single person. People make mistakes. Learn to Forgive,Forget and MOVE ON.
6 Sunday, 13 May 2012 17:28
Thomas More
As reported by the WSJ today, the president/CEO of YAHOO was fired by the YAHOO board within a week of the disclosure of the top manager's academic fraud.

Perhaps the Kean University Board of Trustees should look to the private sector for guidance in matters of integrity.
5 Monday, 27 February 2012 19:48
Thomas More
In examining the Trustees' behavior I have this question:

Is the Board Chair this same Ada Morell ?

If so, Ada Morell co-owns AM Title with US Rep Albio Sires, who happens to be paying Ms. Morell (his business partner) as a congressional staffer, using Federal funds.

The Board Chair must find it difficult to keep everything straight with such varied responsibilities. Perhaps dissenting board members would want to avoid being tainted by behavior that might remotely be interpreted as unethical.
4 Monday, 27 February 2012 18:39
Dr. Eric W.A. Boehm
In my fifth year at Kean, as an assistant professor of micobiology, I was denied tenure by this very man. I had 17 peer-reviews publications, three of which were done wholly at Kean. In top journals w/ high citation indices. My website documents my student research program at Kean. I served as PI and was awarded a $300,000 federal grant by the NSF which went to Kean. I had outstanding student and peer teaching evaluations. I had the full support of the KFT teachers union. My crime? I strongly disagreed w/ the President regarding the break up of the biology department. I had 126 students write to the president on my behalf. I remember well Farahi's reaction to these letters of support. Farahi said they counted for nothing because they came from "little people". This man is a disgrace to the acdemic community and should be sacked immediately. He is highly vindictive, rude, and a fraud in the deepest sense. The Board should also be dismissed, as clearly they do not have the interests of the students at heart. Let us remember that Farahi tecieved an %83 vote of no confidence by the faculty in 2010. Kean has become the laughing stock of NJ public education, as a result of the reckless actions taken by this man. Shame!
3 Thursday, 23 February 2012 01:19
Don B. Naive
Christie has no interest and no power to intervene in Lesniak's district. Further, Christie has no legal standing to override decisions of the inside board at Kean. Tom Kean Jr. has no power in Lesniak's district (Kean Jr. is a business partner of Lesniak's) or at Kean despite the fact the Kean family name adorns the university. Stop knocking on wood.
2 Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:51
hey the guy could be a murderer, but as long as he imporved the college over the years he is perfectly acceptable as a New Jersey Leader. Makes perfect sense in the state we are in.
1 Tuesday, 21 February 2012 17:12
Governor Christie, in a recent taped TV interview, justified his veto of the NJ legislature's approval of a same-sex marriage bill by stating that he "would never compromise principle for politics."

Christie's silence on the documented fraud involving Kean's Farahi, however, and his likely inaction now that the Board of Trustees has called for getting on with business--a position echoed in a Star Ledger editorial--could have everything to do with compromising principle for politics.

Dismissing Farahi would discredit the most publicize implementation of Chistie's animus toward teachers and unions at the level of higher education in NJ. Farahi's open contempt for his faculty and his dismissive attitude toward the demands of teaching and scholarship make him a poster president for Chistie's demagogic scapegoating approach to education reform.
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