Communist Party Membership Preference is Advertised for
Kean University Positions in China While
University Moves to Lay Off More U.S. Employees
University’s China Job Applications Also Appear to Violate U.S. Employment & N.J. Anti-Discrimination Laws
For source documents, original press release & more visit: ow.ly/PWvwF & ow.ly/PWwcx
July 22, 2015
UNION, NJ — At least two of the thirty staff job postings on Kean University’s Wenzhou website include a preference for Chinese Communist Party members. It is advertising to fill thirty professional staff positions and multiple faculty positions at its campus in Wenzhou, China. At the same time, Kean University has informed the AFT local on campus that it is actively planning up to thirty additional professional staff layoffs in addition to the twelve it imposed over four years ago.
Job Announcements Indicate Preference for Communist Party Members
“Membership in the Chinese Communist Party is preferred” for the Specialist for Residence Life and Specialist for Student Conduct positions. These positions involve close, daily contact with students. For example, the Specialist for Student Conduct would, according to the job posting, manage the student code of conduct and violation process as well as “student profiles and archives.”
Above: Two job descriptions as taken from Kean's Wenzhou campus website announcing staff job openings
Job Applications Appear Illegal, Discriminatory
Applicants for non-faculty openings at Wenzhou-Kean are also required to complete and submit the University’s application form. The form asks for the prospective employee’s photo, gender, birth date, nationality, birth place, marital status, height and politics status. Such hiring practices and criteria could be found illegal and discriminatory in the United States under Federal and State civil rights statutes. They also raise serious concerns about the existence of academic freedom at Wenzhou.
Above: Kean's Wenzhou campus staff application form with potentially illegal requests for applicant information
Other U.S. based universities with campuses and academic partnerships in China seemingly do not prefer Communist Party membership in employment nor do they request information about an applicant’s personal information or political status. See for example recent job announcements for New York University’s Shanghai campus and Kansas’ Fort Hays State University China partnerships.
Union Leaders Call for Hearings on Oversight, Defend Student Services
Council of NJ State College Locals President Tim Haresign stated “I believe this is an extremely serious issue and that the Senate and Assembly Higher Education and Labor Committees should hold hearings on all expenses and labor practices as related to Wenzhou Kean.”
All of this comes on the heels of Kean University’s April 2015 layoff off of 54 longstanding maintenance employees whose work was subcontracted to a private non-union employer. Kean Federation of Teachers (KFT) President James Castiglione commented that “The impending professional staff layoffs will undermine important services for our neediest students even while the University continues to raise the tuition and fees that they are required to pay.”
The administration at Kean University, under the leadership of President Dawood Farahi, is no stranger to controversy. Farahi’s administration has been scarred by scandals surrounding the validity of the President’s own academic credentials, the near loss of the school’s Middle States accreditation, NCAA membership probation and the questionable use of public funds to purchase a $219,000 conference table from a manufacturer in Shanghai, China.
Left: The flag of the People's Republic of China flies prominently in this photo posted on Kean's website on Veterans' Day 2013