(Letter to the Editor)
The following letter was submitted to The Tower and is the opinion of its writer. The opinions expressed do not reflect the opinions of The Tower’s editors and writing staff.
By Robert Lerner
I am an alumnus of Kean University. I graduated in January 2014. I was a full-time student throughout my entire undergraduate career. Now, before you go thinking that I was one of the “super seniors” who had to attend Kean extra semesters because of credit insufficiency, please consider an alternative possibility. In reality, I was actually able to graduate a semester early from Kean, thanks in large part to a proper academic program advising, which was the fruit of the labor the man who is scorned throughout the campus community, President of Kean University, Dr. Dawood Farahi.
I have never seen an individual be able to take as many shots and brush them off as well as Dr. Farahi has. To be honest, that is probably the quality about him that I find most admirable, his resilience. But why does this man have the stigma across the campus that he is apathetic to the campus community? I could not tell you one definitive reason, but I could tell you that apathy is one quality that he does not have. I do believe that one attributing factor to this stigma is the lack of truthful information about him, his intentions, or what he has accomplished.
Some say “Dr. Farahi faked his resume” or “He doesn’t care about us, where is our parking deck?” Those issues were raised countless times during my time on campus. But what I ask you, is have you ever actually spoken to the man yourself? Have you gone to Kean Hall to sit down with him? Or, better yet, talk to him when you see him on campus? He is always around, he is not a hidden figure. He is also very approachable, he would probably buy you coffee at Starbucks. We as a campus community are far too quick to believe hearsay and gossip rather than any attempt to fact find on our own.
If one takes the time to talk to Dr. Farahi, or do some independent research, you may find some information that surprises you. You may find out how much better the physical campus is since he has taken office in 2003. (Look at yearbooks from before his administration. You can find them on the library’s website. A lot of dirt paths right?) You may also find how much better the schools services have become. Academic advising, faculty office hours, and a student involvement network that is second-to-none have all been products of his work. A school-wide commitment to community service that has received numerous prestigious awards has become the culture at Kean. (If you don’t believe me, walk up the stairs in the University Center once in a while, you will be shocked.) His accomplishments with the China project alone should create some admiration.
So we come to this issue about a table. I believe the Kean Conference Center in the Green Lane Building will work out, in time, to prove that Kean is becoming a school of a higher level. As an institution, Kean has been advancing, rapidly, because of the vision of Dr. Farahi. If his vision is for the university to have a world-class conference center, then it may be a good idea to get behind him and run with the idea. Is it totally unreasonable to think that a school that is trying to establish its Global Business School and Global MBA program should have such a facility? Students in the athletic training and physical education programs utilize Harwood Arena. Theater students have the opportunity to utilize Wilkins Theater. So why shouldn’t Kean have another world-class facility?
Do not rush to judgment or join the angry mob. Before you grab your pitchfork, talk to the man. I did, it changed my perspective. I am not saying that truth lies somewhere in the middle between one side’s accusations and another side’s defense. What I am saying is to see through biased parties and find answers for yourselves. It’s easy to listen and get mad, but it is right to investigate and think critically.