Kean University President Survives a Crucible of Controversies

Tim Goral's picture

Kean University has spent much of the past year dogged by controversy.

Yet its veteran president, Dawood Farahi, has not only weathered the storms, but gotten the strong backing of his board of trustees.

Last April, for example, all 13 of the university’s NCAA Division III athletic teams were put on probation for four years after disclosures that academic classes were invented and grades were fudged to benefit basketball players.

Three months later, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Kean’s accrediting agency, put the school on probation for numerous violations of academic and ethical rules. If Kean failed to make changes, it could have lost its accreditation and been forced to shut down.

The accreditation crisis contributed to Kean canceling hundreds of classes this semester after enrollment numbers plummeted nearly 7 percent. Overall enrollment dropped to 14,096 this semester, with nearly 1,000 fewer students registering for spring classes, according to campus records.

Farahi was also the focus of a faculty-sparked investigation by Kean’s board of trustees over charges he seriously misrepresented his academic credentials on his résumé — mistakes he attributed to unnamed members of his staff.

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