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College and University Governance: Union County College

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This report describes severe departures from generally accepted standards of academic governance at Union County College in Cranford, New Jersey. The report was written by former AAUP president Robert A. Gorman, an emeritus professor of labor law at the University of Pennsylvania. Acting on behalf of the AAUP in response to faculty complaints of governance and academic freedom violations, Gorman sought to meet with representatives of the faculty, administration, and governing boards, to mediate between them, and to report on the situation. President Margaret M. McMenamin, however, declined to meet with Gorman, as did the chairs of the college’s two governing boards.

The report details how McMenamin sharply diminished the role and influence of the faculty in the college’s governance system. Though governance is not a mandatory subject of collective bargaining under New Jersey law, administrations of other public New Jersey institutions of higher education voluntarily agree to include provisions on faculty governance in the collective bargaining agreement or in the faculty handbook. In contrast, the McMenamin administration petitioned the state’s Public Employment Relations Commission in a successful effort to remove all such provisions from the collective bargaining agreement and halt the long-standing practices they supported.