Vito Corleone speaks to other leaders at emergency meeting of the Five Families. “How did things ever get so far?” Hollywood Movie “The Godfather”, 1972
Stockton University, like all institutions and organizations, has a natural tendency to become rotten and corrupt over time. The Bible describes this in its stories of Kings of Judah and Israel like Saul, David, and Ahab. In 1911, German sociologist Robert Michels (Political Parties) explained in detail how and why this happens. Large organizations need leaders and administrators to carry out their mission. However, over time, most of those institutions and organizations become run by people who put their personal careers and ambitions above that mission and the best interests of most other members. Eventually, those institutions and organization become so misused by the people running them that they fail or collapse. Stockton was created in 1971, and it took about thirty years for this to happen there.
Many other well-known scholars reached similar conclusions. They include Lord Acton (Power Corrupts), Vilfredo Pareto (Political Economy), and Milovan Djilas (The New Ruling Class). Unfortunately, it appears that none of these authors or their works are taught at Stockton today.
There are two main ways institutions and organizations can overcome this tendency and survive. One is where their leaders maintain a constitution, charter, or policies that guarantee open discussion, criticism, and accountability within the organization. They make it easy to remove and replace leaders or administrators who fail to achieve their missions or abuse their power. Another is where institutions and organizations have to compete for consumers (such as students and their families) in a free and open market. Unfortunately, most colleges in America today, like Stockton, are run by a nationwide mafia of highly paid and powerful administrators, unions, and politicians who do not permit either.
Unlike unions for employees in privately owned companies, public employee unions control both sides of the bargaining table. On one side, union representatives demand bigger salaries, benefits, and pensions for the employees they represent. They usually get most of what they want, because a big chunk of union resources are used to elect the elected officials who sit on the other side of the bargaining table.
Last year, Stockton’s President Harvey Kesselman had yearly salary of $320,850, an additional $48,000 “housing allowance”, the use of a car, $50,000 per year in deferred compensation, and a one year paid “sabbatical” vacation. That contract expired in June 2019, and he is almost certainly making more today.
Current 2020 AFT (American Federation of Teachers) Union Salary Scale for Stockton University Professors And Other Instructors. These salaries appear to be far higher than what is earned by the parents of Stockton students and are sustained only by many students and their families taking on mortgage sized student loans. They also seemed to be based on seniority, rather than performance. Because there are dozens of applicants for every job opening, and few opportunities to earn these salaries elsewhere, few professors would risk jeopardize his or her career by doing or saying anything that would offend a student, colleague, or administrator.
Stockton’s professors and staff are members of two of the biggest, richest, and most politically powerful labor unions in America, the AFT and the CWA. As a result, they have far better salaries, benefits, pensions, and job security than the parents of most students. These are completely unsustainable and have been paid by completely unsustainable borrowing by students, parents, and taxpayers.
Stockton officials said they were looking for a “wow” factor when they spent $65 million on this new student center in 2011. Rather than plant new trees around the building, mature trees were trucked in from Cumberland County at a cost of $900,000.
To make things worse, Stockton, has borrowed even more money to pursue unsustainable expansion. In 2008-2009, Stockton borrowed $225 million. This was spent on a luxury $65 million college center building, $39.5 million for a new science building, $49 million for new dorms to house 380 students ($139,000 per student), $36 million to buy and renovate a nearby hotel and golf course (later sold for a loss), and millions more for projects all over South Jersey that did little or nothing to benefit students. A few years later, Stockton borrowed more to build a second science center for $33.2 million, more classrooms for $15.2 million and plush new offices for top administrators. In 2018, Stockton borrowed roughly $176 million to build a new campus in Atlantic City. To pay these debts, Stockton must attract more students, paying higher tuitions, funded by more debt.
In short, Stockton is part of a new student loan bubble that is very similar to the junk mortgage bubble that caused the world-wide financial collapse of 2008.
All this is very bad for students, their families, and the country. However, this is very good for Stockton’s administrators, employees, and unions.
It is also good for New Jersey’s pay-to-play politicians. Stockton’s massive borrowing and spending puts huge amounts of money into their biggest campaign donors. This includes Wall Street banks, consultants, and other insiders who package and sell the loans. This also includes politically connected architects, engineers, and lobbyists who design and market the projects. And the big contractors and unions who build them.
Stockton’s “political engagement” does more than advance a hate-America, hate-Israel “woke” political agenda. By helping powerful Democrats get elected and re-elected, Stockton administrators and professors also buy themselves protection from being held accountable for their excessive salaries and spending, mismanagement, favoritism, bias, and other abuse.
Stockton University helps Democrat Governor Murphy and his majority in the Legislature in many other ways. Its “political engagement” of indoctrinated students and other programs give them votes, volunteers, and research, including free public opinion polls. It gives them fake symposiums and awards ceremonies to give them good publicity. And of course, it ruthlessly eliminates or silences any faculty member, staff, or student who opposes them. I saw that several years ago when the Democratic Club invited me to give a non-political, historical presentation at a routine event. Two days before the event, the administration was informed that LibertyAndProsperity.com opposed a ballot question to approve the borrowing of more money for state colleges. The student leaders who invited me were warned that it was “not in their best interest” to invite me, and they promptly cancelled the event.
What can we do?
First: Recognize that Stockton University is a big problem. We need to speak out about it. We need to share messages like this by clicking social media icons below, and using these facts to compose and submit your own letters to the editor of local print and online newspapers.
Second: Stop paying to send our children and grandchildren there. If they have no choice, we must help them minimize their time there by using community colleges for the first two years. Then help them carefully choose and schedule courses that guarantee graduation within two years.
Third: Support candidates willing and able to choke off the massive amounts of federal and state tax dollars that are feeding colleges like Stockton. Demand that they end student loan and aid programs that enable Stockton’s outrageously high tuitions and fees.
Fourth: Demand changes in laws and policies on hiring by state, county, and local governments, libraries, and other institutions. Let them hire qualified people without college degrees, if those degrees have nothing to do with job performance.
Fifth: Let colleges like Stockton with unsustainable debts and expenses fail, and be replaced by new institutions.
The sooner we act, the better. The longer we delay, the worse things will get.
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