An independent assessment made for the union representing the faculty and professional staff at New Jersey City University in Jersey City is raising concerns over recent recommendations made by the fiscal monitor appointed by the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, saying it “lacks financial and strategic details.”

According to a press release on Thursday from AFT Local 1839, an independent assessment conducted by Resolution Economics reveals several problems.  The review states, “The monitor’s report, released in March, offers fiscal recommendations seemingly advantageous to NJCU’s financial future, but…unveils critical oversights.”

These oversights include:

• An unrealistic consolidation proposal: The monitor’s suggestion for NJCU to merge with a larger institution overlooks the financial standing of potential partners, raising doubts about the feasibility of relieving NJCU’s debt burden.

• Real estate monetization complexities: While the proposal to monetize NJCU’s real estate assets appears promising, the monitor disregards the intricate nature of NJCU’s property arrangements, potentially hindering successful execution and revenue generation and does not include any valuation of the real estate assets.

• Capital investments without enrollment assurance: The recommendation for strategic capital investments lacks a guarantee of bolstered enrollment, raising doubts about its efficacy in addressing NJCU’s financial challenges.

• Overlooking market dynamics: The recommendations fail to account for shifts in Jersey City’s socioeconomic and demographic landscape, neglecting the realities of the target market’s evolving needs and preferences.

William Calathes, the Grievance Chairman and Chief Negotiator for AFT Local 1839, stated, “Any proposal to potentially merge NJCU with another institution must carefully consider the unique relationship that NJCU has cultivated with its students, families, and urban community over the years. While collaboration and partnerships can bring about positive change, it is essential to preserve the autonomy and identity of NJCU to continue serving its constituents effectively.”

AFT Local 1839 wants the state-appointed monitor to reevaluate its findings.   It wants the monitor to consider adjustments or further analysis to ensure recommendations align with the best interests of NJCU’s students.