Four civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault have now been filed against Stockton University and an unauthorized fraternity at the school. Stockton President Harvey Kesselman on Friday published a letter to students in which he wrote, “We are deeply concerned about the victims and committed to being as transparent as possible to keep the Stockton community informed of these serious matters.”
The letter was covered by Vincent Jackson of The Press of Atlantic City, but its Friday publication meant that it might have been skipped over by others. And if you visit the Stockton website (as I just did) the letter is not all that easy to find (it’s not on the President’s page, the homepage, or in the first section of the news page). Stockton is not much used to scrutiny and it has some baffling “transparency” policies (Route 40 was recently just told to file a public records request to access minutes for a public board meeting at the university that took place in May). As a small state school a distance away from a major media market, this might all be fine. But Stockton – and Kesselman – have bigger aspirations. Many more prospective parents and students than before will be watching how the institution proves its commitment to transparency as these lawsuits progress.
NJ High-Schooler Exodus
Speaking of Stockton, the school’s bet on an Atlantic City campus hinges in part around persuading more New Jersey high school students to stay in-state for college. This is a big New Jersey problem: taxpayers here pay more than other states for students in K-12, but many thousands of those students choose out-of-state colleges and continue on to out-of-state jobs, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports (click through for the incredible graphic that shows just how bad the NJ exodus is).
The New Jersey practice of permitting state workers to donate unused leave to co-workers is going to be made law, NJSpotlight reports. There are reasons why this practice should be allowed in extenuating circumstances… But for the New Jersey taxpayers who aren’t public-sector employees, this may read like more evidence of the increasing divide between the state’s haves and have-nots. See this handy state chart (final page) for how federal, state, municipal and private-sector wages diverge (and remember that it does not include benefits such as healthcare or paid leave).
For everything else, see below:
New Man At The Top Overseeing Atlantic City For The State–The state official responsible for the supervision of the city’s government is voluntarily leaving his position next month, and a high-ranking gubernatorial appointee will oversee the continuing takeover.
Timothy Cunningham, director of the Division of Local Government Services at the state Department of Community Affairs, announced he will leave the agency in mid-August. www.pressofatlanticcity.com
Stockton President Addresses Sex Assault Lawsuits–Stockton University President Harvey Kesselman addressed several alleged sexual assaults involving former and current Stockton students with a statement on the university website’s news page.
Four women have filed civil cases this month against Stockton and Pi Kappa Phi, which is not an authorized Greek organization at the university. www.pressofatlanticcity.com
Budget Breakdown: The Big Spending On Education–In the second “Budget Breakdown,” a multipart analysis by NJTV News on New Jersey’s $37.4 billion budget for the 2019 fiscal year, John Reitmeyer, NJ Spotlight’s budget and public finance writer, delves into the spending on education, the biggest item.
Discussing education’s $15 billion allocation with NJTV’s Rhonda Schaffler, Reitmeyer points out that’s more than 40 percent of the total budget, or “...enough money to fully fund a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River, with some money left over to buy some new trains.” www.njspotlight.com
Rule Allowing State Workers To Donate Unused Leave To Coworkers To Be Made Law–State employees can donate unused time off to a co-worker who has exhausted all their own allotted leave in New Jersey under an existing employment regulation, but now lawmakers want to see that longstanding policy become codified as a matter of law.
The state’s donated-leave policy has won praise for fostering an atmosphere of teamwork among government workers since it gives co-workers a way to directly support colleagues who are fighting a significant illness or are caring for a seriously ill family member. www.njspotlight.com
The Babies In NJ Who Start Out With Odds Stacked Against Them–The first few years of a child’s life are critically important to growth and development, and New Jersey’s youngest residents are poorer and face greater challenges than older children, particularly if they are members of a minority race, a new report shows. www.njspotlight.com
Ocean County Attorney Admits Stealing Millions From Elderly Clients–An Ocean County attorney who hosted radio show on elder law has pleaded guilty to stealing millions from elderly clients.
Robert Novy, 66, of Brick, pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree money laundering, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said. breakingac.com
Group Will Focus On Municipal Prosecutors’ Powers In Marijuana-Related Offenses–The state attorney general is looking to a diverse group in setting a directive on the powers of municipal prosecutors when it comes to marijuana-related charges and other offenses.
The 20-member group will represent various aspects of criminal justice including prosecutors, attorneys, police, civil rights organizations and community leaders. breakingac.com
Sports Betting Coming To 2 More Atlantic City Casinos This Week–Two Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment will start taking sports bets this week.
Caesars Entertainment tells The Associated Press its Bally's casino in Atlantic City will start taking sports bets at 11 am Monday. www.nj.com
Family Says Inmate’s Death Was Jail’s Fault. County Says Otherwise–The family of an inmate who died in the Cumberland County Jail on July 4 intends to file a lawsuit involving the circumstances around his death.
The estate of Leroy Frazier Jr. filed a notice of tort claim against Cumberland County, the Cumberland County Jail, warden Richard Smith, correctional officers and medical staff at the facility. www.nj.com
Aldi Is Opening At Least 5 New Stores In NJ This Year. Here’s Where–Discount grocer Aldi is continuing its expansion across New Jersey, both building new stores and enlarging and modernizing old ones.
This year, the grocer has opened a new store in Voorhees, and plans to open more than five additional outlets in the Garden State before the end of 2018. www.nj.com
Why Are So Many High School Students Leaving New Jersey?–Jake Cedar wants to go to a prestigious college and isn’t finding what he’s looking for in his home state of New Jersey.
The rising senior at Haddonfield Memorial High School is more interested in universities outside the Garden State, including Duke in North Carolina, American in Washington, Cornell in New York, Case Western Reserve in Ohio, and closer to home, the University of Pennsylvania. www.philly.com
Affordable Care Act Insurance Rates Up 5.8 Percent In New Jersey–The average requested rate increase for next year’s individual Affordable Care Act insurance plans in New Jersey is 5.8 percent, the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance said Friday.
The requests from four insurers ranged from 0.8 percent for one of AmeriHealth of New Jersey’s plans to 9.8 percent for one offered by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Two insurers, Oscar and Oxford, are not active in southern New Jersey. www.philly.com
They Deliver In Snow, Rain, Heat, And Gloom Of Night. But On This Camden Street, Fleas Have Chased Away The Mail Carriers.–For weeks, residents of one Camden street have had their mail delivered not to their homes, but to boxes at the end of the street. The reason? Fleas. www.philly.com