Yesterday, Union County Republican Chairman Phil Morin faxed a letter to the president and the communications head of Union County College to ask why they were making an exception to their own policy in order to host Bill Clinton’s rally for Democratic Congressional candidate Linda Stender tomorrow.
So far, he has not heard back from either of them.
So today, Morin fired off an email, this time to Trustee Edward J. Hobbie, complaining that the college’s staff was avoiding him.
“In your capacity as a member of the Board of Trustees and vice chair of the Board of Governors of the College, I am requesting that you inquire why they are ducking me and the media on this issue and why they are allowing partisan political activity on campus when the facility use rules and regulations specifically prohibit it,” wrote Morin (Hobbie’s brother Mark responded immediately to Morin, saying that he would try to reach Edward).
Morin said that he requested use of the college’s facilities in 2006 for a Union County Republican event, but after waiting several days for a response was turned down because it was deemed to be partisan political activity. Morin said that an official, whose name he could not remember, turned him down verbally.
The college’s Facility Use Guidelines state that “in no case shall external use of College facilities be granted for an event or other activity which promotes partisan political activities or candidates to the exclusion of their opponents. This prohibition shall not preclude the use of College facilities for open public debate of political issues.”
There is, however, a caveat:
“Any exceptions to or deviations from this policy or any other policy regulating the use of facilities must be approved by the President or his/her designee.”
Nevertheless, Morin said that the words “in no case” are very strong, and that if the school is going to make an exception, then they should change their policy altogether. Moreover, Morin said, if the school is going to use that exception, they should have at least answered his initial letter.
“To me it’s an admission of guilt that they did not respond,” he said. “They’ll get plenty of requests in 2009 for Union County Republican political events.”
Stender spokeswoman Irene Lin said that school officials told her that they responded to Morin via regular mail. But college President Thomas H. Brown did not return PolitickerNJ.com’s calls requesting comment made both yesterday and today. Marketing and Communications Executive Director Georgia Hartnett could not be reached for comment either.