NJ Office of Administrative Law Hearing on the School Ethics Complaint against Piscataway Board of Education Vice President Nitang Patel. The complaint was filed by Piscataway resident and local leader Dr. Atif Nazir, a well-known and respected member of the Muslim community. Dr. Nazir was the only person named in a 2019 flyer as the leader of a “radical group trying to take over the town government.” It was signed by three South Asian officials, including Mr. Patel who was identified alongside “Board of Education.” The flyer was paid for by the Election Fund of State Senator Bob Smith. It was translated into Gujarati and distributed to Hindu homes in Piscataway, NJ in Gujarati neighborhoods. The recipients of the flyer originate from the Gujarat state of India, which is on the border of Pakistan. The flyer was distributed in an apparent effort to enflame historic and contemporary divisions between Hindu and Muslim voters during a contested Democratic primary in Piscataway, NJ. Dr. Nazir’s complaint alleges Mr. Patel violated multiple provisions of the School Ethics Act, N.J.S.A. 18A:12-21 et seq., which is intended to ensure that the conduct of school officials holds the respect and confidence of the people.
Dr. Nazir, Piscataway youth, and other witnesses will be called to testify. Mr. Patel is expected to appear. A non-binding subpoena was issued to Senator Smith, requesting that he provide testimony. Dr. Nazir was not a candidate in the 2019 election when the flyer was circulated, but had previously served on the Board of Education. The flyer was condemned as a “dog-whistle” by the Star Ledger Editorial Board. Nearly 400 people signed a petition demanding an apology to Dr. Nazir and a full and equal retraction by all parties. Dr. Nazir’s legal action is being supported by Council on American-Islamic Relations, NJ (CAIR-NJ) and the Central Jersey Progressive Democrats. Counsel for Dr. Nazir are Nina Rossi, Esq. of CAIR-NJ and Yael Bromberg, Esq. of Bromberg Law LLC.
9 AM, Monday, November 30, 2020.
OAL Hearing conducted via Zoom
Zoom Meeting https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86493557666?pwd=dExwSjFhRjhCNHdzU1BZZFlYZUlrdz09
Meeting ID: 864 9355 7666
Dial by Location +1 646 558 8656 US (New York)