By Angela Delli Santi, Associated Press.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s governor and Rutgers University’s president believe a higher education merger can be completed on time, though nearly 2,000 items are still on the to-do list as the July 1 deadline approaches.
Gov. Chris Christie said he’s confident Rutgers President Robert Barchi can complete the deal, which breaks up the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and gives most of it, including a coveted medical school, to Rutgers. The deal also links Rutgers-Camden with Rowan University for new academic collaborations but does not merge the two South Jersey schools.
Christie pushed for the deal, and Barchi was brought on board to make it happen after a law was signed last year to allow the restructuring. The president has been sidetracked lately, however, by a basketball coaching scandal that cost several university officials their jobs after ESPN aired video showing ex-coach Mike Rice verbally and physically abusing players.
“This is an important thing to me as you all know, so I’m going to make sure everything that needs to get done from the state’s perspective is done … because I think it will make Rutgers a significantly better institution,” Christie said Friday of the merger.
Barchi told an Assembly budget panel last week he sees “a clear line of sight” to the deadline and guaranteed it would be met.
It was evident from his testimony, however, that significant obstacles remain.
For one, he said, more than half of the 4,000-plus issues associated with the merger had been dealt with, which means some number approaching 2,000 remain unresolved.