McCormick’s speech was repeatedly interrupted by heckles from members of Rutgers’ faculty and staff unions protesting a pay freeze. Union members stood in the rear of the packed room holding “Pay what you owe” signs.

Union leaders said Rutgers officials violated employee contracts when the university canceled their raises and froze their pay in June 2010 due to budget problems. McCormick said the two sides are in arbitration and he believes the pay dispute will be settled soon.

“I fervently hope to do so this year,” McCormick said.

Students and union members repeatedly questioned the president about the pay freeze during the question-and-answer period after his speech.

“Stop starving my people. They are below the poverty line,” said Mike Holland, a member of the union representing maintenance workers and other laborers on campus.


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