Proposal calls for joint governing board for Rutgers-Camden, Rowan; dismantling of UMDNJ

Tara Nurin

Far-reaching legislation was introduced into the New Jersey Senate yesterday to restructure the state’s higher education system, and critics are angry that the bill, framed by sponsors as a compromise, does not take into account most of the concerns that have formed the basis of a six-month controversy among the state’s politicians, educators, unions, students and residents.

The bill, co-sponsored by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and senators Joe Vitale (D-Middlesex) and Donald Norcross (D-Camden), seeks to establish Rutgers-Camden as an independent institution tied to Rowan University by a joint governing board that would oversee the sharing of finances and academic programs between the two South Jersey schools.

In the northern part of the state, University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ (UMDNJ) would be dismantled, with its component parts becoming subsumed by Rutgers, with the exception of Newark’s University Hospital, which would become an independent teaching hospital funded directly by state appropriation. A dedicated new Board of Governors that would be granted the authority to propose its own annual budget, academic programs, degree requirements, capital projects and candidates for tenure would manage Rutgers-Newark.

Andrew Shankman, of the Committee to Save Rutgers-Camden, called the bill “the rankest form of cronyism.”

“We reject out of hand the idea that this is called a compromise in which they’ve listened to anything other than their own desires,” he said. “It is a takeover of our Rutgers campus.”


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