Braun: Rutgers dodged bullet in UMDNJ merger; political undertones still loom

Bob Braun/Star-Ledger Columnist

Rutgers University’s two governing boards Monday conditionally endorsed the new law requiring it to take over most of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ). The votes were unanimous, preceded by congratulatory speeches and paeans of gratitude to everyone anyone there could think of and followed by a long rounds applause.

Rah, rah, Rutgers. It survived, for now, a politically driven effort to dismember it and obtained in the process the right to offer medical education that it lost 40 years ago.

But, in all the cheering, there was little talk of the threat the university faced last spring—and the threat higher education still faces from state political leaders who can, without study, without reasons beyond their own political interests, reshape institutions to their own liking.