Lack of solid financial data continues to haunt process, leaving stakeholders to resort to best guesses

By Tara Nurin

One day before a scheduled vote in the New Jersey Senate on a controversial higher education restructuring plan, Rutgers University’s boards of trustees and governors continued to strategize on ways to persuade the plan’s authors to drop provisions they say are untenable.

Representatives from a negotiating team comprising five trustees and governors briefed their colleagues separately yesterday during closed sessions of the respective boards’ annual meetings. A governor who did not wish to be identified told NJ Spotlight, “We swapped views of where we stand and what we know. People have widely different views. It was more like a preliminary meeting because [this legislation] has changed so quickly . . . and there’s not a lot of information about consequences.”
Neither board addressed the controversial legislation to restructure higher education in New Jersey in open session of the meetings, though the issue was forced to light when a group of approximately 20 students from all three Rutgers campuses and Rowan University loudly interrupted the governors’ meeting. Led by New Brunswick sophomore and student union member Marios Athanasiou, the group chanted a list of complaints and demands that included a call for more transparency and student participation and a request for the boards to be more forthcoming about their strategies for negotiating with politicians and setting tuition rates.


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