Plan to merge Rutgers-Camden and Rowan faces criticism and complaints

Written by BARBARA ROTHSCHILD and KEVIN C. SHELLY

FORUMS SET: Rutgers-Camden is to host two forums for discussion of a proposed merger into Rowan University of Glassboro. The hourlong sessions will be held Thursday, Feb. 2, at 12:20 p.m. in the 401 Penn classroom and Monday, Feb. 6, at 5 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room on the main level of the Campus Center.

CAMDEN — Jeremy Abay could have studied law at Penn, Temple or Seton Hall.
New campus buildings, including the Whitney Center, are part of Rowan University's expansion. / AL SCHELL/Courier-Post
New campus buildings, including the Whitney Center, are part of Rowan University's expansion. / AL SCHELL/Courier-Post

Instead, the Haddon Township resident chose Rutgers School of Law in Camden.

“If it was Rowan Law School, I wouldn’t be here,” Abay said Wednesday after Gov. Chris Christie unveiled a plan to merge Rutgers-Camden into Glassboro-based Rowan University.

Advocates say the reorganization will provide more and better educational choices for local students, and will spur economic growth in South Jersey. But students and teachers at both schools reacted with criticism and concern over the creation of a single school called Rowan University.

“They won’t be able to attract the quality of staff they already have,” said Abay, who asserted the Rutgers name carries a cachet that Rowan can’t match.

In Glassboro, Rowan senior Raymond Davidson expressed concern over the school’s potential transformation into a research university.

“I do think research is important, but the quality of education would drop,” said Davidson, 25, a philosophy and religion major from Franklinville. “Graduate students would start teaching classes. Now, we get to study with people who are already experts in their field,” he said.

“Money going to this merger should be going to academic programs. If this is where the state is going with its dwindling funding for higher education, New Jersey has a terrible idea of what education is all about,” Davidson said.

Freshman Matt O’Brien, 18, a marketing major from Mount Laurel, said many students came to Rowan “for a small student population and close interaction with teachers. I don’t think students would appreciate having the school double in size.”

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