Written by Gene Racz.
NEW BRUNSWICK — The message to state lawmakers from Rutgers’ two governing boards was clear: We won’t cede control of the Camden or Newark campuses, but we’ll form a negotiating committee to discuss the reorganization with you going forward.

At a joint meeting of the university’s Board of Governors and board of trustees, members agreed to form a joint committee to consider and negotiate various reorganization and merger proposals recently put forth by state elected officials.

“I think what we’re doing, for the sake of the public, is we have to do what’s reasonable, and we can’t just reject something out of hand,” Ronald W. Giaconia, emeritus member of the Rutgers board of trustees, said in regard to the forming of a joint committee moving forward. “You want to sit down, discuss and try to find common ground. We’re not going to throw the gauntlet down and say ‘We don’t want to talk to you.’ ”

But it was clear from the meeting that board members still had significant problems with the emerging compromise proposal.

The decision of both boards not to cede control of the Camden or Newark campuses to either the state or any other proposed new governing body was met with applause and cheers by many who attended Wednesday’s standing-room-only meeting in Winants Hall.