By Angela Delli Santi, Associated Press

CAMDEN, N.J. (WTW) — Sen. Frank Lautenberg, an outspoken critic of Gov. Chris Christie’s plan to consolidate public universities in North and South Jersey, visited the Rutgers-Camden campus on Thursday to lobby for the school to retain its presence in the blighted city.

Meanwhile, the Rutgers University Board of Trustees voted to reject any merger plan that would sever the Camden campus from the school. The board voted, 32-4, for a resolution opposing a complete takeover of the Camden campus by Rowan, as proposed by the governor.

The resolution says the school would remain open to alternative proposals only if Rutgers-Camden remains part of Rutgers University.

The Democratic senator has assailed Christie’s plan for higher education, asking the federal Department of Education to review the financial impact the deal could have on students, particularly those who attend Rutgers-Camden. Lautenberg’s letter to Education Commissioner Arne Duncan last month drew jeers from the Republican governor and Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney, who is likely to sponsor legislation allowing the merger.

“We’re here for one purpose, and that is for them not to take away the almost 100-year presence of Rutgers in Camden,” Lautenberg told more than 100 students and faculty assembled outside the campus center. “Rutgers is here in Camden today, it’s going to be here tomorrow and the years ahead.”


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