nj-rutgers-umdnj.JPG Patti Sapone/The Star-LedgerRonald Giaconia, Emeritus, Rutgers Board of Trustees, address the board members Wednesday.
NEWARK — In a letter to her campus, the president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey today said legislation calling for a takeover of the school was “a starting point for further dialogue,” but stopped short of endorsing the controversial proposal.

Denise Rodgers, who serves as the university’s interim president, said there were still many details to be worked out.

“UMDNJ is unwavering in our commitment to ensure the future viability of all of our schools and clinical units, including University Hospital,” Rodgers said. “We will advocate for our core principles as an academic health center to be embodied in the final legislation so that all of our schools and units throughout the state have the ability to grow and thrive.”

The letter was meant to clarify UMDNJ’s position, officials said, after the university earlier in the week indicated it would not fight a plan to have Rutgers University take over the long-troubled Newark-based health sciences university.

In a statement Tuesday, leaders of the university conceded that pending legislation calling for Rutgers to take over their eight schools might be for the best. In that earlier statement, the university said the general framework of the proposed legislation “has the potential to benefit all regions of the state.”

The position caught many by surprise, especially legislators in Essex County who object to putting the Newark campuses of UMDNJ and Rutgers under the control of Rutgers’ New Brunswick-based administration.


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