Rutgers trustees call emergency meeting on bill to expand board of governors

By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger

NEW BRUNSWICK — The Rutgers Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting to discuss proposed legislation that would give Trenton lawmakers more power in selecting members of the university’s board of governors.

University officials sent out a public notice today announcing the hastily-convened trustees meeting will be held at noon Friday in Winants Hall on the New Brunswick campus.

The 59-member Rutgers Board of Trustees is expected to vehemently oppose legislation proposed by state Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) that would increase the number of seats on the university’s powerful board of governors from 15 to 19.

Under the current system, eight board members are selected by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate. The remaining seven members are chosen by the Rutgers Board of Trustees. Sweeney’s bill (S-1860) would give Trenton lawmakers the power to select a greater percentage of the seats and diminish the trustees’ influence.

Under Sweeney’s proposal, the governor would get to fill 10 seats on the board and the president of the state Senate and the speaker of the General Assembly would each get to select one member. The Rutgers Board of Trustees would still get to fill seven seats.

Speaker Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson) has proposed an identical bill in the Assembly.