Victory for Rutgers-Camden!
This is great, great news: Rutgers and Rowan to remain individual institutions.
“We’ve got a local board that’s a majority of the trustees and governors. Our concerns will always be on the minds of the trustees and governors,” Andrew Shankman, a Rutgers-Camden history professor and opponent of the merger told KYW Newsradio.
“Yet there’s nothing the local board can do unless it’s approved by the general Rutgers board. So there is no ambiguity that we are a Rutgers campus.”
It is hard to convey what Rutgers University has achieved, how amazing it is. Both the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, and the South Jersey Democrat power-broker, George Norcross, had decided that Rutgers-Camden would be split from Rutgers University and handed over to Rowan University, a local teaching college.
Not only was this a dubious plan, offering huge risks and huge costs for an unclear reward, it was never formulated as a plan at all. No clear description of how this merger would work was ever produced. There is still no projection of the costs of even the uncontroversial parts of the re-organisation.
And quickly, the campaign to gain control of Rutgers-Camden became one that involved the whole of Rutgers University. What seemed merely a consideration of the southern campus became a struggle to see if the university as a whole would stand up for itself, or fall under the power of Christie and others. Would the two governing boards assert their ownership of the University, or allow Christie’s deadlines and tough-talking to intimidate them into silence? For a while it seemed they would be intimidated.
I do not belong to the groups within Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers as a whole that fought against this proposal, who worked with New Jersey politicians to craft an alternative solution. But I am aware of the huge amounts of work they have done. They have struggled through criticism, mockery, long meetings, endless letter-writing campaigns. Students, faculty, administrators have all worked together.
I’m proud to have attended this University.