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NJ Dems Rip Proposed Rutgers-Rowan Merger

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rowan University (Nancy Solomon/NJPR)

Some New Jersey Democrats took aim at a controversial plan to merge the Rutgers-Camden campus with Rowan University during a hearing on higher education funding Wednesday.

The plan, proposed by Governor Chris Christie, would reorganize the state’s higher education system that includes the Rutgers-Rowan merger, and incorporating Robert Wood Johnson Medical School into Rutgers. Democrats are divided on the merger – with most South Jersey Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Stephen Sweeney, backing the plan.

But Assembly Budget Chairman Vincent Prieto, a Democrat from Northern New Jersey,   complained about what he said was a “shocking” lack of information the Christie administration has provided about the proposed merger.

“Something this big requires study and analysis, especially when it comes to the finances,” Preito said. “I expect much more from the administration.”

Rochelle Hendricks, secretary of higher education, told the Assembly Budget Committee that she would be providing more details and exact costs within two months.

Even though no estimates have been provided, Democrats in the Assembly say the merger is too expensive.

“With cuts in several higher education categories, including direct aid to schools, our focus should be on getting more students to college and less about forcing a $1 billion-plus merger on students that don’t even want it,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, a Democrat from Bergen County.

Rowan University is a state school that changed its name after benefactor Henry Rowan, a millionaire engineer, donated $100 million in 1992.

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Comments [3]

Cooper G

“With cuts in several higher education categories, including direct aid to schools, our focus should be on getting more students to college and less about forcing a $1 billion-plus merger on students that don’t even want it,” said Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, a Democrat from Bergen County. Finally, someone to join Sen. Frank Lautenberg in the sane politician category of New Jersey politics.

Apr. 26 2012 09:11 AM
Thomas More

As a conservative I'm concerned about vulnerability on the issue of education - specifically the decline of NJ's Kean University and its Board. It seems it's becoming a political liability for Gov. Christie (see WSJ & Wash Post coverage of Kean's integrity, accreditation, and NCAA probation scandals) . Why is Christie accountable? Simple. The Governor appoints the Kean University Board. While democrats have informal links to Kean, Christie's responsibility for the Board is official. A challenger would find it easy to point to Christie's tie-in to Kean's Board decisions and Kean's decline. Action by Christie would send a signal.

Apr. 26 2012 07:35 AM
Robert from New Jersey

Finally we have some great news for New Jersey.

This quote sums up the entire article: “With cuts in several higher education categories, including direct aid to schools, our focus should be on getting more students to college and less about forcing a $1 billion-plus merger on students that don’t even want it."

The Rutgers students are strongly opposed to the merger and the Rowan students either don't care or know nothing about the merger. This merger isn't about students or higher education; it is about politics and money deals. Thank god that there are clear heads in high places that can stand up against these crooked politics

Apr. 25 2012 10:34 PM

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