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Christie said the plan would "realize hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants" for...

Christie said the plan would "realize hundreds of millions of dollars in research grants" for Rutgers University and had already prompted some drug companies to call the state and say how useful the merger would be, because they would be able to go "from the laboratory to clinical trials" at one university. At a meeting with The Record’s editorial board on Tuesday, Christie said the University of Medicine and Dentistry of North Jersey — with a poor reputation — had received $350 million in grants for research last year and that the new ties to Rutgers would likely generate much more.

The justification for the merger in New Brunswick was no joke. You just wish it wasn't bogged down by all that other stuff. Christie's quote here makes me think that he might have been the one to tell George Norcross to cave, which would be really awesome if true.

After the hearing, Rivers said the trustees were firm in their stance that any attempt to take away...

After the hearing, Rivers said the trustees were firm in their stance that any attempt to take away financial control of the Camden campus from the university's board of governors, the system's other governing body, would result in litigation.

Of course, why would you say anything else as part of a public negotiation. Discussions are still continuing behind the scenes. And what's that about a new amendment about the Rutgers name?

"If the board of governors doesn't support this, it's in trouble. I don't know how you supersede...

"If the board of governors doesn't support this, it's in trouble. I don't know how you supersede the board of governors," said State Sen. Robert Singer (R., Ocean), who sits on the Senate Higher Education Committee and supports the governor's proposal. "It's one week away. We have to see." ... "If we don't get the whole thing, maybe do the Rutgers-UMDNJ thing now and we have to wait on Rowan and Rutgers," he said. "It's important to get this moving the right way. Half a pie is better than no pie."

The Rutgers boards are set to vote on a statement of principles opposing any union between Rutgers-Camden and Rowan. All eyes ultimately fall on the Board of Governors, as the Board of Trustees are certain to oppose the so-called compromise. It's doubtful the BoG would support it though, as they have a fiduciary to do what is in the best interest of the university, and the proposals to have Newark and Camden politicians gut Rutgers of assets while still having rights to the university's name are too much of a price to pay. Now the question becomes as to whether the original proposal will be revived, which probably was worth the trade. Obviously you'd prefer for UMDNJ-NB to just be returned to Rutgers, but we cannot get out of this situation without a medical school. It is absolutely vital for the future of Rutgers. Sen. Singer does deserve a lot of credit for being responsible and respecting the rule of law, as opposed to Sen. Sweeney, who has a callous disregard for the Rutgers Act of 1956. The second bit of comments from Singer are pretty good, a best of all worlds scenario. As the merger in New Brunswick is absolutely vital to the future of New Jersey's economy, New Jersey legislators ultimately can't be dumb enough to cut off their noses to spite their faces, could they? Not approving the main merger would cost the state millions in research funds. At the end of the day, they have to approve that no matter what, as failing to do that would represent a dereliction of duty and responsibility to the taxpayers of New Jersey.

"Thanks to the Rutgers Act of 1956, our two governing boards are free from the influence peddling...

"Thanks to the Rutgers Act of 1956, our two governing boards are free from the influence peddling and secret back-room deal-making that politicians in both the north and south are rushing to bring to both Rutgers-Newark and Rutgers-Camden," said Shankman. "When I have to consider who I have more confidence in: independent Rutgers boards who uphold a 246-year tradition of nonpartisan excellence or politicians seeking to control as much as they can whenever and wherever they can, to me the choice of who to trust is very clear."

Quotes don't really get much better than that. The fact that corrupt Newark politicians are railing about "wasteful" spending in a plot to give them a giant patronage slush fund to reward cronies with really takes the cake. Investment in Rutgers-New Brunswick has been cut to the bone because of budget cuts that these politicians largely voted for, and they still have to gall to spout these blatant lies. The fiction about only 55% of tuition being spend on satellite campuses owes a great deal to the central administration fees that would largely increase if the campuses were governed centrally. The rest, of course, owes to the fact that no one would value an education from the Newark or Camden campuses if they were not associated with Rutgers-New Brunswick, so they fairly must pay what is essentially a licensing fee for the privilege of association. The independence of the Rutgers Governing Board is not a bug, it's a feature.

The trustees said many of their colleagues wanted to emphasize their opposition to the...

The trustees said many of their colleagues wanted to emphasize their opposition to the Christie/Norcross plan after The Star-Ledger published details of a so-called "compromise" worked out behind closed doors. The details "infuriated" the trustees, said one member of the board, because they played no part in what appeared to be a done deal. In a confidential email, one trustee wrote of the plan, ``Not just ‘no,’ but ‘HELL NO!’"

This is from Bob Braun in the Ledger. Rutgers is prepared to offer increased autonomy to the Newark and Camden campuses, but is not willing to let political hacks in Newark and Camden take over those campuses and raid their treasuries. Simply put, it is not acceptable for a campus to bear the Rutgers name but not be under the direct and sole authority of the Rutgers Board of Governors. Update: as you would expect, Rutgers sources insist they have no interest in having George Norcross run the Camden campus by fiat.

But after more than four months of discussion among New Jersey’s political leaders and academics,...

But after more than four months of discussion among New Jersey’s political leaders and academics, significant opposition continues. While talks have progressed on a compromise aimed at preserving the Camden campus’ connection to the Rutgers system, there remains disagreement over the makeup and role of an independent board overseeing that campus and Rowan and what role Rutgers’ governing bodies would play, according to persons close to the talks. A meeting of Rutgers’ board of trustees has been scheduled for Thursday in New Brunswick to discuss the proposal. Adam Scales, a Rutgers-Camden law professor who has led faculty opposition to the merger, said many on campus were opposed to giving a discussed Rutgers-Rowan joint board control over the Camden school’s finances. "A managing board focused on joint collaboration, 99 percent of the faculty wouldn’t have a problem with that," Scales said. "But anything that looks like a wide-ranging board, that would merit very widespread rejection here at Rutgers."

It doesn't sound as there is much room for compromise, nor should there be. Just because RU-Camden's administration is spineless, and all too quick to embrace George Norcross just as soon as he promised not to merge their campus with Camden, Rutgers-Camden faculty know what's up. They know that any sort of separation from Rutgers would mean the eventual looting of the school treasury by Norcross to bail out for his bankrupt, debt-ridden Cooper Medical School. Rutgers-Camden minus the Rutgers administrative oversight is not Rutgers. It would be Norcross University, with its academic prestige dropping in kind.

If the plan does gain legislative approval, or Christie issues an executive reorganization plan, it...

If the plan does gain legislative approval, or Christie issues an executive reorganization plan, it would need approval of the Rutgers Board of Governors and Board of Trustees, according to Rutgers officials. But Christie said that’s "open to legal interpretation," and warned that Rutgers can either accept the plan for all three campuses together, or not at all. "Let me make something very clear," Christie said. "It all happens, or none of it happens. This is not a divisible plan."

Well then. I don't think it's open to legal interpretation, but Christie could easily kill the UMDNJ merger if Rutgers says no to Camden. Therefore, whatever the cost, Rutgers has no choice but to say yes. It's too bad for Camden, but Rutgers has to look out for the bottom line and number one. All they can do now is extract concessions from Christie that funds won't be diverted to Camden. MAYBE Rutgers can also try to extract additional concessions, whether financial (RU-Camden shouldn't be used to bail out Norcross's folly of building a medical school that Rowan couldn't afford), or to rescue a law school that wants absolutely nothing to do with Rowan under any circumstances. Some may be willing to try to call Christie's bluff. I am not. Not with what is at stake.

I am proud to say this budget proposes a nearly 6% increase in direct aid to our senior public...

I am proud to say this budget proposes a nearly 6% increase in direct aid to our senior public colleges and universities.

That's NJ Governor Chris Christie on his new budget proposal. State aid for higher ed was flat last year, cut by $62 million immediately when Christie first took office, and faced further huge cuts in his first budget. Overall, higher ed is a huge net loser under Christie - just as it was under Corzine and McGreevey too. The only thing NJ and Christie can really say in their defense is that this is occurring at the same time that Pennsylvania is drastically reducing state aid for its colleges and universities. That is happening for the second year in a row, with a lot of resulting speculation that Pitt, PSU, and Temple could shift from state-related to some degree of private. And no, Rutgers isn't going to go private any time soon. At least not to stop the Camden merger. As much as Rutgers wants to keep the Camden campus, they want UMDNJ in New Brunswick that much more, and hence will not hesitate to make a quid pro quo should that become an explicit choice.

The university said that diverting student fees would hurt Olympic sports and women’s basketball...

The university said that diverting student fees would hurt Olympic sports and women’s basketball the most because they don’t generate money and rely almost entirely on the fees.

Vocal Rutgers faculty are at it again, but their spokesman Mark Killingsworth just goes to show how poorly critics understand this issue. 1. As the university said, football operates at a small loss (and seems likely to make a profit in 2012 given recent events.) Any cuts would have to come from Olympic sports. It's preposterous how they are criticizing football 2. The student fees aren't going to an incinerator. Students receive free tickets for athletic events.

The store will feature 400 different kinds of produce, some organic, a brick pizza oven, a sushi...

The store will feature 400 different kinds of produce, some organic, a brick pizza oven, a sushi bar, a traditional butcher, fresh seafood and hot prepared foods, he said. The coffee and smoothie bar will be run by the store, but attached to the wellness center, Burns said. The store will focus on diversity in order to serve the various groups in New Brunswick, he said.

New Brunswick finally gets a grocery store. Urban development can be challenging, as the past few decades in New Brunswick have shown, but this project should do an awful lot of good for the city. Presently there are no grocery stores accessible from the main Rutgers College Avenue campus in New Brunswick without use of a car. Not only is that finally being addressed (a boon to students and the young professional crowd, and the project also is paying lip service to long-term NB residents), but the store should be bring in significant regional retail traffic to the city akin to other high-end grocery outlets. The Fresh Grocer is integrated very well into college campuses in Philadelphia, meaning they clearly weren't opposed to operating in urban settings. That's why they seemed to be such an obvious candidate as an anchor tenant after the Wellness Plaza project was announced. Fairway also would have been great candidate for wishful thinking. Some interesting findings in retrospect are that the Fresh Grocer CEO appeared as a panelist at a New Brunswick development conference several weeks back, with the last page of his presentation including a store mockup. That was also included in a DEVCO presentation about various efforts including the Wellness Plaza and the Gateway Center (aka, the huge development on the corner of Easton/Somerset that's currently going up.)
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