URA members took up the higher education merger issue in Newark last week. Union members, students, alumni and passers‐by wrote postcards to Governor Christie and legislative leaders.
URA‐AFT and AAUP‐AFT have gone on record opposing a Rowan takeover of Rutgers‐Camden. But the effects of re‐organization will be felt across the state. If Governor Christie uses an Executive Order to slice and dice Rutgers, UMDNJ and Rowan, the process could be underway with no answers to the important questions:
- What will the re‐alignment of Rutgers, UMDNJ and Rowan cost?
- Will the costs be paid for with even higher tuition and fees?
- Will the new “NJ Health Science University” have the finances it needs once New Brunswick units are merged with Rutgers? If not, will further mergers result in Newark?
- If University Hospital becomes a “P3” (public‐private partnership), will it provide the level of care, especially charity care, that it provides now?
- If thousands of UMDNJ employees in New Brunswick and Piscataway become Rutgers employees, will there be layoffs? Who might be laid off?
- If Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and other units of UMDNJ join Rutgers without transferring all of their administrative staff, will URA members have to take on extra work, for example, payroll, purchasing, grant administration, admissions, et cetera? Will we get new lines to do this work? Will lines come from UMDNJ?
- President McCormick estimated “a one‐time expense of at least $40M” for the UMDNJ‐ Rutgers merger. Will the $30M Rutgers got from the 2009–2011 salary freeze be used to pay for the merger?