There was a successful turnout at the March 27 Legislative Luncheon on the Camden Campus. With approximately 50 people in attendance and the Chief of Staff from both Senators Sweeney and Norcross’ office, the Rutgers‐Camden community had the opportunity to pose their concerns regarding issues that affect them in South Jersey, specifically questions about the proposed merger of Rutgers‐Camden and Rowen University. The representatives listened to the concerns and answered questions from staff, faculty and students about the Camden–Rowan merger.
Norcross’ Chief of Staff, Michael Maitland, informed those in attendance that the Senator was aware of their concerns, that he didn’t support the merger, and that the questions raised at the meeting would be taken back to the Senator. He also suggested to those in attendance that they could also email the Senator their concerns/questions. Some in attendance informed him that they had but that they didn’t receive a response. He then asked them to provide him with their email address, but also mentioned that a response was also provided in the Op Ed of a local newspaper. Senator Sweeney’s Chief of Staff, Anthony Reznick, informed the group that he was new to the position but he would report back to the Senator the concerns and questions raised. He also noted that due to his lack of insight into the situation he would not be able to comment or address any questions on the merger.
From the feedback received the event was well received and appreciation was given to the URA‐AFT for hosting the event. Representatives from the AAUP, graduate students, TA’s, staff from other unions, management, and even a faculty member of the Board of Trustees present at the meeting. The legislative committee will continue to participate in ongoing discussions and events surrounding the Camden–Rowan merger.
The Star‐Ledger reported yesterday, March 22, on Rowan University’s release of their response to the proposed merger with Rutgers‐Camden. The article can be found at this link. The 19‐page report can be found here and a more detailed 20‐page report can be found here.
The article further states that,
Lucye Millerand, president of the Union of Rutgers Administrators‐American Federation of Teachers, said, “Reading this report, our members may be asking themselves if this is like a game of ‘hot potato’ where workload gets shifted between these three institutions.”
Millerand, whose union represents more than 2,000 administrative workers in Camden, New Brunswick and Newark, added, “If workers are shifted between these three institutions in any kind of realignment without input from the people actually performing the core administrative functions of the schools, critical elements could go wrong.”
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?
Continue reading Tell Governor Christie “Don’t Reorganize Higher Education by Executive Order”!