Save Rutgers: “Secret” Meetings Between Board of Governors and Key Democrats

Save Rutgers: “Secret” Meetings Between Board of Governors and Key Democrats

The word “secret” just keeps popping up when it comes to Rut-Row, Save Jerseyans. I just got done doing a radio interview this morning talking for a good half-hour on Rut-Row issue. On the show, the host was concerned about the back-room-dealing aspect of this plan and how it may affect the Governor and others involved with the public. People pushing this merger are worried about that too, that is why they hire PR firms to push their message and why they commission reports months in advance to anticipate the backlash that this idiotic move would create. So why, for all the secrets going on, are they so bad at keeping them?

According to the Courier Post , high power Democrats, including Steve Sweeney and George Norcross have been involved in meetings with other legislators, outgoing Rutgers President McCormick, and at least four members of the Rutgers Board of Governors, a body that will likely need to be included in any merger for it to take place quickly. Once I find out who the four Board of Governors members are, you can bet I will publish their names and contact information so you can let them know your thoughts for their next secret meeting.

Reportedly, the meetings have been focused on repackaging the plan to make it more palatable to the Rutgers Camden students, faculty, and supporters. President McCormick has even been quoted saying that legislators have approached him searching for a solution to put this plan through without sacrificing the Rutgers name in Camden. I find any attempt to do this to be an unlikely compromise, and Governor Christie has continuously asserted the same.

Here is the thing. This whole process has been as opaque as can be. No one knows what the costs are going to be. No one knows just how badly it will affect enrollment at Rutgers Camden and its many schools, including the law and business schools. No one knows just what deals were made or what could possibly make this plan worthwhile to the Governor. Very few people understand what George Norcross wants with Rutgers Camden anyway. However, what almost everyone seems to know is that they do not like it.

Having secret meetings to find a better way to slap a brighter shade of lipstick on this pig is not going to fool anyone, but it is nice to know that the anti-merger movement has made enough of a difference to have our concerns considered serious. Even with that faint silver lining considered, this is not they way that this should be done.

The smug group of Democrats pushing this deal down here have seriously botched their goals from the beginning by being secretive, so why in the world would they think that more secret meetings are the answer?

You want support? Open the process. Share your information. Answer our questions. And for Heaven’s sake, meet in public.

16 thoughts on “Save Rutgers: “Secret” Meetings Between Board of Governors and Key Democrats

  1. He Wants MONEY, COLD CASH, CONTROL TO LINE HIS GREEDY ASS POCKET. Norcross is the greediest hound dog alive.

  2. If people would take the PEOPLE out of the equation and look at the merger from an economic viewpoint, it's obviously the thing to do.

    Rutgers faculty naturally hates it because they only have to teach 2 classes, where as Rowan faculty teachers 4. Gee, Rowan staff does TWICE as much work (for the students paying tuition) than Rutgers staff.

    Why are we not surprised Rutgers folk are fighting to keep cushy part time jobs with full pay. What do Rutgers folk do with all their free time? Whatever they want. Our tuition payments are funding them to do whatever research they line.

    The decisions for the public are:

    Do you want to fund academics to do research or teach students?

    Do you want to fund two full sets of administrative staff when one will do?

    Do you want State supported colleges, the objective being to keep costs low so OUR kids can afford college?

    If the answers are.. (a) fund teachers who teach (b) consolidate administration (c) keep costs low for our kids… Then the merging the Rutgers Camden campus into the Rowan University is logical solution.

    It's also logical to regionalize all the State funded colleges. Why have so much redundancy? Where is the economic value in that? Research will still be done, but funded through the appropriate grant programs, not funds targeted at reducing tuition for New Jersey residents.

    Just because a Democrat supports the idea doesn't make it bad. Just because a Republican does doesn't make it bad either. So, instead of looking at who support the merger, look a who does NOT… yep, it's the facility of Rutgers Camden… and now you know why.

  3. Paul Davies nailed it.

    "U.S. Senator Frank Lautenberg last month urged federal officials to review the proposed merger between Rutgers-Camden and Rowan Universities. On its face, the merger makes no sense.

    To his credit, Lautenberg cut to the heart of the matter in questioning whether a deal had been “crafted to benefit powerful political interests without regard for the impact on students.” Lautenberg specifically questioned whether the merger is being proposed to benefit Cooper University Hospital, where Norcross is chairman of the board. Cooper and Rowan have partnered to open a medical school in the fall. Ah, lots of jobs, contracts and legal work up for grabs."

  4. Noras Tea Party – 'look at who does NOT' support the elimination of RUC, 60% of state residents. I'm sure those in opposition represent more than the faculty of RUC. Making this a labor issue rather than an educational issue is just a way to avoid answering the basis questions. The questions on the table to date, aren't ever the hard questions. I have no ties to the faculty at Rutgers, nor are family members employed there. My children are adults and will be wrapping up college before RUC is fully eliminated. My interest is in assuring future generations the same opportunities that were available to me. Having three schools to choose from in South Jersey is hardly redundant. Its been shown, the schools serve different constituants. And, if one school does have to be eliminated, shouldn't it be the school with a bad credit rating and no ability to borrow new funds if needed. Why eliminate the financially sound institution; that makes no sense.

  5. Noras Tea Party:

    First, it should read Nora's Tea Party, but that is what a Rutgers' education left me with. The capacity to be grammatical.

    Second, you are an idiot if you think the faculty at Rutgers works less because they only teach two courses whereas the Rowan faculty teach four. I have firsthand knowledge of the research the faculty at Rutgers have done, and not only does it enhance the learning experience, but it also adds to the dialogue within academia because of the research they do.

    You really are good at looking at something from one side, as you are accusing those opposed to the takeover are doing. It is not only the faculty who are against the merger. There are a lot of people who have not attended or worked at Rutgers who are opposed to the takeover.

    You know why I am against this takeover. It flies in the face of reason, and I have not once read or heard anything that gives me a good reason to feel differently. Another concern is the complete and total lack of a price tag. No one at all wants to say how much this is going to cost the state and the taxpayers.

    I have a feeling you would be crying NO MERGER loudly if this were going to greatly affect your wallet, but instead, you have harsh words for a faculty you are most likely all too unfamiliar with.

  6. Regarding the questionable but seemingly unavoidable involvement of George Norcross in these meetings, Gov. Christie said, “The idea that George Norcross is involved in public issues in New Jersey, is that like a news flash to anybody? That's been going on for a decade or more. To the extent George wants to be involved and he provides some type of constructive contribution, I don't have any problem with it. He isn't making any decisions."

    This is pretty problematic for democracy as we know it, isn’t it? The Governor has no problem with Norcross playing a role but he ignores the 59% of the state who are opposed to his proposal. He’s happy to hear input from one wealthy citizen but disregards the 13,000 and growing who have signed the petition (here: who are opposed to the proposed takeover. Many, many people "want to be involved" as he says of Norcross, but he refuses to hear us, yet he calls the opinion of one unelected citizen "a productive contribution."

    This is basically just a really rich old white guy buying political influence, right? I understand, as Christie seems to, that we all knew about this already, but this is the first I’ve heard an actual elected official make it so clear: if you're rich you get a say in policy and if you're not your views don't count. When did New Jersey officially become a plutocracy? Did I miss the executive order? That this happens is bad enough, but what’s worse is that an elected official would feel so comfortable saying it publicly.

  7. NOrasteaParty, clearly you know nothing about higher education of the schools in south jersey. Rowan is a second rate college full of a bunch of drunk teenagers simply trying to find a place to party free from parental supervision. None of the high caliber students from Rutgers will go there, myself included. I am not a faculty member at Rutgers, I am the parent of Rowan student as a matter of fact. My daughter spent the first three months on campus this year sick from mold in her apartment that Rowan refused to properly eradicate. Half of her classes are the same classes that are being taught at Camden County College, BY THE SAME PROFESSORS! She is paying triple to take these classes also in buildings full of mold, not fit to teach in, why? Because instead of expanding on useful classroom space Rowan decided to do a bunch of fluff projects. I am disgusted at the level of education this college has to offer, why would I, or ANYONE in South Jersey want Rowan to absorb another college in our area and bring it down to their level? Why would we want this sub-par education to be our children's only option? If you want to do this merger right, let Rutgers, the State college of new Jersey, the college that has not spent themselves into oblivion, take over rowan. Clearly rowan's leadership has no common sense and their instruction is pathetic. They need the better college in the state to step in and take over, not the other way around. Maybe if you would pull your head out of Christies very ample backside long enough to look at the two colleges you would see this.

  8. Nora, I am in favor of economic analysis (which is difficult to do with no people in the equation :-). ) Unfortunately, there has been little to none attached to the proposal. Actually, that is being charitable. The economic analysis has been embarrassing. The plan is not designed to change Rutgers-Camden from a research university to a teaching university by changing the teaching loads at Rutgers. The plan is to change Rowan – a teaching university with a very good faculty – to a research university, one that hopefully could join the American Association of Universities in the future. Rowan's teaching load would be and research requirements increased. Instructional costs would INCREASE

    significantly. Rutgers is one of 60 odd research universities who are members of the American Association of Universities. I am a rather conservative economist and I can appreciate that some taxpayers would prefer not to pay for a research university. I do not think it would be wise for New Jersey, but in this republic I get one vote. We already have a research university in South Jersey – Rutgers. Breaking it up and merging it with a teaching university at great expense to the taxpayer and waiting decades for it to emerge as an AAU university is not very appealing. State support for Rutgers is at the level it was in the 1990s. Although there is much noise about supporting another research university, I have yet to see the state adequately fund Rutgers OR the state colleges and teaching universities. I am interested in what politicians say they will do – "We will support higher education," – but I am more interested in what they actually do – NOT support it. All the best.

  9. What impact will it have on Camden? Camden already lost 168 police officers, is this a war on the poor that Christie is waging?

  10. Mr. Worrall, this is one of the most intelligent, factual arguments I have seen posted anywhere regarding this matter. Thank you! If NJ taxpayers can't even afford to fully support the one research university it already has, how can we possibly afford to start another from scratch, and fund both into perpetuity? To any fiscal conservative, it's a very disturbing proposition. It seems far more fiscally prudent to enlarge Rutgers-Camden and formalize partnerships, as is being done in Newark, than to recreate Rowan.

  11. As a resident of camden it is really hard to believe that turning over Rutgers-Camden to Rowan administration (Norcross hands) would benefit Camden. Rowan has a satellite campus in Camden that had been outgrown by Camden County College until the recent addition of the Medical School. Cooper Hospital like to talk about how beneficial it is for the city yet they have not spent any money outside of the downtown area where they are located. Rutgers-Camden has done more for Camden than Cooper and Rowan Combined. I have no clue how Christie or anybody may think this will be beneficial for the city of Camden.

  12. The worse one particular borrower's credit worthiness, the more high-priced will be i would say the loan that the actual lender grants on the way to the borrower. Paying lower back the loan old than the payback day is generally best scenario for the fact less will wind up as owed in economic fees.

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