The Norcross name has been synonymous with the Rutgers Rowan Merger since the plan was first announced in January of this year. Senator Donald Norcross represents the 5th Legislative District which includes Camden City and by extension Rutgers Camden’s campus. His involvement has included a drive to find a compromise between the initial takeover plan and a cooperative agreement that preserves Rutgers Camden. George Norcross, Chairman of Cooper Hospital and well known boss of the South Jersey Democrat Machine has also been a key player both publicly and behind the scenes. His involvement has given the pro-merger people, however few there may be, an image that admittedly damaged the plan from the start and helped us arrive where we are today.
Yesterday I sat down with Senator Norcross in his Audubon office to discuss the Rutgers Camden Merger plan. We touched on where the plan began and where it is now. The plan being discussed today is a compromise that began to form after the firestorm that is the Save Rutgers movement began. Senator Norcross goes into detail and answers some pretty specific questions on his proposal, which we should be seeing a draft of relatively soon.
Those truly interested in the details of the merger plans going forward will find some answers and clarification. Those just looking for a screaming match may be disappointed. My goal here was to have a substantial and informative interview, and I think that goal was realized.
The biggest take away for me was one line near the end of the conversation. Senator Norcross said,
It’s not a fight over whether or not Rutgers stays in Camden . . . but it is a fight over getting those resources.
If that doesn’t make every anti-merger person smile I don’t know what will. Those who originally supported a full take over of Rutgers Camden by Rowan University are now in talks to strike a deal where keeping Rutgers in Camden is a foregone conclusion. The devil is always in the details, I would never declare victory before seeing the legislation, but we have effectively reframed the debate and forced the other side to accept our premise that Rutgers Camden must remain Rutgers Camden. Watch the interview for that and much more.
I’d like to thank Senator Norcross for sitting down with me, and I hope that when the legislation is finally drafted, he will sit down with me again to go through it and answer more questions. As always, leave comments below.