NJ State Support of Rutgers Doesn’t Merit 63% Control of RU Governing Board

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Rumor has it that the badly flawed bill S1860, sponsored by State Senate President Sweeney, will come up for a vote today.

S1860 is probably illegal according to an opinion released by New Jersey’s Office of Legislative Services (OLS) yesterday.

In addition to flouting state and constitutional law, the bill gives the state 63% control of the Rutgers Board of Governors while the state provides only 19.5% of Rutgers $3.6 billion dollar budget.  In general, New Jersey provides less than 25% of Rutgers budget and is usually below 20% in direct state support for Rutgers. Direct state appropriations to Rutgers for FY2013 were actually less than 1995’s Direct State appropriations and have been on a steady decline since Governor Christie assumed office and Senator Sweeney became Senate President.  

Direct state appropriations for Rutgers reached a high of almost $340 million dollars in 2001 and 2006.  By 2010 NJ State appropriations had declined to almost $290 million, decreased to approximately $275 million in 2011, declined again in 2012 to approximately $260 million and were bumped back up to about $265 million dollars in FY13 during the height of the Rutgers/UMDNJ merger integration.

Illinois State’s Center for Higher Education Policy currently ranks New Jersey 31st in overall state support of Higher Education per capita and 41st when measured against state personal income.

While not quite getting to the two thirds majority mark with the bill, the bill nevertheless reduces Rutgers Board of Governor appointees to a mere 37% of the Board, down from a current 47% membership rate.  

New Jersey’s financial support of Rutgers does not merit this almost two thirds control of Rutgers Board of Governors. In fact, given their history of poor support to both Rutgers and New Jersey Higher education in general, state political appointees should constitute less than 25% of Rutgers Board of Governors.

Unless New Jersey is willing to step up and support both Rutgers statewide mission and Rutgers as a state (not city, not county) Institution, state elected officials have no business packing the Rutgers Board of Governors with political appointees, nor with interfering in the governance and day to day operations of this almost 250 year old institution.  

Comments (3)

  1. freshstart

    that he hopes will be enough to get past a few legal hurdles. There is too much money to be made by taking over Rutgers for Norcross and Sweeney to let this issue go. Christie does not care as long as he gets something in return.  Be prepared for a long battle.

    Reply

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