Tag Archive: Rutgers-Camden

Eric Garner no-indictment decision draws massive protests all over U.S. and actions in New Jersey

Tonight, in New York City, Dallas, Baltimore, Washington DC., Boston, Minneapolis, Denver, Chicago, San Francisco,  Oakland there were massive protests, and streets and bridges shut down in protest of the grand jury decisions not to indict police officers involved in the deaths of #EricGarner in Staten Island and #MikeBrown in Ferguson.

You can debate the tactic, whether street action is the most effective agent of change. I would argue that when you see tens of thousands of people have seen something so awful happen that the must step out on the streets and raise their voices, something is going on, and they are demanding attention be paid. There are a lot of young people helping to drive this, and Twitter is among the ways word is spreading. Today, in recognition of Twitter’s role, this was painted onto a wall at Twitter HQ. @CoryBooker also used Twitter to call for federal investigation into Garner’s death.

Here is some of what happened in New Jersey today in response to the Mike Brown and Eric Garner no-indictment decisions:

All Your South Jersey Campus Are Belong To Us

Be sure to read the “secret document” commissioned by Rowan and Cooper Health System, helpfully uploaded to saverutgerscamden.org. It’s a propadandapalooza!

– promoted by Rosi

Shortly after the proposal to destroy Rutgers-Camden was announced, internet memes dealing with the merger began to pop up,  such as “Keep RU Camden and Carry On” and the Boromir meme.  Several parodies, memes and other forms of internet entertainment have been shared by anti-merger proponents. They are wonderful diversions from the seriousness of the situation. I am impressed with the creativity and talent involved. Had I such creativity and talent, a meme that I have been wanting to parody is the All your base are belong to us.

Now, I get the chance.

Fittingly, on April 1st,  the $30,000 report commissioned by Rowan and Cooper Health System that was mentioned in Bob Braun’s excellent article became available.

The official name of this report, available here is, Establishing the New Rowan University. Upon reading it however, I propose that it should really be called All Your South Jersey Campus Are Belong To Us

There are many things that are upsetting about this report from the fact that the date of completion was the day after Gov. Christie announced the proposal to the public, to it’s dismissive tone of anticipated labor and personnel issues. It is a public relations document that essentially talks about how to dupe the public.

As usual, the Rutgers-Camden community has responded quickly, carefully looking at the report and pointing out the items that must be considered.

Prof. John Wall, Professor and Chair of the Rutgers Camden Department of Philosophy and Religion provides a response, How to Steal a Campus

The main points are:

1. The Rowan administration was working with the Governor and other parties long

before the proposed takeover was made public.

2. Instead of consulting with Rutgers-Camden, the Rowan administration made the

choice to force a hostile takeover through government fiat.

3. The primary motivation behind the takeover is the transfer of Rutgers-Camden assets

to Rowan and Rowan-Cooper.

This report makes it obvious that the “fix was in long before the merger was even presented to the public” to quote Senator Lautenberg’s press release which once again asks for answers to the many questions that remain regarding this hostile takeover.

While waiting for these answers, the Rutgers-Camden community will continue to respond to the New Rowan report in a variety of ways, such as this YouTube video.

North/South Divide over Higher Education should end now

Important – Assemblywoman Wagner, a member of the Joint Higher Education Committee, parts ways with Sen. Steve Sweeney’s response to U.S. Sen. Lautenberg’s call for a federal review of the proposed merger of Rutgers-Camden and Rowan universities. – promoted by Rosi

As a member of the Joint Higher Education Committee on the merger of Rowan, Rutgers and UMDNJ, I had the opportunity to listen to the passionate testimony of over 100 individuals who represented varied interests.  

I came to the meeting with an open mind and the hope that two questions would be answered.  Would this merger offer expanded educational opportunities for the students of New Jersey and would this plan provide for a more efficient less costly method of delivering higher education to the students of New Jersey?  

Sadly enough, the plan offered little in the expansion of choice for the students of South Jersey and offered no financial details as to how this can occur.  

The plan simply needs more work.  The four month deadline is absurd.  There are too many questions that need to be answered.  The first one is how to pay for this.  I heard estimates from as low as 40 million dollars each year to millions upon millions of dollars to make this happen.  In addition, I struggle to have Rutgers Camden Law and Rutgers Camden Business School simply go away and be turned over to Rowan.  

The students in South Jersey deserve an opportunity to have a choice of Rutgers Camden or Rowan.  A possible alternate, if we are looking to cut down costs and offer more opportunities, would be to form a consortium of the two schools in order to share services, grants etc.

The Rutgers-New Brunswick UMDNJ piece of the consolidation also needs more work.  How will this merger affect University Hospital and how will this merger help or hinder the progress of Newark’s revitalization program? During his testimony, Mayor Corey Booker quoted an African Proverb when he stated, “Go fast, you go it alone.  Go slow and you go together. ”  

Bruce Springsteen, Please Help Rutgers-Camden

Excuse me, who do you think should help us save Rutgers-Camden?

The Boss!

Uh, no, they don’t mean you, Gov. Christie. You’re not always the Boss. Sometimes, particularly in Jersey, there’s a higher authority.

Some of the folks in the Rutgers-Camden community coalition of students, faculty, staff and community have produced a video they’re hoping Bruce Springsteen sees. They want him to speak out, or sing out, against the merger Chris Christie and Donald Norcross intend between Rutgers-Camden and Rowan Universities; a merger they say would cannibalize highly-rated Rutgers’ southern outpost and reduce the value of its degrees.

Enjoy, and if you know Bruce, send this his way, and take action below:

Against the Ru-Ro merger?

There’s a petition at the R2RMERGE website, against the merger, and portals to the effort’s Twitter, Facebook, blog (currently featuring “Who’s an idiot now?”) and press and info links, and contact info for New Jersey legislators, set up so you can make a lobbying call directly from your computer.  

The Merger: Since 2010? Not really.

promoted by Rosi

Today’s big merger news was the release of the Rowan blueprint/road map/plan for the merger. You can read it here.  Something that keeps showing up in all of the news reports on this plan is the misleading statement that the merger was first recommended by the commission headed by former Gov. Tom Kean in December 2010. I have spent some time looking at this report and would like to clarify that while the suggestion of a merger does appear in this report, it is NOT a recommendation of that task force that completed this report.

This is actually a very important point to make because part of the argument for the Barer report seems to be that this merger had previously been recommended. In looking closely at the December 2010 report, there is actually some contradiction regarding Rutgers-Camden.

In the actual report recommendations, the following statements are made:


The university’s campuses in Camden and Newark must also be part of any long-term vision of Rutgers.

Camden’s law school, unique doctoral program in childhood studies, and comprehensive four-year

undergraduate business curriculum help that campus contribute to the corporate, legal, and family needs of

the city of Camden and the region (p.62)

Also,

Rutgers-Camden must receive appropriate support to contribute to Rutgers’ statewide mission.

• Recommendation in the next section in this report should create opportunities for RutgersCamden to collaborate with other institutions of higher education and expand its research and

instructional missions (p.63)

NOT part of the final recommendations is Appendix Q.

Appendix Q, like the Barer report is primarily concerned with the status of the Cooper Medical School, rather than all of Higher Education.

The first reference to Appendix Q is on page 67. The emphasis is my own.


CAMDEN

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University

Establishment of a four-year medical school in Camden-Cooper Medical School at Rowan University-

has already set a course independent from UMDNJ and is underway. Broader plans and concepts expressed

to the Task Force
regarding the future of Cooper Medical School and its relationship with other institutions

of higher education in New Jersey should be included as part of the follow-up study recommended in this

report. A summary of a proposal received by the Task Force appears in Appendix  Q

So it appears that parties outside of the Task Force provided these broader plans regarding Cooper Medical School’s relationship with other institutions.

And here is some of Appendix Q p.134 (emphasis my own)


Q: University of South Jersey

The concept below reflects many ideas we received regarding the future of Cooper Medical School of Rowan

University and its relationship with other institutions of higher education in southern New Jersey. We present it

here to contribute to the discussion we encourage to continue on this important matter

My interpretation of this is that outside parties made recommendations to the Task Force regarding Cooper Medical School. The Task Force is recommending that discussion continue, but it is not making a recommendation for these outside ideas and concepts to be acted upon, rather to be explored more thoroughly.

Within Appendix Q is this:


The essential ingredients of this university would be the merger of Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden

into a single university

ok..so now I’m confused. The recommendations of the commission firmly state on p.62 that

The university’s campuses in Camden and Newark must also be part of any long-term vision of Rutgers

yet in this appendix they recommend looking into a merger? Why did the task force include these outside suggestions if they directly contradict their recommendations?

Appendix Q goes on…


Combining Rowan University and Rutgers Camden to create a significant new Research University in South

Jersey would be the most important step the State could take toward providing adequate higher education

for this region.

A couple of things to point out.

This merger concept is viewed by the commission as something to be looked at in a follow-up study, so the merger was not recommended or even suggested by this report as many media outlets are claiming.

Who were the outside parties that presented this proposal to the task force? It is made very clear that this was not something that came from the task force itself, but rather from outside parties concerned with Cooper Medical School’s relationship with other institutions. It does not take long to consider who those outside parties may have been.

This idea and concept does not name this new entity or even suggest a name.

It is of concern that this report would on one hand recommend that the Camden campus be a part of any long-term vision of Rutgers and at the same time suggest that further exploration of an outside idea be explored.

Even more concerning are the missing details, minutes, reports and basic documentation demonstrating a reasonable bridge from the idea floated in Appendix Q to the conclusions in the Barer report.

If the Rutgers-Camden Takeover Goes Through, What Happens to NJ Ag?

Cross-posted at Pocketfarms — Keeping Jersey Fresh

Lost in all the debate over the potential takeover of the Rutgers-Camden campus in South Jersey is the extended presence of Rutgers and the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station  throughout New Jersey and especially in the food producing regions south of 195.

Rutgers operates the Rutgers Food Innovation Center in Bridgeton, participates on the State Agriculture Development Committee and has a presence in all counties in South Jersey through it’s county extension and cooperative services. The Rutgers-Camden Library serves the South Jersey extension agents and cooperative services programs and is a portal to Rutgers statewide network of 26 libraries and more then 10.5 million holdings.

As New Jersey’s land grant institution, Rutgers has a federal mission to serve the state.

If Rutgers is pushed back north of 195, what happens to the farmers, growers, producers, distributors, packers and canners in South Jersey?

Can the proposed regional university that is supposed to take the place of Rutgers in South Jersey quickly duplicate the reach, mission, and 150 years of service of Rutgers — New Jersey’s state university — to the New Jersey or South Jersey agricultural community?

Why further divide an already divided state and carve up one of the few institutions in New Jersey with real statewide reach? An institution that serves the entire $82 billion New Jersey agricultural and food sector from High Point to Cape May.  

Putting the cart before the horse? Wait, there isn’t even a horse.

promoted by Rosi

As I reflect on yesterday’s joint hearings of the Senate Higher Education Committee and the Assembly Higher Education Committee regarding the “merger” of Rowan and Rutgers-Camden, I think of the warning to not put the cart before the horse. This phrase is often used to explain how things must be done in the right order, especially when attempting to avoid failure. In my mind, the cart is the Barer report (a big cart filled with ideas, but lacking details). This cart was thrust onto the road, well in front of any means to carry it, in fact it doesn’t even seem to have a hitch. Even more distressing is the fact that there is no horse in sight, much less in front of it! After yesterday’s hearings, Governor Christie still insists this merger will happen, despite the fact that no one has seen a plan for implementation, or even solid facts, thus no horse to pull the cart.

It was noted by a Committee member that it appears that the plan has come before the facts. Those facts have yet to be disclosed by the Governor’s office with no evidence that the details exist. With the absence of communication and information from the Governor, many of yesterday’s speakers shared their knowledge and detailed research with the Committee.

There are several detailed articles regarding yesterday’s hearings written by journalists. I am not a journalist. I did attempt to tweet the proceedings, which can be read here

and here I will provide a brief summary and overall impression.

The tone was set with instructions to the audience that there was to be no clapping, cheering, booing or laughing. Clearly, this was a group of educators, expecting good classroom behavior 🙂

Many of the points made on both sides have been heard and written before. I urge anyone interested in more detailed information to visit this site, especially the page intended for NJ Legislators. The text of some of the testimony from the hearings is available here.

Of the 50 speakers, the majority were speaking against the merger, most representing Rutgers-Camden. I had hoped to hear more from Rowan staff, students and faculty, especially since the hearings were held at Rowan. I was actually quite surprised at how few spoke, but glad to hear some of their thoughts.

My overall impression from the Rowan speakers  is that they have a long history of change, are used to change and are preparing for change should it come. I did not get an overwhelming sense of strong feelings either way, simply an acceptance. The committee did learn that Rowan has been working internally on implementation of the merger “for several months” and have prepared a report. That report did not appear to be readily available, and the committee did request a copy. A member of Rowan’s board of trustees did provide one copy of this report to the chair.

The Committee did seem surprised to find out that at this time neither parties, Rowan or Rutgers-Camden are involved in any discussions/team/committee taking place within the Governor’s office. Obviously, this has been one of the major issues with this merger, major parties are not being included in discussions or being given details, if they exist.

Union representatives from all parties, including UMDNJ were there asking very important questions regarding the human element and the details involved in HR and labor relations.

Some of the points brought up during the hearings address the idea that the new entity would suddenly become a research university.  This idea does not take into consideration elements such as a Phi Beta Kappa chapter, or access to expensive databases and electronic resources provided by a research library.

Rutgers has a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the prestigious national honor society. This is a University chapter. Loss of affiliation with Rutgers would eliminate access to this, as Rowan does not currently have a chapter, and it takes several years and stringent guidelines in order to establish a chapter.

Loss of affiliation with Rutgers would also eliminate access to a research library. Students on the Camden campus have access to all of the Rutgers library resources, severing that tie would eliminate access to many expensive databases. A more detailed analysis is available here.

 It is difficult to establish a research university without access to a research library and creation of a research library is quite an expensive and lengthy process.

A major theme in the presentations is the fact that Rowan and Rutgers-Camden are very different schools, each providing unique opportunities and experiences for the students who chose to attend. Eliminating this choice does not seem to be a way to keep students from leaving the state as pro-merger individuals would argue. One speaker even presented an overview of student outmigration that does not support the pro-merger stance – here.

I find it very interesting that a pro-merger argument is that South Jersey does not have a research university, when in fact it does and it is Rutgers-Camden. In listening to the presentations and reading the well researched reports and analysis, it is clear that the Rutgers-Camden community is conducting the research that should have been done by the members of the Barer report before it was presented.

The Higher Education Committee expressed the need for due diligence and for obtaining more details on the plan. There are many unanswered questions and hopefully the Committee will continue to try to seek answers to these important concerns by citizens, taxpayers and voters.

QoTD: I’m Governor! Edition

Christie yells at Iraq War vet Bill BrownMoments after Iraq War vet and Navy SEAL William Brown was removed from Gov. Chris Christie’s ‘Town Hall’ meeting in Roebling yesterday, with uniformed security still hovering nearby as he talked to reporters outside the doors, he had a calm conversation with several reporters who followed him out (apparently along with “at least 15-20 people who got up and walked out when Brown was ejected, according to one reporter on camera). You’ve seen that video. Star-Ledger posted it last night, the work of video reporter Ed Murray.

Brown, who helps run an organization called Veterans for Education at Rutgers, identified himself to the Governor as a law student, and a veteran. His t-shirt bore the name of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), which Christie must have been able to read from his podium. Brown has spoken out before against the Rutgers-Rowan merger, so it’s entirely possible Christie or his staff knew who he is, and that he is a Democrat who ran in an uphill Assembly race against Dawn Addiego and Scott Rudder in 2009.

Even if Christie was minus that intel, Jersey Jazzman is right to conclude that there is something very wrong with Christie to be speaking to people this way, over and over in situations where people do not shrink away when he rattles his mighty mighty microphone.

There’s new video today, an edited version of the exchange that focuses on Christie’s words and actions, and not on Brown, whom Christie clearly felt provoked by. The video is from Burlington County Times (via phillyburbs.com, with a fuller version with nothing additional on the dispute). And what I find amazing about this is the very last line. He had Brown hustled out of the room, shouting after him and calling him an idiot. And telling the law student After shouting after Brown and calling him “idiot,” and making a nasty crack about how the current law student would be perceived if he showed the same behavior in a court of law (uh, Governor, check yourself), Christie still can’t let it go. He’s forcibly ejected a student and vet wearing a tee shirt.  Christie, whose leaving will be all security, black SUVs, and choppers for all we know. He’s the Governor, the one with the big mic standing in front of the big flags, and he still has to remind the room that he’s the biggest bigshot there is:

“Damn, man. I’m Governor. Could you just shut up for a second?”