Tag Archive: merger

Lautenberg visiting Rutgers Camden

promoted by Rosi

Senator Frank Lautenberg will be visiting the Rutgers Camden campus today to discuss the impending jump in student loan interest rates. Obviously there will be discussions on the proposed merger as his decision to come to this campus is surely related to his previously expressed concerns regarding the lack of details and backroom dealings of this merger.

I plan on tweeting from the conference which begins today at noon @endangrdraptr.

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.

Christie Playbook: The Overreach

Governor Christie is always reminding us that he’s the governor. If you watch his town halls or television appearances and count the number of times he does this, you will quickly run out of fingers. We get it, Chris. You’re “in charge.” We know.

But perhaps he needs to insert a word into this meme he’s created, and start saying “I’m ONLY the governor.” Because his actions over the past few years indicate that when it comes to power, Chris Christie always seems to want more. The latest example can be observed in his plan to merge Rowan and Rutgers. Shooting first and asking questions only if someone makes him, Christie now plainly admits his tendency to act despite the law. He admits  that he doesn’t even know for sure if his plan is legal.

 Is this a pattern? You bet:

– His attempted elimination of COAH was illegal.

– His refusal to fund the state’s most troubled schools was illegal.

 – His early intention to unilaterally reopen government worker contracts in 2010 was squashed by his lawyers; it would have been illegal.

These examples of over-reaching are the ones involving illegality. Of course, there’s also the wide range of over-reaching that may be legal but is nonetheless unseemly. There are plenty of examples: He scuttled at $400M education grant in order to sustain his fight with teachers and the NJEA. He goes from zero to asshat in seconds, barfing insults at women, men, student “drug mules,” legislators, Navy Seals, teachers, or anyone else who disagrees with him without cowering in fear. And of course, there was the unilateral canceling of ARC.

More. More. More.

 

A response to the Norcross Promise of a New Era

promoted by Rosi, with thanks to Tom Knoche

Tom Knoche is a Part-Time Lecturer in Urban Studies at Rutgers Camden and author of Common Sense for Camden, a layperson’s guide to the Norcross machine and how it controls Camden. If you want to gain a better understanding of the Norcross/Camden history and connection, I recommend his book.

He has given me permission to post his letter that was written in response to an op-ed that appeared in the Courier Post on 2/1/12.

The Courier chose not to publish his response, and I feel that it is very important that this response be shared.

George Norcross’s “College merger could serve as promise of a new era” op-ed piece in the Courier-Post (2/1/2012) provides the usual development cheer leading that politicos always use to advance their pet projects, and that is rarely based on any serious analysis of the issues, costs and benefits involved. They never answer the crucial questions: Who benefits? and Who pays? It reminds us of so many development initiatives that never lived up to the promises and the hype. St. Lawrence Cement, Camden’s waterfront, Camden’s state takeover, and the hockey arena that led to the demise of the Pennsauken Mart are all painful local examples. Mr. Norcross enthusiastically supported and lobbied for all of them.

There are some serious contradictions in Mr. Norcross’s sales pitch. He argues that this merger and consolidation will result in new investment and more jobs. But aren’t consolidations touted these days to save money, reduce jobs, and break union contracts? He points to quite incredible increases in the size of the Rutgers-Camden and Rowan campuses. Why is consolidation necessary for this growth? Haven’t they been growing on their own? He points to NJ’s reduction in state education spending, now down to 47th out of 50 states. What does that have to do with this merger? Hasn’t a shift in state politics caused those cuts, engineered in part by Mr. Norcross’s new best friend, Republican Governor Christie?

Counter-point to Norcross’ viewpoint, continues below the fold …

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.

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.

Defend Rutgers: Communicating Rutgers Identity 101

This video was developed by the writer for a class assignment in Rutgers Master of Communication and Information Studies program. We’re hearing a lot of Rutgers exceptionalism; well-deserved. We’re also interested in hearing from Rowan University students and community members. – promoted by Rosi

This video is a little experiment that I put together to help tell the Rutgers story during a time of significant transition.

Rutgers is one of the few institutiuons that reaches all parts of New Jersey and is one of only 59 universities in the country that is a member of the prestigious American Association

Yet, Rutgers has never recieved the in-state support that other large public, flagship universities, like Penn State, Indiana, Wisconsin and Virginia regularly recieve.

Now the Rutgers-Camden campus is being used as a pawn in the long overdue reorganization of medical education in the state while a nationwide search for a new Rutgers  president is underway.

New Jersey needs a robust flagship public university as part of it’s economy and public life.  

Help Defend Rutgers and help us tell the Rutgers story to key leaders across the state.

Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger approved by UK agency, but Pascrell says they don’t have the power

Reversing an earlier ruling, the United Kingdom’s Competition Committee yesterday cleared the way for Ticketmaster and Live Nation to merge:

The British commission originally ruled against the merger because it would prevent another company, CTS Eventim, from entering the British market. Since that October announcement, however, the commission said the partners provided evidence showing CTS Eventim would not be harmed.

Congressman Pascrell wasn’t pleased with the ruling and questioned whether they really had the power:

“The commission clearly states that the deal it sanctioned today allows Ticketmaster to remove a major competitor in the ticket services market in the United States, but that finding is not within the scope of their authority,” said Pascrell. “While in the United Kingdom they only control about 50 percent of the market, the two companies combined control between 70 to 80 percent of the market here.”

The merger still needs the approval of the Justice Department and Canadian officials.

The Ledger Live looks at the failed Sussex/Wantage merger

The latest merger to stop before it gets started is the one between the towns of Sussex and Wantag. When put to the voters, it failed locally by a 3-1 margin:

“If it wasn’t going to happen here, I wonder if it’s going to happen anywhere,” said Sal Lagattuta, one of the proponents.

It seemed like a natural candidate for a merger, but the people said they wanted to keep their identity, their name and that they didn’t mind paying more to do it. Brian Donohue had this video over at the Ledger Live:

We wrote last week about how the Medford Lakes council didn’t even put it to their voters before squashing a proposed merger to share police services, not even merge the whole town. This will be a thorny issue for the new Governor to navigate, but one that if he’s being real about changing the way we do business needs to receive some serious consideration. Brian Donohue asked this:

Will Christie have to push even harder to overcome New Jerseyans’ love for home rule?

The answer is yes he will have to push even harder, but the follow up question is will he actually do the pushing necessary?