Rutgers students, president oppose Rowan takeover

Monday, February 06, 2012

Students raised signs - and their voices - at a rally this afternoon to make it clear they oppose Governor Chris Christie's plan to have Rowan University take over Rutgers-Camden and operate the campuses in Glassboro and Camden under the name Rowan University.

Students also brought their objections to Trenton today, protesting outside a legislative hearing on the merger which is designed to create a major research university in South Jersey.

"I oppose this because I'm a student of the law school and the Rutgers name is known throughout the entire nation. The Rowan name is not known even in North Jersey," student Erin Mitchell said.

"We all came here for a reason. If we all wanted to go to Rowan we would have picked Rowan in the first place. We chose Rutgers because we love Rutgers," student Wayne Caprio said.

Rowan University Interim President Dr. Ali Houshmand says he understands Rutgers students may be upset but he welcomes the merger, saying, "the designation as a research university would bring research dollars and business to South Jersey."

"We will end up having a vibrant, world-class institution that will impact not only the economy, but help keep the best and the brightest of our high school graduates in here," Houshmand said.

But Rutgers officials object. The university has invested over $100-million in its Camden campus during the last five years and the president says the statewide university should have a statewide presence.

"We wouldn't have invested in it, recruited students to it, built its schools and colleges, we wouldn't have done all those things without a conviction Rutgers-Camden is an intrinsic part of the state university of New Jersey," Rutgers University President Richard McCormick said.

Reports are that the governor plans to force the merger through executive action. But some at Rutgers-Camden argue that's not legal and are talking about a possible lawsuit.

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