New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney is proposing Rutgers University eliminate its Board of Trustees and transfer its powers to the Board of Governors. Currently, both boards have influence over the university.
Sweeney told the Press he believes too many people are involved in leadership decisions at the State University. The university responded by saying the legislation “violates the legislative contract contained in the Rutgers Act,” further stating the university should be involved in all decisions pertaining to changes in leadership structure.
The Board of Trustees was established in 1766, while the Board of Governors was established in 1956.
Questions arose concerning some of Rutgers’ leadership practices following the hiring of Julie Hermann as the school’s new Athletic Director, as well as the dismissal of former AD Tim Pernetti. There has also been questions concerning the merger of Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry New Jersey (UMDNJ).
The bill introduced on Tuesday, in part, amends plans to establish advisory boards for the New Brunswick and Newark campuses, and a Board of Directors for Rutgers-Camden, effective Monday, July 1.
In New Brunswick and Newark, the advisory boards will work with their chancellors “in implementing the teaching, research, and service mission” of their campus, as well as the engagement of the campus with its local community, its region, and the State, and its commitment to academic excellence, access, and diversity.”
Previous versions of the bill called for the Board of Trustees to be involved in the selection of these board members, but the bill introduced on Tuesday removed that stipulation.
In Newark, the board is to be made up of 13 members, including the campus’ Chancellor, a member of the board of governors (no longer selected by the Board of Trustees and no longer required to be an Essex County resident), two faculty members, a member of the administration, a staff member, two student representatives, three community representatives, and two public members who are residents of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Morris, Passaic, Union, Sussex, or Warren counties.
The New Brunswick board will have a similar makeup, minus the two public members. It will consist of 11 members.
The Camden Board of Directors was to feature 10 members, but that provision was reduced to eight to eliminate the two Board of Trustees appointees. That board is made up of the Chancellor, three members appointed by the Board of Governors, four residents of Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, or Salem counties, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate.
The bill also amends the selection process for the Board of Governors, which is made up of a President, who is a non-voting member and 15 voting members. Seven of those members were previously appointed by the Board of Trustees; now all members will be appointed by the governor, with the advice of the Senate.
It eliminates all references to the Board of Trustees throughout Rutgers University by-laws.
Bill A4315 is the companion bill, and is set to go for a second reading in front of the Assembly, according to the state legislature’s website.
For the full story, visit the Asbury Park Press.
To read the text of the bill, click here.