Testimony disputes Gov.’s power to reorg Rutgers

GLASSBORO – A Rutgers Camden alumnus today said the power over the proposed merger with Rowan University rests with the Legislature, not with any executive order from the Governor.

Timothy Farrow, treasurer of the Rutgers University Alumni Association, told a joint Senate/Assembly Higher Education Committee at Rowan here that the recent court ruling that overturned the governor’s attempt to abolish the Council on Affordable Housing relied on the same legal basis.

“It’s right on line with what we are talking about here,’’ Farrow told the state lawmakers. “The power is in the hands of the Legislature.’’

He told the committee that the law is clear that no executive order could force this reorganization.

His remarks came during a public hearing featuring approximately 50 witnesses commenting on the state commission recommendations that Rowan merge with Rutgers Camden.

Witnesses often raised one issue: that this reorganization seems to be a foregone conclusion by the administration.

Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, (D-38), Paramus, said that if this merger would be done to cut costs and share services she could understand that. “I feel the plan came before the facts, and that is what I am struggling with,’’ she said.

Many opponents testified against the proposed Rowan/Rutgers Camden merger.

Students, faculty, alumni and officials of Rutgers decried the state proposal as a move that would devastate Rutgers’ world-class status.

Elizabeth Kilborn, a Rutgers Camden student, said Gov. Christie has not been raising taxes. “Who do you think will pay for this merger,” she asked Rowan students. “You will, through your tuition.”

And fellow Rutgers Camden student Erin Kerr said the new entity would have trouble competing with already established institutions. “Professors do not come with this merger,’’ she said.

  Testimony disputes Gov.’s power to reorg Rutgers