A preliminary compromise was announced Monday as an alternative to Gov. Chris Christie’s proposed merger of Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University. The alternative plan proposes a combined institution, run by an independent board, that would retain some form of the Rutgers name at a Camden campus.
The compromise plan is the work of a behind-the-scenes group that includes New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney, state Sen. Donald Norcross and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, plus Rutgers President Richard McCormick and Rutgers-Camden Chancellor Wendell Pritchett.
Senator Norcross’ brother George is a powerful South Jersey politician who has been actively promoting Christie’s plan. George Norcross is chairman of the board of Camden’s Cooper University Hospital. The hospital will be home to Rowan’s new medical school.
Norcross and Christie were in Camden yesterday for the groundbreaking of a new cancer institute at Cooper.
Rowan representatives have not been involved in the compromise talks, according to Joe Cardona, associate vice president of university relations. Cardona hopes that some form of merger or collaboration will happen, whether under Christie’s plan or some other plan.
Rutgers-Camden students, faculty and administration have very publicly opposed the loss of the Rutgers name, and on May 3 the board of Rutgers University overwhelmingly voted to reject the merger.