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Rutgers-Rowan Merger Sparks Student Outrage [AUDIO]

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Governor Christie’s plan to create a major research university with a medical school and law school by Rutgers -Camden into Rowan University has students and faculty in an uproar.

The law school and Rutgers School of Business would become part of Rowan under the plan. The combined institution, to be called Rowan University, would be based in Glassboro and Camden.

The proposed merger was among several changes recommended to Christie by a committee that considered ways to improve higher education in New Jersey.

Rowan would take control of the Rutgers-Camden University including its law school. Christie said the reorganization is vital to job growth and economic development.

Today members of the Rutgers-Camden community will discuss the proposed takeover during an open forum to be held on campus.

Michael Weldon, a sophomore business major at Rutgers-Camden said the merger would take away the school’s identity. “If our campus goes…then there will not be a Rutgers facility in south Jersey..just the two in the northern part of the state.”

Rachel Hodge, a freshman biology major said they are not holding rallies to attack students from Rowan. “That is not our case. We are just against becoming Rowan because we are Rutgers.”

Daniel Cook, an associate professor, department of childhood studies said he wishes the governor and administration would do more research before making such a huge change.

“There’s no research, there’s no numbers, there’s no timetable…I am disappointed that we were not brought into the decision making process..the Camden campus is not separate from Rutgers New Brunswick…we are all part of a state school and we feel very much left behind.”

Getting her undergraduate degree in the 1970′s, Jay McKeen said she decided to return to Rutgers ten years ago because of the history and tradition. “Rutgers, means something special inside the State of New Jersey, and outside this state. Rowan is a fine school, and a shorter drive for me, but I wanted be part of Rutgers.”

Jessica Sailey, a senior at Rutgers-Camden, said she was very upset at the Governor’s proposal. “I think the Rutgers name is so invaluable to have. Our name is really international…a lot of schools know who we are and we want to keep that.”

Sailey said if the plan were to move forward she hopes the administration would consider the students feelings. “There needs to be some discussion on this. It affects students, faculty, alumni, taxpayers, and I think we need to have our voices heard.”

The open forum takes place Thursday from 12:20 to 2 p.m at the Gordon Theater, main level, Fine Arts Complex on the Rutgers-Camden campus. Thousands are expected to attend.

Monday, the state Senate and Assembly Higher Education committees plan to hold hearings on the proposed merger.

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