Rutgers’ Releases Report on Governance

Christie Duffy

It’s been completed since December, but until now, the report prepared by Rutgers’ joint task force on governance has only been seen by a select few.

“The university is a public institution. It is paid for by the taxpayers of New Jersey and they are entitled to know what is going on,” said Senate Higher Education Committee member Sen. Robert Singer.

The report questions the skill sets of governing board appointees, as well as the size of the board of trustees.

“The Trustees are a very unruly group. It’s 90 members,” said Singer.

“A board of this size makes it difficult to maintain confidentiality,” states report findings.

In addition, the report recommends expanding confidentiality agreements to include support staff, not just board members.

Sen. President Steve Sweeney has been at odds with Rutgers leadership over the scandal involving ex-coach Mike Rice and the UMDNJ Merger.

“If you don’t think Rutgers needs to be reformed, it’s crazy,” said Sweeney.

And now over transparency, Sweeney has introduced a bill that would add members appointed by politicians to Rutgers’ Governing Board, taking it from 15 to 19 members.

It’s a move Rutgers leadership call a “power grab” and one that prompted trustees to call an emergency meeting last week.

“There is only one agenda item for today’s meeting and that is a discussion of Senate Bill number 1860,” said Rutgers’ Board Secretary Leslie Fehrenbach.

Republicans voted against Sweeney’s bill in committee, which passed with all Democratic votes.

“I would say we’re putting the cart before the horse. Lets put more members on the Board of Governors, that’s gonna solve the problem. Why not change the bill and say lets do a study having everybody at the table? And then come out with a comprehensive plan,” said Singer.

As for this plan– Rutgers reportedly didn’t release it because they were unsure if all recommendations enclosed will be adopted.

Sweeney’s bill– which would give him and the speaker one more appointment each to Rutgers Governing Board heads to the full Senate for a vote tomorrow.