Christie fast-tracking Rutgers-Rowan merger?

All that pushback against the proposed shotgun wedding of Rutgers-Camden and Rowan universities?


Chris Christie can’t be bothered with public opinion and other trifles.

He’s got the merger and the related University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) reorganization on a fast track, complete with a July 1 deadline.

The governor’s timetable, described during a joint legislative committee hearing Tuesday, startled some in the audience. 

But it should come as no surprise: Last week Christie commanded reporters to “stop asking this question” about the forced divorce between Rutgers-Camden and the rest of the state university system.

“The merger’s gonna go through,” the governor declared. “I’m following the (Barer) commission’s recommendations because it’s what’s best for the state of New Jersey.”

Andrew Shankman, an associate professor of history at Rutgers-Camden and a fierce opponent of the merger, was having none of it Wednesday.

"It's becoming clear that the more time people take to look at the South Jersey part of the proposal the more they realize what a terrible idea it is," Shankman says via email. "The State Bar Association now opposes it, every Rutgers campus opposes it, the Camden County Bar Association opposes it. An Eagleton poll shows 71% of South Jersey and 57% of the full state opposes Rowan taking over Rutgers-Camden.

"I think someone threatens executive order when he's beginning to fear the democratic process won't go his way."