Rowan Senate affirms autonomy

Like their counterparts at Rutgers-Camden, Rowan University's faculty has formally declared opposition to a key component of proposed legislation to restructure the relationship between the two institutions.

The University Senate voted 38-2 Friday to approve a resolution declaring, in part, that a proposed joint Rowan-Rutgers governing board should not govern anything other than new collaborations between the two campuses, which should continue to govern themselves. The Senate represents more than 700 teaching professionals and other employees.

"They reaffirmed what our Board of Trustees (voted) Monday," said Joe Cardona, associate vice president of university relations. The public, he added, "hasn't heard anything from our faculty, and they (are now) saying, 'we're here, and we need to be listened to.' And we respect the fact that they came out and made a statement."

Friday's vote makes unanimous the official positions taken by the trustees as well as the faculties of both institutions.  In January, Gov. Christie announced that Rutgers-Camden would be absorbed into a single South Jersey super-university under the Rowan banner, sparking a grassroots rebellion that has yet to abate. 

Adam Scales, a professor of law at Rutgers-Camden, noted wryly that the faculties have now accomplished a meeting of the minds preferable to "the merger that was to be forced down our throats." He also predicted the Rowan vote would have an impact on the legislature's mad rush to craft a new and more politically palatable proposal by Christie's July 1 deadline.

"I think it is extraordinarily difficult to push through (something) to which everyone affected objects," Scales said. "The collaborations and joint ventures the proponents say they want can be done by the institutions working independently."