Tonight was the approximately monthly board meeting of the RAA, where the most interesting discussion took place around the NJ Higher Education reorganization plan. While much of the attention surrounding the plan has faded from public view, work in the political arena has continued to move forward, leading to a situation where acceptance of the plan as a concept to implement could occur eas early as January 2004 in the state legislature. For those who don’t know, the plan is to merge several higher education institutions in to three regional universities, in Camden, Newark and New Brunswick. There has apparently been an increase in support in both Camden and Newark, while there remain reservations in New Brunswick, given that of all three it has what it considers the stronger reputation.
Rutgers’ concerns come down to funding and organizational structure. Regarding the structure, the Board of Trustee has always had the ability to hire and remove the Rutgers University President. The fear of the university is that under the reorganization, that power will reside instead in a politically-appointed Chancellor based in Trenton, allowing the political administration of the day to use these appointments as political rewards and not necessarily looking out for the best interest of the higher education system in the state. The second concern revolves around funding, with the concern there being that NJ already ranks 41st out of 50 states in providing funds to public higher education institutions, and the price tag for the reorganization may be anywhere from $1 billion to $3 billion, with the funds necessary to then support the new structure on an ongoing basis in future years.
In other RAA news, anyone interested in volunteering time should check out the orientation meeting on November 5th. The RAA’s always looking for new volunteers, and those who attend get to find out the juicy tidbits like the one above.
In other non-RAA news, the repairs on my car are complete so I hope to be driving home tomorrow with my newly repaired old car. And for those who don’t know, Kill Bill Volume 1 is released in theatres tomorrow.