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May 7, 2012
Rutgers-Camden Merger With Rowan University In Doubt
A funny thing happened on the way to the Rutgers-Camden University merger with Rowan University. The Rutgers Board of Trustees voted to reject the merger. Previous LLB coverage of the proposed merger is here. The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that approval by the Board was a necessary action to making it happen. The Board did state in its resolution that it was open to alternatives that included some type of relationship with Rowan.
The New Jersey Star-Ledger has more details on the decision. The paper mentions the politics of the merger, from opposition by Senator Frank Lautenberg, to Governor Christie cutting a deal with George Norcross, a Democratic political boss who pushed the merger. The real reason for the rejection seems to be that the merger struck fear in the heart of prospective Rutgers-Camden applicants. The law school, for example, had persuaded only 25 students so far to attend classes in the coming fall. The entering class is normally 225 full and part-time day and 45 part-time night seats. Law school applicants are declining, but the school might as well pack it in with those kinds of numbers. One of the ongoing themes in the prospective merger is the history and reputation associated with the Rutgers name. That would have disappeared with the merger. Time for the Governor to come up with Plan B, which hopefully includes the option to leave things the way they are. [MG]
As a faculty member and Director of Faculty Research at Rutgers-Camden Law, let me just correct what is now a very dated statistic: we have recruited well over 100 students for our incoming class to date. It is of course true that the prospect of a merger has created a strong headwind for recruiting, but it's just required us to work harder -- certainly our law school is not about to shutter its doors. We will surely end up with a smaller than usual class, but that too is an eventuality that we were already contemplating. In fact, for various reasons, having a smaller class than usual may well actually improve our prospects.
Posted by: John Oberdiek | May 11, 2012 1:53:10 PM