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Statement from Interim Chancellor Philip Yeagle for NJ State Legislature Committee Hearing

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I am here to bring you a critical message about your legislation from the Newark campus of  Rutgers University, the campus I lead. We have a vision of excellence for our campus that I know you share. Our campus of your university is a rare fusion of academic values: world-class scholarship with access and extraordinary opportunity for students. We are excellence in education, excellence in scholarship and excellence in opportunities for our students. That is a vision worthy of a campus within a  world-class university and it is those values we bring to our students, our faculty, and our communities.  

That vision for our campus is at risk today. The legislation proposes, under the guise of creating more "autonomy" a separate structure for our campus under a new board that offers no benefits to the campus but instead isolates us from the rest of Rutgers University and devalues our campus. These proposals threaten the integrity of the tenure and promotion process, or loss of control over academic programming, or direct engagement with Rutgers University in discussions on budget and capital projects, or force us to assume debt service as an additional burden on our already slim campus budget, any one of which would doom our campus vision and prevent us from fulfilling our mission to our students, our faculty and our communities.  

The Principles statement from Rutgers Boards of June 6, in contrast, is of enormous value to us.  

To fulfill our vision, our campus needs appropriate attention from the Boards and adequate funding, within the overall limitations Rutgers experiences. The Rutgers Boards statement of principles speaks eloquently to those needs.  

To fulfill our vision, the Newark campus must remain an integral part of Rutgers University. The Board's Principles strongly affirm that status.  

I  therefore ask you to remove from the legislation the section creating the additional Board that would irrevocably harm our campus of your state university and diminish the value we represent to our communities of New Jersey.