September 24, 2018 | ° F

Open letter from faculty in support of Barchi

Letter to the Editor

On Sept. 1, 2012, Robert L. Barchi became the 20th president of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. A neuroscientist and medical neurologist, Barchi wrote on the occasion of his appointment, “We need a fundamental change in the way we teach, the way we do research and the way we finance those entities as we move forward.” We applauded this exciting invitation to achieve greater levels of excellence at the University.

Barchi, formerly the president of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, arrived here with a clear vision for the University  — focused on academic excellence, outreach and partnerships and sound fiscal policies. He has provided strong and unwavering support for the restructuring of higher education in New Jersey through the integration of most units of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, as mandated by the 2012 New Jersey Medical and Health Sciences Education Restructuring Act. In the fall of 2012, he joined a statewide coalition of university, business and labor leaders urging voter support of a $750 million bond act for higher education construction, and in December he launched an inclusive university-wide strategic planning process. Barchi is leading the University through a transformation process that will greatly expand our mission of instruction, research and service.

As scientists and as faculty members, we fully support Barchi’s vision and leadership. We believe that we will see enormous new opportunities to excel in the medical, dental and health sciences, bolstered by our existing strengths in basic health science research capabilities. Existing programs at the University and at the University of Medicine and Dentistry will benefit immensely from new synergies with research, teaching and practice in pharmacy, nursing, the life and social sciences, engineering, law and business, the arts and humanities and many other areas of strength. For our students and for the residents of this state, we will create an even more robust institution with far more academic options.

But we know that the road to excellence in higher education is not always a clear path. Priorities differ and controversy is a fact of life. Over the years many of us have argued with one another about the proper place of athletics in university life. But we all agree that abusive behavior and racial and homophobic language have no place at our University. We know Barchi stands with us on this matter.

Barchi shares our long-standing commitment to access and diversity — he embraces these as central values in the state’s premier higher education institution. We all care deeply about building and maintaining a community that respects and celebrates difference and seeks to enhance educational opportunities for citizens of the state.  

A very unfortunate chapter in university life unfolded over the last several days, and the healing process will take time. Given his strong and decisive leadership, we have no doubt that Barchi will address these issues quickly and firmly. We strongly support his continued leadership.


Fifty-four members of the University faculty signed this letter.  Their names are listed below:

Waheed U. Bajwa, PhD

Joseph A. Barone, PharmD

Joan Bennett, PhD

Helen Berman, PhD

Stephen K. Burley, MD, PhD

Kenneth J. Breslauer, PhD

Grigore Burda, PhD

Todd Clear, PhD

John Colaizzi, PhD

Allan Conney, PhD

Richard Ebright, PhD

Yakov Epstein, PhD

Richard Falk, PhD

Thomas Farris, PhD

Randy Gallistel, PhD

Rochel Gelman, PhD

Carol S. Goldin, PhD

Gerald A. Goldin, PhD

Robert Goodman, PhD

Martin Grumet, PhD

Nenad Gucunski, PhD

Robert Heffernan, PhD

Evelyn Hermes DeSantis, PharmD

Marc Holzer, PhD

Longqin Hu, PhD

Roger Jones, PhD

Megerditch Kiledjian, PhD

David Kimball, PhD

Jeffrey C. King, PhD

Joachim Kohn, PhD

Tony Kong, PhD

Carl Kirschner, PhD

Jerome J. Kukor, PhD

Debra Laskin, PhD

Edmund LaVoie, PhD

Ernest Lepore, PhD

Noshir Langrana, PhD

Richard Mammone, PhD

Joachim Messing, PhD

Prabhas Moghe, PhD

Dimitri Metaxas, PhD

Christopher J.  Molloy, PhD

Eileen Murphy, PhD

Fernando Muzzio, PhD

Robert Nolan, PhD

Manish Parashar, PhD

Hoang Pham, PhD

Ronald Quincy, PhD

Pedda Sannuti, PhD

Patrick Sinko, PhD

Jay Tischfield, PhD

Kathryn Uhrich, PhD

Martin Yarmush, MD, PhD

Wise Young, MD, PhD


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