Christie approves Board of Trustees restructuring, ends power struggle
Gov. Chris Christie signed a bill on Feb. 6 approving a reduction in the number of voting members serving on the Rutgers Board of Trustees, removing 13 positions concurrently serving the Board of Governors and five additional trustee positions through attrition.
The New Jersey Senate and General Assembly voted in favor of restructuring the Board of Trustees in mid-December with the approval of both of the University’s governing boards on Dec. 18, according to a previous article in The Daily Targum.
According to nj.com, Gov. Christie signed the overhaul of University governance this past Thursday, presumably ending a lengthy power struggle between lawmakers in Trenton and Rutgers governance.
The purging of 18 positions on the BOT, reducing the board from 59 to 41 voting members, will be carried out by cutting BOG committee membership in half, according to The Daily Targum.
The board’s downsizing will not compromise the quality of discussion amongst board members, said Sandy Stewart, chair of the BOT, in a January 2015 interview with The Daily Targum.
“It makes [the process] more effective by really allowing everyone to have a say in things,” he said. “The more people that can introduce their thoughts, the better decision that’s going to come out of it.”
Christie’s actions on Feb. 6 signified the end of a multi-year sequence of threats by state lawmakers, most notably Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D–3).
Echoing Stewart, Sweeney told nj.com that the restructuring of both governing boards, particularly the BOT, would improve the decision-making processes of Rutgers governance.
“Rutgers is a world-class research university that provides its students with a quality education and contributes to academic excellence and economic growth in New Jersey,” he told nj.com. “An improved governance structure will enhance their ability to make continued progress."
The overhaul of Rutgers governance will give greater consideration to the student voice, said Francine Glaser, undergraduate BOT representative for the Rutgers University Student Assembly.
In a recent interview for The Daily Targum, she said the addition of three student charter trustees would create more room for student input with administrative decision-making.
“All students on the board will still be able to give their input,” she said. “Students will now have a slightly larger opportunity to give input ... the changes will not have negative impacts for students.”
In light of Christie’s approval of the overhaul, Stewart told nj.com he was pleased with the outcome.
“Rutgers is committed to making the changes necessary to maintain and improve our position as one of the world's finest research universities,” he said.
Dan Corey is a Rutgers Business School first-year student majoring in Journalism and Media Studies and Pre-Business. He is an Acting Associate News Editor of The Daily Targum. Follow @_dancorey for more stories.