June 26, 2019 | 82° F

Better, high-quality leadership is needed to restore U. integrity

Letter to the Editor

To the Rutgers Community:

My grandfather, Antonio, left Naples for Newark in 1902. He arrived on Garside Street with $20 and determination. Nearly seven decades later, I graduated from Rutgers College — the first in Antonio‚Äôs lineage to do so.

That Rutgers degree became my ticket to a vastly broader, wider and richer world than my family could ever have imagined. I have proudly carried it and my New Jersey roots with me in a career that has quite literally spanned the globe.

Now I find myself deeply concerned for my alma mater and embarrassed by its leadership. With numerous achievements and much to celebrate, its fate seems entrusted to leaders unable to remove the tarnish. In fact, those leaders seem best at extending the tarnish.

Rutgers University is a unique institution. It has a history unlike any other university in the United States. It provides high quality education, at something approximating a reasonable cost. That education enables students to move up … bringing their families and our society with them.

This great institution deserves much better support and leadership than it has been extended. We should be recognizing its academic achievements and advances. Instead, from the Governor down, those entrusted with its care and its reputation have been tone deaf, ham handed and aloof. Its board, its president, its faculty and its administrators have spent more time looking to score points against each other than they have working together on solutions.

It is time Rutgers has leaders in place who understand the institution and have strong ties to the State of New Jersey and its state university. We need more Eddie Jordans and fewer Robert Barchis. We need leaders who truly bleed Scarlet and have the best interests of the institution at heart because it means more to them than a title and a paycheck.

Rutgers, like New Jersey, has to stop acting second rate when it is demonstrably not. Rutgers leaders must have pride, connection and commitment. Rutgers leaders must lead or leave.

Thomas G. Mattia is a Rutgers College graduate of 1970.

Thomas G. Mattia

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