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U. departments must not be jeopardized


<p>Students rally outside Gordon Theater on the Camden campus Feb. 15 in protest of a proposed merger between Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University. Is a merger really in the state’s best interest?</p>

Students rally outside Gordon Theater on the Camden campus Feb. 15 in protest of a proposed merger between Rutgers-Camden and Rowan University. Is a merger really in the state’s best interest?

The Graduate Student Organization of the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers-Camden stands in unified and vehement opposition to the proposed takeover of Rutgers-Camden by Rowan University. The Camden campus offers significant enrichment opportunities for University students and the larger South Jersey community through its courses, degree programs and community outreach. Amputating the Camden campus from the University would effectively nullify the ability of the campus to continue in its historic mission of serving South Jersey residents.

The forced separation of Rutgers-Camden from The State University of New Jersey would be a disastrous blow to higher education in South Jersey. Residents of South Jersey would be denied access to the world-class research university they now enjoy. The development of Rowan into a research university eligible for Association of American Universities accreditation, comparable to the University’s current status, may take decades to achieve and cost untold millions of dollars to taxpayers. Without a university that has the infrastructure, resources and worldwide reputation of the University, South Jersey would be unable to attract reputable research faculty, funding and students like those currently found on the Camden campus. The dearth of resources would, in turn, lead to the cessation of cutting-edge research in Camden and an unnecessary loss of human capital from South Jersey as faculty depart for opportunities elsewhere.

The Department of Childhood Studies holds the distinction of being the only doctoral program of its kind in North America and is recognized as a peer program in this new, innovative international field. We have drawn international attention, accolades and scholars to New Jersey because of our acclaimed faculty, research and networking strengths. Our department has garnered esteem from colleagues around the world, which benefits both the University and the state. Our emphasis on applied scholarship, in turn, improves the lives of children and youth in Camden, throughout New Jersey and abroad. The proposed merger into a lesser-known teaching university that lacks the resources and reputation of the University now threatens all of these assets.

We therefore support the proposed consortium model by which Rutgers-Camden, Rowan, Cooper Medical School and all other South Jersey academic entities would work collaboratively to share resources. This would enable each to benefit and thrive from each other’s strengths, while allowing each to maintain its independence, culture, accreditation and mission for the benefit of all of New Jersey.

Patrick Cox is a PhD student at the Department of Child Studies.

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