Rutgers' Board of Governors highlight University accomplishments, plans for future at meeting

One of the topics covered at the Board off Governors meeting at Winants Hall on the College Avenue campus on Tuesday was the future construction of a new cancer center in New Brunswick. T
Photo by Photo by Brendan Brightman | The Daily TargumOne of the topics covered at the Board off Governors meeting at Winants Hall on the College Avenue campus on Tuesday was the future construction of a new cancer center in New Brunswick. T

The Rutgers Board of Governors held a meeting yesterday in which University President Robert L. Barchi gave updates on the University’s plans for a new building for Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (RCINJ), a new scheduling system, student scholarships awarded, its budget and faculty contract negotiations, potential Title IX changes and the Big Ideas Campaign. 

NEW BUILDING

RCINJ is planning on building a new cancer center across from its current 225,000 square-foot building in New Brunswick, said Steven Libutti, the director of the institute, vice chancellor of cancer programs at Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences and senior vice president of oncology services at RWJBarnabas Health. 

This new facility will strictly treat cancer patients, and it will offer outpatient care, or care that does not require an overnight stay, Libutti said. It may also cover inpatient care, or treatment that requires a patient to stay overnight. This would make it the first inpatient cancer center in New Jersey. 

RCINJ serves as the cancer treatment leader for the entire state through the Robert Wood Johnson Health System. Libutti said there has been a 10 percent increase in total patients and 12 percent increase in new patients for the system across New Jersey.

Another initiative of RCINJ has been ScreenNJ, which is attempting to increase cancer screening for lung and colon cancer, Libutti said. 

SCHEDULING SYSTEM 

“We have been working to put together a single scheduling system that would look at first-year housing, assignment classes, instructors and scheduling of buses," Barchi said.

This has been a huge process, he said. The University has done two shadow runs, and has decided the system needs to make sure all the faculty preferences are in place and everything works out correctly. 

The system is planned to go live in April. 

STUDENT SCHOLARSHIPS

Rutgers produced 23 Fulbright scholars in the 2018-2019 offerings period, which was the ninth most in the country among research universities and second most among public research universities, Barchi said. This was Rutgers’ 10th straight year in the top 10 producers of Fulbright scholars. 

Only University of Michigan and Northwestern University produced more Fulbright scholars then Rutgers did among the Big Ten, Barchi said. 

One student was awarded a Gates Cambridge scholarship and two students were awarded Schwarzman scholarships, he said. 

BUDGET AND CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

Due to the University reaching its maximum enrollment limit and increased costs due to faculty contract settlements, Barchi said the central offices have absorbed the entirety of these new costs to the budget. This is a budget cut of 1 to 1.5 percent for the offices. 

Now, the focus goes to each campus’ individual chancellors as they work with their schools and deans, he said. 

“We are challenging them to look serious about budgeting in a different way,” Barchi said. “Looking at things that are more entrepreneurial, things that align with our mission but are thinking outside the box.”

Dory Devlin, the senior director of University news and media relations, said to The Daily Targum that agreements have been reached between five of Rutgers’ labor unions. Two of these agreements, with the Teamsters Local 97 and Office & Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 153, brought wage increases between 2018 and 2022 by three percent per year in the first three years and then a 2.5 percent increase in 2022. 

Contract negotiations with the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT) are still ongoing, Barchi said. 

The Targum reported in December that the AAUP-AFT were picketing outside that month’s Board meeting for new faculty contracts, a cost-of-living salary adjustment, salary equity, gender and race equity in hiring, academic freedom and affordable healthcare and education.

“We’re committed to working through and achieving a fair contract with all of our employees,” Barchi said.

TITLE IX CHANGES

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed changes to Title IX compliances, which have been going through an open period of comment from universities nationwide, Barchi said. 

Rutgers has put together a committee with faculty, administration and student representation from all campuses. It has generated a document that represents the response of the community. 

The document addresses the proposed changes, as it voices opposition to the idea of getting rid of the requirement to investigate sexual assault incidents that occur off-campus or during study abroad trips. 

“If that were in place, most of the incidents we deal with would not be considered," Barchi said.

BIG IDEAS CAMPAIGN

Rutgers has launched a Big Ideas Campaign, Barchi said, which devoted $25 million to implement transformative ideas for the Rutgers University—New Brunswick and the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS).

They received approximately 200 responses from faculty and students, and are now in the process of shortening the list to a few ideas.

The ideas are planned to be presented at a 1 to 2-day conference with faculty, alumni, donors and friends. Barchi said the top ideas will then be given to him, Chancellor Christopher J. Molloy and the deans to think about.

These ideas are meant to change the University, its campus and peoples’ overall experience “that can be used to engage our philanthropic supporters in fundraising,” Barchi said.