Barchi says this will be his last year as Rutgers president

<p>University President Robert L. Barchi will step down after this upcoming academic year.</p>

University President Robert L. Barchi will step down after this upcoming academic year.

University President Robert L. Barchi will be stepping down from his position at Rutgers after the upcoming academic year to return as a university professor, he said to the Board of Governors during their meeting today, according to a press release.

Arriving in 2012, Barchi’s tenure has seen highs and lows. The University successfully expanded its umbrella of education with the integration of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) and creation of honors colleges at the New Brunswick and Newark campuses while under his leadership, which was also marred with student protests, lengthy union negotiations and athletic scandals. 

“Under Bob Barchi’s leadership, Rutgers’ national rankings have risen, research at Rutgers has expanded overall and in critical areas, our student academic profile has enjoyed dramatic improvement, and the physical face of Rutgers has been forever changed,” said Board of Governors chair Mark Angelson, according to the release. “We are delighted with his leadership and we are grateful that he will lead Rutgers for an eighth and final year.”

Now, with Barchi’s resignation effective June 30, 2020, the University will begin a search for a replacement. Which “will include outreach to all University faculty, students, staff and alumni, will be announced in the coming weeks,” Angelson said, according to the release. 

The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) President Jhanvi Virani said in a statement to The Daily Targum: “We the Assembly greatly appreciate everything Barchi has given to building a better Rutgers. I really hope this can be an opportunity for administration to gauge and consider student input in the search process. I know former RUSA President Justin Schulberg was on the search committee after Chancellor (Richard) Edwards left. I'd strongly suggest the Board of Governors include student stakeholders from New Brunswick, Newark, Camden and RBHS.”

RUSA believes Barchi set a dangerous precedent when he permanently appointed Chancellor of Rutgers University—New Brunswick Christopher J. Molloy in February without formal student input, which “I consider to be counter to the culture of inclusivity which the University so openly boasts,” former RUSA President Suzanne Link said at the time, according to the Targum.

While rumors had been going around about Barchi stepping down from his position after his contract, Virani said she was not formally informed before the official announcement Tuesday.

“I look forward to your continued support during the coming year, and I will lend whatever assistance I can in seeking the next president of this great institution,” Barchi said in an email to the Rutgers community this afternoon.

The search process for Barchi’s predecessor — former University President Richard McCormick — spanned seven months, costing the University $279,000. The search committee was an approximately 20-member group headed by Greg Brown, a Board of Governors member and current chairman and CEO of Motorola Solutions, according to NJ Advance Media.

And, while McCormick stepped down to become the highest-paid professor at the University at the time with a paycheck of $335,000 a year, it has not yet been announced what teaching position or benefits Barchi will receive in his new role as professor. 

During the year he has left, Barchi will still deal with issues facing the University, including ongoing negotiations and disagreements with the Rutgers American Association of University Professors and American Federation of Teachers (AAUP-AFT).

“We expect that President Barchi will complete his unfinished business, including finally settling the contract and equalizing policies for the hundreds of unionized medical school faculty on the Biomedical and Health Sciences campuses who have been working without a contract for over a year now," said Todd Wolfson, an associate professor in the Department of Journalism and Media Studies. "If President Barchi wants to leave a positive legacy, he has thousands of faculty ready to partner for better affordability, a vigorous response to our current climate crisis and a stronger, fairer Rutgers for all. A tuition freeze vote this week by the Board of Governors would be a fitting start to President Barchi’s final year in office."

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