In a historic day for higher education in New Jersey, both houses of the state Legislature approved a sweeping overhaul today that will break up and merge parts of three of the state’s largest public universities.
Still unsettled, however, was whether Rutgers University’s two governing boards would flex their muscles and block the deal. After days of private meetings with lawmakers, the university’s Board of Governors gathered hastily this morning and offered its lukewarm support on the condition that it retain financial control over the Camden campus.
Within hours, lawmakers added dozens of pages of amendments to satisfy board concerns and put the legislation before the Assembly and Senate for approval — even though no one knew the cost of the plan or how the final details would be received by the 11-member board.
The Assembly was first to vote tonight, approving the overhaul 60-18 without debate. Minutes later the Senate passed the measure 29-9 after about an hour of impassioned comments from both sides of the aisle.