Where the Buck Stopped

June 28, 2008

As a gusher of cash cascades into Rutgers football, the university is funding academics at lower and lower rates — thus the school’s plummet into the nether reaches of US News & World Reports’ ranking of public universities (Rutgers is 20 among publics and falling).

Money still talks — and at Rutgers its absence (save for football, where there is a reckless $100+ million stadium expansion plan and the coach with a lifetime losing record now is the state of New Jersey’s highest paid public worker) is why the university’s academics are increasingly silent.

Here is how grave the situation is — and why we are there in the first place: “Our education system has already been impacted by budget difficulties. Over three years, New Jersey’s colleges and universities have lost $266 million in funding. The proposed 2009 budget provides Rutgers with less than we received 11 years ago. During that same time, the state budget doubled and Rutgers’ enrollment grew by 4,000 students,” writes Michael Palis, interim dean of the Rutgers-Camden Faculty of Arts and Sciences, in a Philadelphia Inquirer op-ed.

In the 2009 New Jersey budget, Rutgers is slated to lose another $38 million in funding — and that will translate into yet more deferred maintenance, more teacher layoffs, more classes canceled.

All of this is why Rutgers now ranks #117 in the new index of universities issued by the Center for College Affordability & Productivity. Rutgers simply has become a very bad buy — roughly comparable to the University of Dayton. The once proud public ivy has become a weed.

The message for New Jersey’s high school seniors, the Class of 2009, is stark: Plan to go out of state for a quality higher education. You just won’t find it in New Jersey.

Down $38 Million

March 17, 2008

$38 million — that’s how much the Rutgers budget will be cut, if the Corzine budget plan is enacted, according to this story in the Home News & Tribune.  “It’s going to mean, unfortunately, a lesser education for our students who deserve better,” economics professor Norman Glickman is quoted in the story.

No mention of the cuts we might expect to see in the athletics department budget, however.  Not a word.

The proofs mount: this is an administration that cares only about sweat, not about academics.

Sacrificing Scholarship for Sweat: The McCormick Presidency in Crisis

March 14, 2008

The new Rutgers budget will certainly involve significant cuts in spending on academics.  We are expecting to see similar — indeed larger — cuts in the budgets for the money-losing “revenue sports” (talk about a misnomer) which means football and basketball (men’s and women’s).   

Will we be disappointed?

Time will answer that question but, for now, let’s put president Dick McCormick on notice.  If academics are cut but football and basketball are not, your administration will forever more be known as the one that sacrified scholarship for sweat.

The Rutgers 1000 will be watching.