Rutgers U. Adopts Grim Budget to Deal With State Cuts

July 16, 2006

New Jersey’s state government solved its budget impasse last weekend in part by slashing funds for higher education by up to $150-million, and among the hardest-hit institutions were the Garden State’s four-year colleges (The Chronicle, July 10).

On Friday, the Board of Governors of the most prominent of those institutions—Rutgers University—announced how it had closed a nearly $66-million gap that had suddenly opened in the three-campus system’s budget. The board voted to raise tuition by 8 percent, the maximum the state Legislature permitted, and to cut programs and jobs left and right.

According to The Star-Ledger, a newspaper in Newark, N.J., Rutgers will kill 750 jobs, through attritition, layoffs, and nonrenewal of contracts. Some 400 of the job cuts will affect part-time adjunct positions, but teaching assistants and unspecified other faculty and staff posts will also be eliminated. As a result, almost 800 courses will not be offered, raising the possibility that many students will not be able to graduate on time, even if they can afford to pay the sharply higher tuition and fees.

Rutgers also imposed a salary freeze on senior officials, cut library hours, and reduced six varsity sports to club status. According to The Star-Ledger, on the chopping block are men’s heavyweight and lightweight crew, men’s and women’s fencing, men’s swimming and diving, and men’s tennis. Members of those teams will be permitted to keep their athletics scholarships, however.