State Commission of Investigation Cites Rutgers – Board Silences Public

In October of 2007, the State of New Jersey Commission of Investigation released its report titled “Vulnerable to Abuse – The Importance of Restoring Accountability, Transparency and Oversight to Public Higher Education Governance”  click here to view and print the report

Among other things, the report highlighted the administration’s stonewalling of state investigators.  The report essentially concludes that Rutgers’ financial affairs are in a state of utter chaos, the administration’s spending has been freewheeling and financial decisions have been made without public transparency or disclosure.  The State Commission report prescribes a number of reforms designed to prevent a repeat of the UMDNJ financial disaster at Rutgers and certain other New Jersey colleges.  Rutgers doesn’t want to hear it – President McCormick has essentially dismissed the report saying that, if you read it carefully, it’s not as bad as it sounds and, outside of some accounting system improvements, the suggested changes don’t make sense.  He also questioned whether the legislature has the political will to implement the changes anyway. Click here to hear President McCormick’s comments on the State Commision of Investigation report. 

Rutgers Board of Governors met on Thursday, December 6, 2007.  The SCI report was not on the agenda.  Nevertheless, President McCormick and other board members continued to tout the $100 million+ stadium expansion project and describe their plans to get the necessary money. 

Contrary to historic practice, the Board refused to allow public comment at the meeting.  When Fran McGovern rose to address the Board on the SCI report, he was gavelled down but kept speaking, asking to know why the SCI report was not on the agenda, why the financial mess has not been addressed and why the Board was silencing the public.   Click here to review the Home News Tribune’s article .  Click here to review The Record’s article .  Click here to review the Star Ledger’s article .

Ruling with impunity, Rutgers’ administration has shown little regard for the students and parents who pay the tuition, little regard for the State of New Jersey when it attempted to find out how the University was spending state money and little regard for the taxpayers, benefactors and alumni who are paying the bills.  

Rutgers administration never ceases crying to Trenton for more money but they refuse to account for the money already received.  Giving more money to Rutgers is a losing proposition.  The alumni, students, parents, legislators and tax payers must clean up Rutgers first. 

Rutgers exists to educate New Jersey’s students.  Although intercollegiate athletic competition is a valuable educational tool, neither Rutgers’ over-hyped, but pretty good, football team nor any other athletic program should serve as cover for irresponsible, self-serving and secretive mismanagement.

New Jersey’s taxpayers can be certain that if Rutgers administration is not held responsible for the financial shenanigans of the past five years and the stadium expansion moves forward, next on the list will be replacing the RAC (The Louis Brown Athletic Center) and coaches, trainers and administrators will continue lining their pockets on the backs of the unpaid, young, often poor, often less educated and often minority football and basketball athletes.