TRENTON – Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz, Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin and Assemblywoman Shanique Speight sent a letter today to the Rutgers Board of Governors expressing their opposition to the proposed merger of New Jersey Medical School in Newark and the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick. The text of the letter is below:
Dear Chairman Best and Rutgers Board of Governors,
We, the Legislative Delegation of the New Jersey Legislature’s 29th district, strongly oppose the proposed merger of the New Jersey Medical School in Newark with the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick. In our opposition, we join the faculty, the students, and community groups who oppose the merger.
We believe that such a merger would undermine the historical significance of the New Jersey Medical School and go against the spirit of the Newark Agreements, which were enacted into statute under Governor Cahill. We want to emphasize that our opposition to this merger does not stem from a resistance to the evolution of higher education or healthcare in Newark. On the contrary, we have been supportive of and embraced the advancements in these fields within our city. The New Jersey Medical School serves a vital role in providing the residents of Newark with access to high-quality healthcare services that address the social determinants of health. Especially considering the current Covid-19 pandemic, the commitment to healthcare is more pertinent than ever before.
The existence of separate medical schools in Newark and New Brunswick has allowed each institution to thrive and succeed independently. However, merging these schools would likely result in a disproportionate allocation of resources, with increased investment in New Brunswick at the expense of Newark. As Senator Ruiz pointed out to President Holloway at the Senate Budget hearing on this year’s budget, New Brunswick is getting an additional $260 million while $40 million will be divided between Rutgers Camden and Rutgers Newark. This is consistent with previous actions which is why we fear the same will be the future for the New Jersey Medical School.
Members of the University had reached out to us to discuss the future of New Jersey Medical School, but never once indicated that the discussion included a merger. As members of the Board of Governors entrusted with the responsibility of decision-making for the State’s University, we firmly believe that it is your duty to act in the best interests of both the State and the University, while adhering to the laws and agreements that govern these institutions. Considering these considerations, we urge the Board of Governors to delay the vote or vote against the approval of this merger.
Senate Majority Leader M. Teresa Ruiz
Assemblywoman Eliana Pintor Marin
Assemblywoman Shanique Speight