TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale which would urge Rutgers University to retain Douglass College as a four-year women’s college was approved by the Senate Education Committee today by a vote of 3-0, with one abstention, following a Statehouse rally by Douglass alums and State legislators supporting the college.
“Douglass College has played a major part in preparing women for leadership roles in New Jersey and throughout the country,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “Throughout its history, the College’s mission has changed with the changing status of women in our society, but there is still so much to be done, and Douglass’s work is far from complete. Restructuring Rutgers University to fold Douglass into their larger gen-ed picture would be a disservice to efforts empowering women in New Jersey.”
The resolution, SR-26, is in response to recent recommendations by the Task Force on Undergraduate Education at Rutgers University to merge Douglass College with Rutgers College, Livingston College and University College. Currently, Douglass retains its own Board of Trustees, that serve in an advisory role to the Rutgers University Board, and maintains its own separate college identity, though the College is part of the Rutgers University system. Douglass College is the only all-woman public college in the country.
“Removing all that has made Douglass unique would be a great setback to women’s equality in the Garden State,” said Senator Vitale. “Douglass has long been at the forefront of promoting women into areas where a female voice has been lacking. By removing their separate identity as the nation’s only public all-woman college, we’d be crippling Douglass College’s ability to advocate for the specific and unique needs of their students.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration. An identical resolution was approved by the General Assembly today by a vote of 75-0.