TRENTON – The reaction to U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s criticism of the proposed merger of Rowan University and Rutgers-Camden continued late today, with the governor’s office responding to the federal lawmaker’s actions.
“The intention of the merger plan is to create medical and research centers of excellence in north, central and south Jersey that can compete with, even eclipse other education institutions competing for research dollars, prestige, top educators and top students,” Gov. Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said via email.
“From his letter, it looks like Senator Lautenberg has chosen not to be a positive participant in strengthening New Jersey’s higher education institutions. Instead he’s engaged in this peculiar, over-the-top correspondence full of unsupported innuendo and political vindictiveness.
“It’s also odd that Senator Lautenberg, who is generally absent from higher education issues in New Jersey, is parachuting in now in this way.”
Lautenberg had sent a letter to federal Education Secretary Arne Duncan expressing concerns over the deal.
That prompted responses and criticism from several quarters, including Senate President Steve Sweeney and South Jersey Democratic leader George Norcross III.
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“The new agenda is charter schools. It’s a profit-making business. $500 million will not be in our hands. The school board is an advisory board. We are not going to tell the governor to unleash the dollars. Don’t be fooled. It’s not abracadabra. It’s politics.” - Paterson Mayor Jeff Jones- PolitickerNJ.com
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