Several hundred people have called on Rutgers University officials to oppose plans to merge the school's Camden campus and Rowan University into a new research university.

Gov. Chris Christie has been pushing the merger idea as part of a broader reconfiguration of the state's higher education system.

But many Rutgers-Camden students, faculty and alumni oppose the proposal because they don't want to lose the prestige of the Rutgers connection.

Numerous merger opponents were among the roughly 650 people who attended the Rutgers Board of Governors' meeting in Camden on Wednesday. It was the board's first meeting since the merger proposal was announced.

Among those speaking at the meeting was Rutgers President Richard McCormick, who reiterated his view that Rowan and Rutgers should work together more, rather than merge.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)