Proponents of a plan to overhaul New Jersey's higher education system are considering last-minute changes to the measure that would help solidify legislative support before final votes are taken Thursday.

Legislative leaders were meeting Wednesday with representatives of the governor's office, presumably to discuss additional amendments.

Rutgers University's trustees have threatened to sue if the bill takes away their authority over the Camden or Newark campus.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie and Democratic Party leader George Norcross III both support the plan to break up the University of Medicine and Dentistry and transfer the medical school to Rutgers and the osteopathic school to Rowan University.

The legislation also creates a regional health sciences university in South Jersey by merging Rowan and Rutgers-Camden and granting Rowan the status of a research university.

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

UNIVERSITY MERGER NEEDS RUTGERS' OK, ACCORDING TO MEMO

 

A legal memo from legislative researchers leaves no doubt that a plan to overhaul New Jersey's higher education system requires approval from Rutgers University.

The memo concludes that the law establishing the state university is a contract between the state and Rutgers; changing it requires the parties' approval.

The opinion is contrary to an earlier analysis that found Rutgers trustees unable to block a merger between the Camden campus and Rowan University. The plan also breaks up the University of Medicine and Dentistry, transferring it to Rutgers and Rowan.

Legislators seem to accept the OLS analysis. Assemblyman John Wisniewski told colleagues Monday that "the legislation goes nowhere" without sign off from Rutgers. The trustees have threatened to sue.

The bill is set for final legislative votes Thursday.

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