Rutgers Students Won’t Pay for Mike Rice Scandal
The costs of a scandal in Rutgers' men's basketball program will not be pushed onto students through tuition hikes, and the university is trying to come up with a fair formula to use to allocate state aid among its three campuses, the school's president told lawmakers Monday.
Rutgers President Robert Barchi faced a series of questions on both issues when he appeared with other education officials at a state Senate budget hearing.
Senators asked about the financial implications in the fallout from Mike Rice's firing as basketball coach last month after a video was made public showing the coach pushing and kicking players and using gay slurs as he berated them during practice. Within days after Rice was fired, the university's athletic director and top in-house lawyer resigned. The university is on the hook for $2.1 million in settlements for the three.
"People do not want or deserve their tax dollars and tuition dollars to be spent on these payouts," state Sen. Joe Pennacchio, R-Montvale, told Barchi.
Barchi said he's told his administration to find the money for buyouts in the university's operating budget and not to use tuition hikes to cover the added costs.
Pennacchio has said he wants to hold back $2.1 million from the university's allocation in the coming year so taxpayers are not on the hook, either.
Faculty at Rutgers' Newark campus especially have been upset about disparities in funding, saying the university spends more per student on its main campus in New Brunswick and Piscataway than it does in Newark and Camden.
Barchi told the senators the disparities are smaller than his critics say, but also says he's working on a formula to determine how much per student each campus will be allocated.
The university previously said that it spent nearly $17,000 per student on instruction in New Brunswick and between $8,000 and $9,000 on the other campuses in 2011. Barchi said those numbers are not accurate and the school is actually spending between $11,800 and $14,000 per student on each campus.
Montclair State University President Susan Cole told the lawmakers that state universities are receiving less money from the state now than they did in 2006, even though there are more students on campus. She said that is hurting students.
Barchi said that in the long-run, the state needs to allocate more to higher education. "We simply cannot solve the problem by moving the dollars from one institution to another institution," he said.
Barchi also said that Rutgers is footing the $75 million cost over three years to absorb parts of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey without getting more money from the state. He said maintenance is being delayed and the university is forgoing starting planned programs to be able to afford the costs.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)