Christie to review opinion that N.J. lawmakers must OK university merger plan

Gov. Chris Christie says he will consider the opinion of the Office of Legislative Services that the state Legislature must approve his proposed reorganization of New Jersey’s higher education system.

The governor, who said Tuesday his legal team and the attorney general’s office will examine the nonbinding opinion, said he’s working hard with legislative leaders to get support for the reorganization plan.

“If we agree on the concept, I want to do it in the way that’s the most legally defensible and sustainable. If that turn out to be legislation, I’ll work with the legislature to do it,” he said.

“If it turns out that it can be done by executive order, I’ll do it that way,” Christie continued. “I just want to get it done, and so I’m going to try to do it in the best and most effective way I can.”

The most controversial part of the proposal is merging Rutgers-Camden and its law school with Rowan University in Glassboro. Rutgers-Camden students and faculty have vigorously assailed that South Jersey component of the plan. Meanwhile, some state lawmakers from Bergen County say they won’t support the consolidation plan unless it includes up to a half billion dollars for colleges in North Jersey.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.