Senate lawmakers take up N.J. university merger bill

    A plan to dismantle the University of Medicine and Dentistry and wed Rowan University to Rutgers-Camden gets its first legislative hearing Thursday.

    The higher education restructuring bill has been months in the making. Gov. Chris Christie unveiled his plan in January.
    The idea is to increase economic and educational opportunities in south Jersey, where the state’s population growth is centered, by focusing on the health sciences. It also aims to remake scandal-tainted UMDNJ by giving most of it to Rutgers.

    The costs of accomplishing the deal are not yet known.

    Rutgers and Rowan trustees oppose a new joint board with authority over the two southern New Jersey schools. And Essex County lawmakers want assurances that Newark won’t be shortchanged and that health care at University Hospital won’t be sacrificed.

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