Senate President Stephen Sweeney visited Rutgers University last August as Gov. Chris Christie signed the state's higher education reorganization bill.
Star-Ledger file photo
TRENTON — The feud between Senate President Stephen Sweeney and the Rutgers Board of Trustees has escalated with the release of a biting new political advertisement aimed at axing the historic board.
The internet ad -- funded by campaign funds for Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and two other New Jersey Democrats -- is presented as a multiple-choice, final exam question about theboard of trustees.
It lists criticisms of the 59-member board, including that it "seems more like a secret college society than a public body." The ad concludes with the line "R-U kidding me? It's time for the Board of Trustees to go."
The ad's release comes several weeks after Sweeney introduced legislation to eliminate the Rutgers Board of Trustees, which he called an unnecessary and outdated body. An identical bill was introduced in the state Assembly.
The trustees fired back with a resolution threatening to take legal action if the Legislature approves the bill. Lawmakers made an effort to fast-track the legislation, but they left for their summer break without considering the bill. Legislative leaders promised to take it up again soon.
Sen. Stephen Sweeney's election fund helped pay for an advertisement criticizing the Rutgers Board of Trustees.
Rutgers has two governing boards -- the board of trustees and the board of governors. The Rutgers Board of Governors holds most of the power at theuniversity, including setting tuition and appointing the university's president. But the board of trustees, which dates back to Rutgers' founding as a private college nearly 250 years ago, has the power to oversee the land and assets the school obtained before the law passed designating it thestate university in 1959.
Sweeney has said his call to eliminate the trustees board is not retribution for the board's threat to derail the plan to merge Rutgers and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey last year.
The ad was paid for by Sweeney for Senate and the election funds of Assemblymen Louis Greenwald (D-Camden) and Vincent Prieto (D-Hudson).
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