the staff of the Ridgewood blog
New Brunswick NJ, Senator Joe Pennacchio blasted Rutgers University for forcing students and New Jersey taxpayers to pick up the tab for more than $11.5 million in settlements, buyouts and golden parachutes for elite employees at the State-funded university. The discovery of the payouts was reported by NJ.com on August 3, 2018.
“The cost of higher education is skyrocketing in New Jersey and it’s no secret why. It is unconscionable that a State-funded university would have the gall to raise tuition, and then turn right back around and give away millions of dollars to elite employees. These golden parachutes are an outrageous misuse of funds. Rutgers owes students and taxpayers an explanation. After all, they pay their salary,” Senator Pennacchio (R-26) said.
“Our goal is to ensure that students who go to high school in New Jersey, can continue their education at a great in-State college, get great career training, and continue to live and work in the state they call home. How can we expect them to do that if our flagship university refuses to do anything to make higher education more affordable?
“Talk to any college student on campus – they do not want their tuition dollars spent on multi-million dollar payouts to coaches and administrators who make enough money as it is. This fiscally-irresponsible practice must come to an end.”
Senator Pennacchio has been one of the strongest advocates in the Legislature for ensuring tuition and taxpayer dollars are handled responsibly at Rutgers University. In 2013, Senator Pennacchio introduced a budget resolution to dock Rutgers University approximately $2.1 million in state aid in the state’s FY14 budget, and require school officials to provide a report demonstrating how they funded these giveaways out of administrative coffers and not by raising tuition or using state aid. The resolution was introduced in response to reports that Rutgers gave a $475,000 payout to basketball coach Mike Rice; a coach who had repeatedly physically abused and shouted gay slurs at players during practice.
Senator Pennacchio added that he is considering legislative solutions to put a stop to non-contractually obligated and egregious payouts, and curtail the amount of funding Rutgers University receives should the practice continue.
Rutgers University receives more than $400 million in State funding each year.
“The $11.5 million in payouts would cover the cost of tuition and fees for about 800 Rutgers students,” Senator Pennacchio added. “In fact, the payout recently-departed Chancellor Dutta received would pay for about 32 students. Chancellor Dutta spent one year in his current role, and now he’s getting paid half a million dollars to walk away from the job. That’s insane. Tuition dollars should be spent on students, not boat checks for administrators.
“It is completely unfair and unjust to ask taxpayers and students to continue to subsidize this kind of reckless spending. We will continue to work hard to hold Rutgers University accountable for how they handle State resources.”