A bill that would reorganize New Jersey's higher education landscape was set to be introduced today, and the overhaul is drawing interest from the state's largest business organization.
The proposal would merge portions of Rutgers University with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, as well as Rutgers-Camden with Rowan University.
New Jersey Business & Industry Association Senior Vice President Melanie Willoughby said businesses have been closely following the issue. She noted some of the cutting-edge research supported by New Jersey-based companies is done by out-of-state universities.
"The business community is very interested in moving New Jersey forward, to have a powerful research capacity in our universities to keep the business research dollars in the state," Willoughby said.
Willoughby said the NJBIA plans to be engaged with the reorganization process as it advances.
"We look forward to being part of the process of ensuring New Jersey moves forward," in business-backed academic research, Willoughby said.
The Assembly bill introduction comes a day after Rutgers boards of trustees and governors agreed to form a committee that would negotiate with the Legislature on the proposal. State officials and university representatives have differed on whether the state government has the authority to reorganize Rutgers without university approval.