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Everyone's mad now, so Rut-Row merger must be on to something

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Now, I had my doubt as to whether the Rutgers-Rowan merger was a good thing, but the negotiations have left all sides so bedraggled that this just has to be a good deal for everyone.

I mean, you now even have Rowan's faculty — which in theory, has everything to gain in this merger, including that research university designation everyone covets so much — saying thanks, but no thanks. Not that this sort of thing is left up to the faculty, because if it were, you risk having a crazy, freethinking individual speak out about how the proposal doesn't make any sense. From The Star-Ledger:

Katherine Epstein, a newly hired — nontenured — faculty member who addressed the board ... speaking up against a compromise — "farcical," she called it — already endorsed by the university president, attacking (George) Norcross by name. A clever woman who says that, if a compromise is adopted, Rutgers-Camden will be "a RINO — Rutgers in name only."

Rowan's board of trustees has called an emergency meeting for this afternoon, presumably to dump water on the fire before it gets any more out of control. But this whole merger nightmare has been an exercise in playing with matches. Rutgers has treated its Camden campus the way a 5-year-old boy treats a Tonka truck he isn't playing with. But just try to take it away from him, and see what you get; amazingly, the powers behind the merger didn't consider this. Certainly, no one counted on backlash from Rowan; ironically, no one expected UMDNJ to fold like Superman at the Laundromat, but that piece actually is falling into place.

Is this a good deal for the state? As I've said before, sure, but only if you can point to cost savings — and right now, the only off-limits numbers are the ones with dollar signs in front of them.

I was going to end this with a "show me the money" clip from "Jerry Maguire," but in case anyone reads this, I didn't want to annoy you. You're welcome.

I'm even more irreverent on Twitter @joe_arney.

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