Save the Date for These Union Events
- New Brunswick Chapter Meeting: Friday, February 4, 10 a.m. Click here to RSVP
- Camden Matters: Fighting for Reparations and Racial Equity: Monday, February 21, 7 p.m. Click here to RSVP
- What R We Fighting For? Contract Campaign Town Hall: Monday, February 28, 6 p.m. Click here to RSVP
We’ve all felt the effects of the administration’s declaration of a “fiscal emergency” at the start of the 2020–21 school year: over 1,000 staff colleagues laid off, hundreds of PTLs not rehired, grad students’ funding and futures in jeopardy, our raises canceled until we won them back.
But there’s one part of Rutgers that never seems to have a “fiscal emergency”: Rutgers Athletics. The same school year that our raises were canceled, spending on athletics hit a new high, causing an operating deficit of $73 million for the second year in a row. The athletics program lost more money in 2020–21—a lot more—than the entire budget of the Rutgers Libraries system.
Our union has been sounding the alarm about the financial black hole of Rutgers Athletics since the move to the Big Ten in 2014–15. Since then, over half a billion dollars in tuition and grant revenue, student fees, taxpayer support, and loans has disappeared into the program. But last year, they were as far away as ever from just breaking even.
When we negotiate our next contract, we’ll hear the same tired refrain from the administration: Rutgers doesn’t have the money to meet your demands. When you hear that, remember the facts about the increasing amounts of money that go down the athletics drain. You can download online fact sheets to share with students, colleagues, and friends by email and on social media. Click here for a poster to put on your office door. Read this USA Today/NorthJersey.com article for more details.
And don’t let anyone tell you our problem with Rutgers Athletics is that we don’t like sports. Rutgers should have an athletics program, just not one that loses tens of millions of dollars every year that could have gone to supporting our academic mission. The administration’s priority isn’t building a sustainable sports program. They are doubling down on a gamble that Rutgers can become a big-time college sports school. But it’s a bet they keep losing, year after year.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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