State Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg spoke to the Rutgers Board of Governors meeting on October 6, 2021. Here is the text of her remarks:
“Good afternoon. I want to personally thank you and your government relations person, George LeBlanc, for extending this courtesy to me. I understand that this doesn’t comport with your rules and regulations, so I appreciate the opportunity. And by the way, something I will save for another day: I’m not sure that your rules and regulations actually comport with either the spirit or the actual legal meaning of the Open Public Records Act. But as I say, I’ll save that for some other time.
“It is good to be with you today. And I don’t need to tell you that Rutgers, as our largest public university, holds a special place in our state. The actions of the university administration reflect the state’s values and set a standard for others to follow.
“Mr. Chairman, you may recall that when you came before the Senate Judiciary committee this past June, you said you were ‘very pleased with the direction that Rutgers has taken’ since you became chair, especially when it came to athletics. At that time, I made a comment to you that I hoped the Board of Governors would pay as much attention to pay equity as they do to the football and basketball programs. You assured me that you and the Board would take this very seriously and you would look into it.
“I was very proud to sponsor the strongest Equal Pay Act, which was signed by Governor Phil Murphy and which I think may have been part of the genesis of this pay equity push at the university. I understand that there are faculty at all campuses who have identified inequities between themselves and their peers. The university created a process to close these pay gaps in 2019, which is now producing results that allegedly do not actually address pay inequity.
“From what I’ve learned, it’s not deans and departmental heads but actually the university’s central administration that is ‘adjusting’ the pay-gap calculations. The Board of Governors is responsible for overseeing the university president and by extension the workings of his administration. This issue falls directly under your review.
“Who within the administration is responsible for accepting or rejecting pay inequity claims? What are the factors involved when the administration reduces the so-called ‘catch-up’ payment? It appears that the University is doing half a job here. What’s the point in adjusting pay if the result leaves in place the inequities?
“This is not just a moral issue. Equal pay for equal work is not only the right thing to do. It is the legal thing to do here in New Jersey. With an athletics program apparently in the red and a fiscal situation complicated by the pandemic, I don’t know why the university would nickel and dime their workers and put itself at risk for litigation. I remember well from my bill that winning litigants are owed three times the damages—that is what is called for in the bill. Isn’t paying once not only the right thing to do and the legal thing to do but the economically appropriate thing to do?
“I would hope that this Board and President Holloway are taking an active role in the pay equity issue. There is no reason at all for the state’s premier public university to perpetuate inequalities. It’s out of step with New Jersey values, and it is also out of step with New Jersey laws. Again, I want to thank you for this extraordinary courtesy for your willingness to listen, to hear what I am saying, and hopefully to take responsibility to actually look into what is happening with pay equity at the premier and respected university in New Jersey, Rutgers University.”