We are writing to inform all of you about a serious enrollment crisis at Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark. According to the most up-to-date information we have, first-year enrollment for the coming semester is down by more than 30 percent at Rutgers-Camden and nearly 10 percent at Rutgers-Newark, but it is up by 10 percent in New Brunswick. Below you’ll find the letter we sent President Holloway earlier this week asking what happened and what the university is doing about it.
All of us can predict the chaos for our campuses if the administration does nothing. In Camden and Newark, classes that were well attended in past years are in danger of cancellation, while departments in New Brunswick are straining to deal with the surge, with some canceling elective classes to add more required classes. The inequities between Rutgers campuses will deepen.
Our students should not have to pay for a failure in the admissions process—and we shouldn’t either.
President Holloway has not yet responded to our email. We will let you know when he does. But this crisis underlines the importance of our contract demands to gain control over our teaching, research, and service. From the chaos of the RCM budget system, to Infosilem scheduling nightmares, to the inaction on funding extensions for graduate students, our work is made harder by the administration’s misguided decisions and failed policies.
All of us—students, staff, grad workers, and faculty—deserve better. But we’ll only get it if we organize. We’ve been working without a contract for almost three months, and we need to stand together to fight for a better Rutgers. Click here to get involved in our contract campaign.
Becky, Todd, Jim, Manu, and Donna
Our Letter to President Holloway on the Enrollment Crisis
To: President Jonathan Holloway
CC: Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Prabhas Moghe; Chancellor Antonio Tillis; Chancellor Nancy Cantor; Chancellor-Provost Francine Conway
Dear President Holloway,
We are writing to express our deep concern about an enrollment crisis at Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark that, if not addressed urgently, will wreak havoc on our campuses and deepen inequalities in the Rutgers system that we hoped you would address as president.
According to the information we have received, first-year enrollment as of the end of July is down by over 30 percent in Camden and nearly 10 percent in Newark, but is up by nearly 10 percent in New Brunswick. We have heard a variety of explanations for these dramatically different outcomes—a software error that delayed acceptance letters from going out, a further delay in determining financial aid packages, problems with the admission waitlist system that affected Camden and Newark, but not New Brunswick. Unfortunately, we have heard nothing definitive from your administration.
We want to ask you the following: What caused this crisis? Who is responsible for it? What measures are you and your administration taking to offset the impact?
Students, staff, and faculty should not be punished for a failure in the admissions process. Regardless of the cause of the crisis, we ask you for the following commitments: 1) Classes in Camden and Newark will be allowed to run with fewer students; 2) Faculty and grad workers will not “owe” back classes canceled because of low enrollment; and 3) Neither campus will suffer budget cuts due to lower enrollment. (On this last point, we note that first-year enrollment university-wide will increase, so the net financial outcome for the university is an increase in tuition revenue.)
We can’t emphasize strongly enough the turmoil that this crisis will cause in Camden and Newark if your administration does not take action. Faculty members are being told that classes which had 30 students enrolled in past years are currently in the single digits, and in danger of cancellation. Everyone on every Rutgers campus will feel the pain, but current students in Camden and Newark will likely be the hardest hit. If classes are canceled because of this administrative failure, students may not graduate on time, forcing them to pay extra tuition and miss opportunities for employment that could affect their ability to support their families. They will also miss out on courses that might change their perspective, career aspirations, and understanding of the world, since, as you know, every class has the potential to deliver these.
Faculty members and graduate workers are asking us why this is happening. We ask that you respond to this request for information and action by Wednesday, so we can circulate this letter and communicate what is being done to deal with the crisis. We hope that you and your chancellors get back to us quickly so we can move forward with clarity and ensure that students have access to the full breadth of course offerings. Our Newark and Camden students must not once again feel that they are second-class students.
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Jim Brown, Camden Chapter President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Manu Chander, Newark Chapter President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Donna Murch, New Brunswick Chapter President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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