North Jersey lawmakers have a new set of demands for Rutgers

North Jersey lawmakers have a new set of demands for Rutgers

Sen. Parker Space

TRENTON, N.J. – Sen. Parker Space, Assemblywoman Dawn Fantasia and Assemblyman Michael Inganamort, of the 24th Legislative District, said Rutgers University must put the interests of state taxpayers ahead of radical protestors. However, as long as university administrators are negotiating with outsiders, the lawmakers say they have a list of their own demands.

“By caving to protesters demands, Rutgers only gave the anti-Israel demonstrations more credibility and their failure to control the situation is very concerning. From postponing finals and making students feel unsafe to agreeing to spend taxpayer money on ridiculous demands, there are still many questions that are left unanswered, and I fully support legislative hearings so we can understand the entire scope of what happened and how we can ensure that this never happens again,” Space (R-Sussex) said.

According to news reports, administrators conceded to eight of the 10 demands, including 10 scholarships for students from Gaza, opening an Arab cultural center, and hiring more administrators and faculty who specialize in Middle East studies, Arabs, Palestinians and Muslims.

Assemblywoman Dawn Fantasia

“The right to protest ends when you fundamentally disrupt campus safety and university operations, and I am appalled at the lopsided approach embraced by the leadership at Rutgers University. Jewish students should not be marginalized or fear for their own safety,” Fantasia (R-Sussex) said. “We are recommending the university rescind its offer to pay for protestor demands, such as tuition for ten students from Gaza. Our state university should be uplifting disadvantaged New Jerseyans and Americans. Rutgers must make a concerted effort to restore public confidence by protecting all students and taxpayer dollars.”

During state budget testimony Thursday, Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway said meeting the demands of the protestors should cost approximately $175,000. Rutgers University receives more than $1 billion in state aid toward its annual budget.

Following the negotiations, the House Committee on Education and Workforce called on Holloway to testify on May 23. Rutgers was already facing increased federal scrutiny over acts of antisemitism on its campuses.

Assemblyman Michael Inganamort

“A public university that agrees to shift taxpayer funding to appease agitators deserves public scrutiny. We applaud the decision of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce to compel Holloway’s appearance this month and support state legislative hearings,” Inganamort (R-Morris) said. “Rutgers must be held accountable for its disconcerting actions.”

On Thursday, Holloway confessed he did not attend the negotiations personally, but instead sent a representative from his cabinet. He also claimed the urgency of the meeting and escalating developments on campus meant he did not feel obliged to include diverse voices in the discussions.

“We are not asking a lot of Rutgers University. We want the institution to make a public commitment to their standards and do better going forward so that we can repair its reputation,” the lawmakers said.

In addition to rescinding the agreement with the protestors, they are asking Rutgers to commit to the safety and wellbeing of its 6,400 Jewish undergraduates and enforce the Rutgers University Code of Student Conduct.