(SALEM) – Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Celeste M. Riley (D-Cumberland/Gloucester/Salem) issued the following statement on Monday criticizing the decision by the board of governors at Rutgers University to allow University President Robert Barchi to serve on the advisory boards of two firms that do business with the university:
“The board last week voted to raise tuition and fees for in-state students, making it harder for students of moderate financial means to attend the university. Yet the board sees no issue with allowing President Barchi to get paid to serve on advisory boards for companies that do business with the university. One of the companies has in the last five years received $15 million from Rutgers.
“This is clearly a conflict of interest that should never have been sanctioned. The mere perception of impropriety was reason enough to ask President Barchi to cut ties with these companies.
“President Barchi’s service on these boards have pushed his annual compensation to more than a million. Rutgers has increased its tuition and essentially closed its doors to students who could barely afford the tuition before this most recent increase, while allowing its president to benefit from a business relationship that seems to go against the school’s very own code of ethics.
“That’s a terrible message to send to our young people contemplating higher education in the state.”