Bill to add political appointees to Rutgers board may be illegal, Legislature’s attorneys say

By Kelly Heyboer/ The Star-Ledger

TRENTON — Legislation that would add four political appointees to the Rutgers University Board of Governors may not stand up in court, the state Legislature’s attorneys said today in a ruling that raises questions about the future of the controversial bill.

In a 12-page opinion sent to lawmakers, the state Office of Legislative Services said the proposed law has several potential legal problems and may be found to be “invalid” in court. Trying to alter Rutgers’ governance structure may also give the university’s trustees the right to take back all of the land the school owned before the once-private college became the state university in 1956, according to a copy of the ruling obtained by The Star-Ledger.

“Please be advised that, for the reasons stated below, the reconfiguration of the Board of Governors without the approval of both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors may trigger the Board of Trustees’ right to withdraw the properties and funds controlled by the trustees prior to 1956,” wrote Albert Porroni, the legislative counsel.

That would mean the state would no longer control nearly all of Rutgers’ main College Avenue campus in New Brunswick and numerous other properties.


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