By Desiree Datil
CCC Journalism Program
BLACKWOOD – On Jan. 25, 2012 Gov. Chris Christie announced his plans to support a merger of the Rutgers Camden Campus into Rowan University to become a much larger University of South Jersey in combination with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. This proposal has left many soon to-be graduating students at Camden County College with mixed emotions on how they shall proceed with their post-graduation plans.
Because of the proximity and convenience, as well as accreditation, many students who transfer out of Camden County College choose to attend either Rutgers Camden or Rowan University to further their educations. The reasons behind the one school over the other are very different, and while some students are excited about what benefits the merger might provide, other students fear the schools may lose some of the characteristics that made the students want to attend them to begin with.
Rachel Mauro, public relations major, is now second guessing her decision to go to Rowan after becoming aware of the proposed merger. The small class sizes and educational intimacy between students and professors are what appealed to her most; now she fears she will be lost among the rest of the students in a lecture hall where professors cannot recognize students by name.
“Combining the schools might be good for the school and research institute but not for the students as individuals. Maybe I don’t want to go to Rowan if they combine them,” she says.
The only concern Dan Conners, 23, who also plans to attend Rowan upon graduation from CCC, has about the merger is the possibility of a rise in tuition. Regardless, he says he is excited about the prospect of “an improvement on the student life at the Rowan campus.”
Other students’ main concern is how the academia will be affected by a merger. Rowan University has one of the top 10 communications schools in the country and one of the best education departments in the state, while Rutgers is home to a nationally renowned business and law school.
Erika Cruzan, who has recently been accepted to Rutgers, admits although she holds no hostilities toward Rowan, she believes she has a better chance of securing a job with a degree from Rutgers University, “a school with national clout, rather than Rowan. I know people outside of New Jersey who have never even heard of Rowan, but everyone knows Rutgers. This has definitely made me consider other colleges.”
Don Goriecki, transfer advisor of CCC, has said he has been having issues advising students to make a decision: “We are just as confused about this whole thing as anyone else.”
If the merger were to take place and be in effect by the 2012-2013 school year, the final decision must be made by March 15.