Rutgers President Holds Another Public Meeting on Strategic Plan

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—Tomorrow afternoon, Rutgers University's President Robert L. Barchi will be hosting the third of five University Town Hall meetings geared toward developing a strategic plan for the school.

The event is open to the public, and will take place in the Rutgers Student Center Multipurpose Room at 126 College Avenue starting at 3pm.

Members of the public will get the opportunity to questions ask Barchi in between his PowerPoint slides, but only certain questions.

While "any question regarding the strategic plan" is fair game, Barchi told the audience at a previous town hall in Piscataway, "I am not going to respond to open questions about the University."

Some of the topics that have already been brought up at prior forums include transportation, immigration reform, the New Brunswick community, the university's merger with the University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ, and construction of new facilities made possible by the passage of the higher education bond referendum last November.

As we reported last month, students were able to speak with the university's 20th President for the first time on February 21, nearly six months after he took office.

"I look forward to have this interaction with you on a regular basis," Barchi said that night at a student government meeting billed as a town hall event.  "It's very important that you have the opportunity to ask questions and to raise issues." 

But Barchi only had time to take a handful of questions before leaving for another engagement.

The University President said he wanted members of the public to keep their questions "short and on-target," but also asserted that the strategic plan meetings are something of a "free-for-all," so students are encouraged to interrupt him whenever they see fit.

"I'm going to get in your face.  I expect you to do the same thing to me," he told the audience at the RUSA event.

"Information exchange is really, very important," Barchi continued.  "Obviously we're not going to agree on everything.  If we did, this wouldn't be a university.  I will respectfully listen to your opinion, and then make my own decision."

Since then, Barchi has run two meetings to talk about the "strategic planning process" for Rutgers University with the third scheduled for Thursday March 28 at 3 p.m..

A fourth strategic planning town hall will take place on the campus of Rutgers-Newark April 4, and the final event will be held at 10 a.m. on April 17 in the Douglass Campus Center on George Street.

In between those two events, Barchi will also participate in a "two-hour open forum" with RUSA on the evening of April 11, where President Barchi will "spend two hours plus with the students," beginning at 7 p.m.

"I'll answer any question you want," he promised.