STEPHEN SKOUFALOS| LAYOUT MANAGER
There have been a great number of concerns and opinions with regards to the possibility of a merger between our beloved Rutgers University and Rowan University, one of our rivals, especially in the world of sports. Personally, I think many of our students’ and faculty’s concerns are well-founded. If we, one of the best and longest-running schools in all of New Jersey, with a name that practically screams “big-league,” were to suddenly become “The University of South Jersey” as it was over 100 years ago, then there would be a myriad of problems, which many of us have emphasized. These would focus primarily on our school’s name, our sporting rivalry with Rowan, and those of us graduating that are looking for a job, which is interlinked with the first concern.
From the perspective of sports, there are several things to be addressed. Bill Rizzo, the assistant coach for the Rutgers soccer team, expressed his wishes to have our campus remain independent, citing the years of tradition and the aforementioned strong rivalry between Rutgers and Rowan, and how it’s brought some of the most fiercely competitive matches between the two. Personally, I believe that he is right to want us to remain autonomous in that regard. As I had written weeks ago about how a heated political campaign can draw many people to get involved and behind one side or another, the same is true for rivaling sports teams, especially when a big game between the two takes place in a make-or-break round for a championship. Rutgers’ and Rowan’s soccer teams are certainly no exception to this, and already many people come out to cheer on the two schools when they figuratively duke it out against one another on the field. The point is a rivalry of this size is going to bring out large crowds, and that increases the exposure and overall support for both schools. Bringing that to an end means an end to what many on both sides have loved for the longest time, and I doubt that any self-respecting sports fan would want that to happen.
However, these concerns over a merger go well beyond a mere athletic clash between rivals. Both schools have well-known and respected college names, and there are plenty of us at Rutgers who would not like to have our name changed back to something similar to what it was about a hundred years ago. Simply put, we are Rutgers University, not a mere “University of South Jersey” or whatever stale title someone in authority would happily tack over our current banners. I can’t exactly speak for the students of Rowan University, but I’m confident that they would say the same thing, or something close, about a potential end to two university names that have stood for a long time.
But just as personal pride in our campus is important, there is still a more pressing concern, and it’s with one major issue still on the minds of many students, graduating or not: jobs, and how in the hell they are going to find one with a name like “University of South Jersey” on their resume in place of “Rutgers University.” The simple truth of the matter is that potential employers, in most cases, are going to be looking at students’ education, and a name like Rutgers is going to be a big boost to anyone’s chances at employment in combination with a great resume. Many students, myself included, have been worried about the possibility that all we have worked for, all that we are currently working for, will be for naught if they actually do go through with passing this merger plan; job opportunities are too few today to risk losing a prestigious school name on our resumes. There are still many who would support this plan, but too many of us are still too worried about the implications of what could happen to both of our universities, and we’re not liking what could come of it.