Following up on my previous post, Rutgers-Camden and Rutgers-Newark Law Schools to Merge: Tax Prof Michael Livingston (Rutgers-Camden), The Rutgers Law "Merger": Lots of Form, Not Much Substance:
[T]he proposed merger of the Camden and Newark Law Schools into one "R-Law" brand ... is high on form, but low on content, and the style is--well, read on.
The merger was originally prompted by a desire to fend off a proposed takeover of the Camden law school by Rowan University, which was perceived as less prestigious than Rutgers. An unstated goal is to distract attention from the relatively poor performance of both, but especially the Camden, law schools since the Rowan proposal was blocked. In the most recent US News survey, the Camden law school ranked 81 and Newark 83; since Camden has since been forced to accept more (read weaker) students by the central administration, there is a good chance it will fall out of the top 100 in the next survey.
What else has Camden done since the Rowan fiasco? So far as I can tell three main things.
First, it hired about a half dozen new faculty, all or nearly all women and heavily concentrated in the areas of law and philosophy, on the one hand, and what might be called progressive social change--primarily race and gender studies--on the other. ...
Second the Camden campus--the one whose largest unit (the law school) is supposed to be merging with Newark--has decided to spend an extraordinary and unprecedented sum on administrative expenses. ...
Finally, the law school has actually reduced the budget for adjunct faculty, who are the most cost effective and the most likely to have contacts that can help students get jobs.
Oh, did I mention that the law school emphasizes two-year employment statistics and brags of its placement of students in judicial clerkships? The vast majority of these clerkships are with local New Jersey courts and there is little if any evidence that they lead to permanent jobs.
Not surprisingly for a school that emphasizes race, gender and philosophy and has a history of misleading employment statistics, the Camden law school has had trouble attracting students. Hence the merger, which it is hoped will improve its marketing or (at very least) distract attention by rolling the law school's statistics into the larger university.
The problem is that the merger, as almost anyone can say, has little if any substance. As best as I can tell, it consists largely of an administrative reshuffling together with the addition of one small distance learning classroom. ... The Rutgers merger is a good example of how form frequently trumps substance, especially when the industry in question (here law schools) is in a crisis mode. Will they get away with it? For a time, perhaps. But the facts have a way of catching up with you. Instead of dealing honestly and forthrightly with a crisis--one largely, although not exclusively, of its own making--Rutgers is attempting to pull a fast one. I think that, deep down, the participants themselves realize this. Do they really think nobody else will notice?