A Superior Court Judge ordered Rutgers University to turn over information about how much money they are spending on athletics programs after a faculty union went to court to get detailed financial data under the state’s Open Public Records Act.
Judge Alberto Rivas said that Rutgers improperly denied a request by a union representing full-time faculty members and other graduate workers and postdoctoral associations that could offer insights over the financial implications of athletics on the rest of the university.
“Rutgers is a public institution and should freely share information about its finances with the Rutgers community and the people of New Jersey,” said Rebecca Givan, the president of AAUP-AFT. “Nobody should have to sue to get basic transparency from their own public institution.”
According to the union, Rutgers athletics had an estimated shortfall of $57.2 million during the last school year and those losses are covered by academic programs and mandatory student fees.
Todd Wolfson, the union’s general vice president, called it a “financial black hole.”
“They need an enormous subsidy every year to keep operating—a much bigger subsidy than any other Big Ten school makes to athletics—and on top of that, they’re taking out massive loans,” Wolfson said. “The pipe dream that Rutgers would become another Michigan or Ohio State, where athletics revenues contribute money to the university, isn’t happening—and there’s no reason other than wishful thinking to believe that dream will become a reality for years and years.”
This is the AAUP-AFT’s second court victory on an OPRA case filed against Rutgers.