Two websites have formed to get the word out to alums and supporters of Rutgers University. They are:
Both these site are now, or will shortly be, operational to uphold the tradition of Rutgers University.
Go there, check them out and lend a hand because, on the political front, so far "nothing" has happened in relation to a commitment to protect the name of Rutgers.
I mean "nothing".
The "nothing" that did happen, however happened with great fanfare.
James McGreevy apparently told the press that he would support keeping the name "Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey."
Time for celebrations?
Read the fine print.
"Ultimately, the name of the new higher-education system will be chosen by the state Legislature and the state Commission on Health Science, Education and Training, the McGreevey-appointed group that proposed merging the state's public research universities."
NJOnline's story on today's non event
Well, the article does say that he would recommend that the name "Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey be kept."
Yes, it does.
Does it say that he would recommend that strongly?
No, it does not say that.
Does it say he would put pressure on the task force members to keep the name the same?
No, it does not say that.
Does it say he would put pressure on the legislators to keep the name the same?
No, It does not say that.
Did he say he would lobby either group to keep the Rutgers name as it is?
No, it does not say that.
Did he say he would veto any attempt to change the name of Rutgers University?
No, it does not say that.
Well, what does it say?
It says that keeping the name "Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey" was his "humble recommendation."
So what really happened today?
Apparently, not much of anything. There was a media event for the Governor and little else. For all we know there might be intense pressure behind the scenes on legislators and task force members to change the name of RU, and if that change ended up becoming law the Governor could say, "Hey, it's not my fault, I recommended that the old name be kept."
So, amid great fanfare today nothing happened at all. Once again, the name of Rutgers is in peril and it is up to supporters of the university to take action to protect our great university.
What can be done to protect Rutgers?
Truth be told, a lot can be done and it can be done without a great deal of effort.
Here's what we propose.
Early on in this controversy a fan wrote to me with this simple but beautiful idea:
"One thing that you should set your sights on is recording and publishing the votes of all state politicians on the topic of the merger and name change. We'll need to know this because I WILL vote against my rep if he goes along with it."
What this fan has proposed is what we are going to do. We are going to publish the names of legislators who vote to sell out Rutgers. We are going to do that and more.
After receiving that note. I contacted the proprietors of Rutgersfan.com and "The Grease Truck." I asked them if they would sign on to the plan to publicize to votes of those would betray Rutgers heritage. Being loyal sons of Rutgers they agreed without hesitation.
They are just the beginning.
What would happen if websites throughout New Jersey took the pledge to post the votes of any state legislator who votes for a bill to either change or to allow the change of the name of this great university.
What would happen? I'll tell you what would happen.
The name "Rutgers" would become the third rail of New Jersey politics. No politician would dare to touch it.
And that is where you come in.
Don't expect Big Dog and I to carry the fight to Trenton. If you want to stop this atrocity from happening it is up to the supporters of Rutgers University to unite and take action.
Here is a workable plan we propose.
Three things need to be done to make this plan work.
I. Getting websites to sign onto the plan
Websites throughout the state have to be contacted and the plan has to be explained to them. Sites specific to New Jersey can be found with ease.
This Google search turned up this listing.
This site lists them by category.
You may have your own favorites already. You may know of sites run by Rutgers grads. You may have a favorite topic (anything from antiques to zoology) and just want to find a website run a person who shares your interest.
Fine, contact those sites and get them to sign onto the plan. Once they announce it, people will know that that site has joined the project and they can move on to convince the next site, until New Jersey specific sites are saturated with forums ready to post the names of those legislators who would dare to try to steal the great legacy of Rutgers University.
II. Let the politicians know
The plan won't be effective unless the politicians know that their votes on this issue are going to be broadcast and rebroadcast to every citizen of this state.
Here is a list of all of the state legislators of New Jersey.
If each person who reads this story just contacted the legislator in his or her own district (and sent them a copy of this story), every legislator in this state would get the message loud and clear.
If, however, each person who read this story chose to mail it to five legislators, the message would come across like thunder.
III. Scout the issue
The project need scouts. We'll keep this story online for about a month. The processing of this plan and any proposed legislation will be slow. Right now our plan is to let the legislators know they are being watched on this issue and get websites to take the pledge to post the votes.
People with a natural interest in politics can act as scouts. They can keep tract of the progress of this plan or possible legislation on it and notify the involved websites of its progress, especially if a vote is about to be taken. Once the website network is in place the posting of the votes will be easy, but the scouts have to be able to advise the websites of when the crucial vote or votes are coming.
Once in place the network will be ready to go when "crunch time" arrives.
Important things you must do
Support the websites that are organizing the protest
Loyals sons of Rutgers have taken the first step. Don't expect them to carry the ball for you. If you want to protect Rutgers University, then take action and get involved. Help out those trying to save the name of Rutgers.
Write to your representative
Email and write your representative. Rutgers has the second largest alumni base of any university in the nation, second only to Michigan. Let your elected representatives know that you care about this issue. More than that let them know that this is a "voting issue" for you. Let them know just how strongly you feel about your alma mater.
Talk to the Governor
Recently Governor McGreevey had talk in show where you could call and talk directly to the governor. The next time one is scheduled make your call. Demand that Governor McGreevey take an unequivocal public position that he will veto any bill that calls for a change of the name of our great university. Let him know "on the air" that this is a voting issue for you.
We take no position on the "merger" issue; a separate issue of considerable complexity. However, we take a strong issue on the sanctity of the name of Rutgers and we ask you to do the same.
Take a stand. Don't let the name of Rutgers become a part of history. Don't let yourself be seduced by "politico-talk" or empty rhetoric.
Don't allow name "Rutgers" to be reduced to a suffix, shuffled off like an old museum piece to one corner of this great university. Don't compromise. You hold the votes, you hold the cards and "they" know it.
Demand accountability and straight answers from the "public servants" you have elected.
Rutgers is calling to you in her time of need. Don't let her fight this fight all alone.
P.S. Just before this article went online DMD's Rutgers Scarlet Knights Women's Basketball Page joined the list of participating sites.
Mike Fasano: MikeFasano@comcast.net
Mike and the Big Dog's LLC