Following Friday’s news that Gov. Phil Murphy requested the Office of the State Comptroller to investigate its finances, New Jersey City University issued a statement Aug. 9 in response.
“NJCU is aware of the governor’s request to the comptroller, and we welcome any additional review of the university’s financial situation as we work collaboratively with our partners in government, labor and our student, faculty and staff community to move our institution onto solid ground and set it on a path to future sustainability,” Joe Scott, chair of the NJCU board of trustees, told NJBIZ in a statement. “We believe deeply in transparency and openness.”
As reported by NJBIZ, Murphy expressed concern about the school’s finances after recent revelations that NJCU had gone from a $108 million surplus in 2014 to a $67 million deficit, with another $156 million in debt.
“As a public university, NJCU is accountable to our state government and the residents of New Jersey,” Murphy said Aug. 5. “In light of serious reports about NJCU’s financial situation, I firmly believe an independent investigation into the school’s finances and operations would be in the best interests of the public at this time.”
“We have received the letter from Gov. Murphy related to NJCU,” said Kevin Walsh, acting state comptroller. “We have audited and investigated state colleges in the past and reported on what we’ve found. We’ll look into what has happened at NJCU and follow the facts where they lead us. If anyone has information related to this matter, please reach out to us through our website.”
In a statement last week, Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, spokesperson for Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop, said that the mayor agreed with the need for the state to intervene and help with the situation while also pointing out NJCU’s community value.
“NJCU is an invaluable community asset providing meaningful educational opportunities that many Hudson County residents may not otherwise have access to while also serving as a critical lifeline for children with special needs through the A. Harry Moore School, now celebrating its 100th year,” said Wallace-Scalcione. “It is our hope that this audit will help NJCU get back on track to ensure the university’s survival and financial stability for generations to come.”
Scott echoed those sentiments in the NJCU statement.
“NJCU provides educational and economic opportunities to a vulnerable population that would not be likely to receive them anywhere else, for that reason we all must recognize how essential it is for the university to continue on as a beacon of hope and progress for our state,” he said."