Rutgers University President Jonathan Holloway, in a note to members of the “Rutgers Community” on Monday night, said he had agreed to hold off on legal action against strikers — for now.
Holloway said he was following a request that he said had been made by Gov. Phil Murphy, and he thanked Murphy for his willingness to get involved.
“We are encouraged by Gov. Murphy’s request and genuinely welcome his leadership,” he wrote. “We are hopeful that we can quickly come to a resolution of the remaining outstanding issues.
“The governor also asked me personally to delay taking legal action asking the courts to order strikers back to work. I agreed to the governor’s important request while it appears that progress can be made.
“Obviously, if there is no movement towards an agreement, we will have no choice but to take legal action to assure the continued academic progress of our students and prevent irreparable harm. This is especially important for the thousands of students who are finishing their academic careers at Rutgers and are only a few weeks away from earning their degrees.”
Holloway wrote that he respects the right to protest, but he said there is a limit.
“We did receive reports today of classes being disrupted by protesters,” he said. “In one instance, protesters actually entered a class where a critical exam was being conducted.
“While I respect the right of people to peacefully protest, there is no excuse for interfering with classes being taught by faculty who are choosing to continue with their jobs and meet their obligations to our students. I hope the union leadership will join me in urging their members to be respectful of our students and supportive of their academic progress.”
Holloway, who wrote that he felt it was important that the Rutgers community receives “regular, accurate updates,” said all the campuses are open and operating, including all academic buildings and libraries.
“We encourage students to continue attending their classes and doing their coursework, and we ask faculty and staff to continue doing their work as we carry out the business of the university,” he wrote.