Rutgers University. Board of Trustees

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The Board of Trustees was established by the charter of Queens College in 1766. Members of the Reformed Dutch Church requested the establishment of this college in order to educate and prepare young men for the ministry. The Board of Trustees had the responsibility for the direction of all college activities. Its duties included granting and conferring honorary degrees, nominating and appointing as well as dismissing faculty, nominating and electing new board members, purchasing and holding land, and making financial transactions as necessary on behalf of the College. The number of members was not to exceed forty-one and not above one-third at any time were to be ordained ministers. The president was to be a member of the Reformed Dutch Church, elected by the Trustees.

In 1816, the Board of Trustees closed the College in due to financial problems. They allowed the General Synod to use the College Building for its theological seminary. Problems arose with this arrangement because the Trustees still had control of the "professoral fund" along with two scholarship funds which were to benefit theological students. In 1823, the Trustees sold the College Building and lot to the General Synod in order to pay off debts. The College reopened in 1825, after the signing of a Covenant between the Trustees and the Reformed Dutch Church. This agreement left much of the power of the College in the hands of the General Synod. The College was combined with the theological seminary and took on a stronger religious orientation.

At the same time the college was reopened the name was changed from Queens College to Rutgers College, named after Colonel Henry Rutgers.

In 1839, another conflict with the Church led to a new agreement between the Trustees and the Church. In the outcome, the Synod recognized the Trustees as an independent body. As a result, the Trustees were given all of the authority for the administration of the college.

In 1864, the Trustees bought back the College Building and the property which it had conveyed to the Synod. This agreement came with conditions dictated by the Synod. The President of the College and three-fourths of the Board of Trustees were to be members of the Reformed Dutch Church. Also, in 1864, the Board of Trustees accepted a land grant under the Morrill Act, establishing the Rutgers Scientific School.

With the expansion of Rutgers College, the Board adopted new rules and a new structure of organization. In 1869, the President of the College was authorized to serve as the President of the Board of Trustees when the Governor of New Jersey was not present at meetings. Five standing committees were established, replacing sundry ad hoc special committees. In 1882, the Trustees adopted a plan which allowed the Alumni Association to nominate candidates to serve on the Board for limited terms. Five members were to be alumni or elected by the Alumni Association. In 1892, the Synod agreed to a request made by the Trustees that the proportion of the members required to be communicants of the Reformed Dutch Church be reduced from three-fourths to two-thirds. In 1909, this requirement was eliminated altogether. The rule remained, however, that the president be a member of the Church.

The New Jersey College for Women (NJC), established in 1918 as a department of the State University of New Jersey, became the responsibility of the Board of Trustees. In 1919, the management of the Woman's College was divided between the Trustees and other officials. A Board of Managers consisting of the President of Rutgers College (ex-officio), the Dean of the College for Women (ex-officio), and ten members, five from the Board of Trustees and five being women interested in the higher education of women, provided oversight responsibilities for the College. An amendment to the charter in 1920 made Rutgers a non-sectarian institution. The College of Agriculture was formally created by the Board of Trustees in 1921. A Managing Committee for the College of Agriculture served in a similar capacity as the committee created for the New Jersey College for Women. This committee was given control of property, expenditures, and personnel but was subject to the general direction of the Board of Trustees of Rutgers College.

The Trustees authorized the name of Rutgers College to be changed to Rutgers University in 1924. As the University began to grow, the Trustees started delegating responsibilities to specially created advisory committees of the individual college. These committees reported back to the Trustees.

In 1926, at President John M. Thomas' first official meeting with the Trustees, the standing committees of the Board were reorganized and an Executive Committee was created. The Executive Committee had responsibilities in all matters related to the management of the University and held general advisory powers. With the establishment of this committee, the full Board of Trustees no longer dealt with matters related to personnel or curricula.

In 1927, an amendment of the charter increased the number of state ex-officio Trustees to include: the Chancellor, the President of the Senate, the President of the State Board of Education, and the Commissioner of Education during their respective terms of office. This increased the connection between Rutgers and state educational agencies but also set up a new struggle for control of the University. In 1927, the New Jersey College of Pharmacy was integrated into Rutgers as approved by the Board of Trustees. In 1932, the charter was amended again allowing for the election of five women to the Board. Four were actually elected at that time.

In 1956, the New Jersey legislature passed a bill transferring the authority of the Board of Trustees to a Board of Governors. The managing corporate body was changed from the "Trustees of Rutgers College in New Jersey" to "Rutgers, the State University." Within the Board of Governors, the Trustees were represented by a minority, as the new board consisted of eleven members, six appointed by the governor and five by the Trustees, from among their membership. The President of the University and the Commissioner of Education served as ex-officio members. The new board controlled all University activities; it determined policy along with the educational and the financial needs of the University. The Board of Trustees functioned largely as an advisory board. It did retain control of certain funds and properties; however, the Board of Governors had ultimate control of these. During this period, the makeup of the Board of Trustees also changed. The state officials serving as ex-officio members were replaced by state appointed members of the Board of Governors. The size of the Board decreased, by reducing the number of "charter" members from fifteen to thirteen. Finally, the Trustees no longer served for indefinite terms, but instead, terms were limited.

From the description of Records : manuscript minutes, enclosures, and subject files, 1778-1956. (Rutgers University). WorldCat record id: 68910832

  • May 11, 1935: Due to pressures from both within and without the University, President Robert C. Clothier appoints the Special Trustees Committee to investigate Leinhard Bergel's charge that he was dismissed as a New Jersey College for Women instructor of German due to his political views. He names J. Edward Ashmead as chair of the Special Committee.
  • May 15 - 18, 1935 : President Clothier sends out letters to faculty and students asking them to submit evidence or mandatorily summoning them to appear for testimony.
  • May 21, 1935: First of 29 hearings held, at 2:00 pm, in the Trustees Room of Old Queens. Bergel, and later, Harold Archer Van Dorn and several students, take the witness stand and are examined by Committee members and NJ Assemblyman Samuel Pesin.
  • May 23: July 5, 1935: Mary Atwood, a witness in Bergel's behalf, is examined by Committee members and Hauptmann's attorney.
  • May 24, 1935: Ruth Wagner, a witness in Bergel's behalf, is examined by Committee members.
  • May 31, 1935: Evelyn Lehman, a witness in Hauptmann's behalf, is examined by Committee members and Bergel's attorney.
  • June 21, 1935: Sidney J. Kaplan, Bergel's attorney, proposed "amicable compromise and settlement" to Committee, with provisions for temporary reappointment of Bergel.
  • July 11 - 13, 1935 : Bergel takes the stand and is questioned by Committee members.
  • July 20, 1935: President Clothier requests of Ashmead that the Committee “conclude their labors promptly…” for reasons of vacation and other business.
  • July 23, 1935: Final hearing held.
  • August 9, 1935: Committee agrees to and signs final version of its report.
  • August 13, 1935: President Clothier sends final version of Committee report to Pandick Press in New York City (hand-delivered by Earl Schenck Miers of Rutgers Department of Alumni and Public Relations).
  • August 17, 1935: President Clothier formally announces that Committee has completed its report, and sends copies to certain persons.
  • August 19, 1935: Bergel delivers a “Petition of Appeal” to the Board of Trustees.
  • October 11, 1935: Trustees ratify Committee report and reject Bergel's petition.
  • December 19, 1935: Ashmead returns exhibits submitted by Bergel to him.
  • November 25, 1936: Ashmead's death ends six-year term as trustee.

Incidents prior to formation of the Ashmead Committee and not listed here are summarized in the penultimate chapter of the Committee's report. It should also be noted that although 110 witnesses testified as the hearings, only those listed in the chronology can be ascribed to particular dates, due to incompleteness of the court stenographer's transcriptions.

From the guide to the Inventory to the Records of the Special Trustees Committee to Investigate the Charges of Lienhard Bergel, 1934-1935, (Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Inventory to the Records of the Rutgers University. Board of Governors Special Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure, 1952-1958 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Inventory to the Records of the Robert C. Clothier Administration, 1925-1952 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Rutgers University. Office of the President. Records of the Robert C. Clothier Administration, 1925-1952. Rutgers University
referencedIn Neilson, Robert Hude, 1882-1940. Papers, 1921-1940. Rutgers University
referencedIn Cameron, Donald F. Records, 1925-1971. Rutgers University
referencedIn Berzinski, Chris. The Rutgers grass roots-progressive activists files 1921-1993 (inclusive), 1979-1993 (bulk). Rutgers University
referencedIn Rutgers University. Office of Public Relations. Academic freedom cases records, 1942-1958 (bulk 1952-1953). Rutgers University
referencedIn Guide to the Robert H. Neilson Papers, 1921-1940 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Queen's College (New Brunswick, N.J.). Board of Trustees. Records : manuscript minutes, enclosures, and subject files, 1778-1953. Rutgers University
referencedIn Queen's College (New Brunswick, N.J.). Board of Trustees. Records : manuscript minutes, enclosures, and subject files, 1778-1953. Rutgers University
creatorOf Rutgers University. Board of Trustees. Special Trustees Committee to Investigate the Charges of Lienhard. Records, 1934-1935. Rutgers University
referencedIn Boyd, Elizabeth R. The Elizabeth R. Boyd Historical Collection on Rutgers University, 1795-1956. Rutgers University
referencedIn Inventory to the Records of the Queen's College, Rutgers College and Rutgers University Board of Trustees: Manuscript Minutes, Enclosures, and Subject Files, 1778-1956 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Rutgers University. President's Office (Lewis Webster Jones). Academic freedom cases records, 1942-1958 (bulk 1952-1953). Rutgers University
referencedIn Rutgers College. Office of the President. Records of the William H. S. Demarest Administration, 1890-1928. Rutgers University
creatorOf Rutgers University. Board of Trustees. Records : manuscript minutes, enclosures, and subject files, 1778-1956. Rutgers University
referencedIn Inventory to the Administrative Records of the Lewis Webster Jones Administration, 1951-1958 Rutgers University. Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Rutgers University. Office of the President. Records of the Lewis Webster Jones Administration Group I: Administrative Records, 1951-1959. Rutgers University
referencedIn Rutgers University. Governors. Special Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. Records, 1952-1958. Rutgers University
referencedIn Richardson, Roy Mundy Davidson, 1895-1968. Papers, 1905-1968. Rutgers University
referencedIn Guide to the Alan Silver Papers, 1934-1987 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
referencedIn Silver, Alan, 1914-1988. Alan Silver Papers, 1934-1987. Rutgers University
referencedIn Guide to the Elizabeth R. Boyd Historical Collection on Rutgers University, 1795-1956 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
creatorOf Inventory to the Records of the Special Trustees Committee to Investigate the Charges of Lienhard Bergel, 1934-1935 Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives.
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Civil Liberties Union. corporateBody
associatedWith Ashmead, J. Edward person
associatedWith Ashmead, J. Edward. person
associatedWith Atwood, Mary. person
associatedWith Bergel, Lienhard, 1905-1987. person
associatedWith Berzinski, Chris. person
associatedWith Boyd, Elizabeth R. person
associatedWith Boyd, Elizabeth R. person
associatedWith Cameron, Donald F. person
associatedWith Clothier, Robert C. 1885-1970. person
associatedWith College of New Jersey. corporateBody
associatedWith Feller, Harry. person
associatedWith Frost, Orlo H. person
associatedWith Hauptman, Friedrich person
associatedWith Hauptman, Friedrich. person
associatedWith Kaplan, Sidney J. person
associatedWith Lehman, Evelyn. person
associatedWith Lippincott, Miriam L.E. person
associatedWith Miers, Earl Schenck, 1910-1972. person
associatedWith Neilson, Robert H., 1882-1940 person
associatedWith Neilson, Robert Hude, 1882-1940. person
associatedWith New Jersey College for Women. corporateBody
associatedWith Pesin, Samuel Richard. person
associatedWith Princeton University corporateBody
associatedWith Queen's College (New Brunswick, N.J.) corporateBody
associatedWith Queen's College (New Brunswick, N.J.). Board of Trustees. corporateBody
associatedWith Queens College (New Brunswick, N.J.). Board of Trustees. corporateBody
associatedWith Richardson, Roy Mundy Davidson, 1895-1968. person
associatedWith Rutgers College. Board of Trustees. corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers College. Office of the President. corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers University corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers University. Board of Trustees. Special Committee to Investigate the Charges of Lienhard Bergel. corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers University. Governors. Special Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure. corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers University. Office of Public Relations. corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers University. Office of the President. corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers University. Office of the President. corporateBody
associatedWith Rutgers University. President's Office (Lewis Webster Jones) corporateBody
associatedWith Schlimbach, Alice. person
associatedWith Silver, Alan person
associatedWith Silver, Alan, 1914-1988. person
associatedWith Special Trustees Committee to Investigate the Charges of Lienhard Bergel corporateBody
associatedWith The Queen's College, Rutgers College and Rutgers University Board of Trustees corporateBody
associatedWith Van Dorn, Harold Archer. person
associatedWith Wagner, Ruth. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey--New Brunswick
Subject
Fascism--New Jersey--History--20th Century
College teachers--New Jersey--Dismissal--History--20th Century
Academic freedom--History--20th century
Education, Higher--New Jersey
College teachers--Dismissal of--History--20th century
Education
Education--Political aspects--History--20th century
Fascism--History--20th century
Rutgers University--History
Academic freedom--New Jersey--History--20th Century
Education, higher
Universities and colleges
Politics and education--New Jersey--History--20th Century
Civil rights
Civil rights--New Jersey--New Brunswick
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1934

Active 1935

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