Rutgers University students are taking in-person classes after starting the spring semester online. But some students sued the university for closures during the first wave of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020, alleging they were entitled to refunds of on-campus tuition, fees and other charges after the school went to remote instruction.
Rutgers has agreed to pay $5 million, which will be evenly divided among roughly 64,500 students, minus about $950,000 in legal fees. A superior court judge ruled Friday that the deal is fair, adequate and reasonable. In the end, each student will get about $63.
Climate Action Plan
In his second address to the University Senate on Sept. 24, President Jonathan Holloway announced the university’s commitment to a Climate Action Plan and the formation of the Office of Climate Action that will lead the university’s efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2040. The office also will mobilize the university’s strengths to advance just, equitable climate solutions across the university and New Jersey and to work toward the United States goal of achieving national net-zero greenhouse gas emissions no later than 2050.
The climate action plan was developed by the President’s Task Force on Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience, a universitywide committee co-chaired by Rutgers climate scientist Bob Kopp and supply chain sustainability expert Kevin Lyons. The plan – the culmination of 21 months of effort – outlines a strategy that will guide Rutgers through the next three decades.
“Achieving these imperative goals will involve everyone in our university community and every aspect – from the day-to-day operations of the institution and our approach to facilities, policy and financial decision-making to Rutgers’ cutting-edge teaching, clinical services and research. Our success will also depend on our continued commitment to and strong relationships with our local communities, and the everyday actions of each one of us,” Holloway said. “I thank all who contributed to this plan, including those who served on the task force and related committees and all Rutgers community members who participated in the public Climate Task Force Town Halls and advocated for change.”
Holloway announced that Kopp and Lyons will codirect the new Office of Climate Action, with Angela Oberg, an assistant teaching professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and administrative director of the president’s task force, serving as associate director. The office, which will be housed in the Office of University Strategy, will lead the universitywide effort to achieve key milestones, including:
- Eliminating greenhouse gas emissions associated with the university’s grid electricity purchases, reducing carbon dioxide emissions from on-campus fossil fuel consumption by 20% and reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with commuting, travel and the supply chain by 30% by 2030.
- Eliminating emissions from on-campus fossil fuel combustion and becoming carbon neutral by 2040.
- Becoming carbon negative – ensuring Rutgers removes more greenhouse gases than it emits into the atmosphere – by the university’s 275th anniversary in 2041.