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Holloway shares thoughts on no-confidence vote, Cantor contract non-renewal

The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed University President Jonathan Holloway to discuss the latest happenings at the University.  – Photo by Nick Romanenko /

University President Jonathan Holloway gave his first interview since the University Senate's no-confidence vote last month and spoke with the Philadelphia Inquirer.

In the interview, Holloway said he has experienced hostility from some members of the University Senate in the past.

"I gave a Senate address (in September 2022) during which a member of the Senate called me a liar," Holloway said. "I was like, wow, this is not a constructive way to engage. They don't have to like my ideas, but I have never lied to them."

He said things got even worse during the strike at the end of the previous academic year, and he hopes this academic year will be quieter.

Holloway said that he believes part of the reason he has experienced a disproportionate amount of pushback is due to his race and being the first African-American president of Rutgers.

"I can't help but look at my predecessors, some of whom had really antagonistic opinions or viewpoints toward the same bodies, and they didn't find themselves in this situation," Holloway said, adding, "Part of it is that people from underrepresented groups ... are supposed to stay in line. And I don’t think I’m supposed to be OK personally being told I’m a liar and not respond."

He said he knows other Black men who work in higher education who have experienced similar hostility, especially on social media.

Still, last month's no-confidence vote does not change his plans or goals, he said.

Holloway also commented on the merger between the Newark and New Brunswick medical schools and how it could improve patient care and research.

"We can’t hire people to do the research in (neurology, for example) because we don’t have enough each in our New Brunswick community and our Newark community," he said. "If we bring these medical schools together, we can hire clinician researchers doing this work because that person now has two different pools of patients."

Holloway spoke about the decision not to renew the contract of Nancy Cantor, chancellor at Rutgers—Newark. He said they had different views on the direction and future of Rutgers—Newark.

"There's a natural tension between a president and any chancellor of 'I want to run my shop' — the chancellor would say this — and the president saying, 'OK, but we need to go in this direction,'" he said. "I also want to build my cabinet in the way that I feel we are really aligned in this work."

In the interview, Holloway also reaffirmed his commitment to moving past divisions on campus, specifically in reference to the Spring 2023 faculty strike.

"The work of repair is really challenging. We're all human. That's going to be a work in progress. I'm certainly committed to it," he said.

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