Educators are striking at New Jersey’s state university, which has pumped $246 million from its endowment into high-fee hedge fund investments since 2020.

by Matthew Cunningham-Cook, The Lever

Rutgers University is refusing to pay some instructors living wages or give its faculty raises that would keep up with inflation — prompting the first-ever strike in the school’s history. At the same time, New Jersey’s state university has continued to plow ever-more funds from its endowment into high-fee investments that are performing poorly.

The Rutgers strike, which began Monday, is over basic issues like wages, job security, and the cost of university-owned housing. Currently 9,000 educators are taking part in the action. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D), who appoints members of Rutgers’ Board of Governors, is currently acting as mediator between unions and university management.

Rutgers University logo flag with backdrop of colorful maple tree leaves turning gold and red in autumn.

The episode underscores the critical role that university endowments are playing in subsidizing the lifestyles of some of the wealthiest people on the planet — at the cost of livable wages for the people who teach students.

The interest from university endowments is used to fund school operations, including educator salaries, as well as designated scholarships and faculty chairs.

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