'U' lawyer leaving for Rutgers position

BY KRISTIN OSTBY
Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 6, 2004

A key legal coordinator for the University admissions cases will
be leaving the University for a position as vice president and
general counsel at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

The president of Rutgers, Richard McCormick, announced yesterday
that Jonathan Alger will take his new position in January. Alger
said he is going to Rutgers because it is a great opportunity.

Alger has been assistant general counsel and taught
interdisciplinary courses at the University for four and a half
years. Most notably, Alger helped coordinate the University’s
defense of its race-conscious admissions, in which the U.S. Supreme
Court eventually ruled in favor of the Law School policy but struck
down the LSA point system.

He was also central in organizing a University brief filed with
the Supreme Court that joined 75 amicus, or “friend of the
court” briefs that were signed more than 500 corporations and
individuals.

“A lot of legal observers believe that the amicus briefs
were a significant

factor in the University’s victory because the justices
cited them prominently in the majority opinion,” University
spokeswoman Julie Peterson said.

“I’ll certainly miss the University of
Michigan,” Alger said. “It’s been a great place
and a tremendous time to be here, and I feel honored to have been
part of the affirmative action cases and the University’s
efforts in that area.”

Alger is also an adjunct faculty member for the Law School,
School of Education, School of Information and School of Public
Policy. He currently teaches a course on higher education law for
the Schools of Law and Education.

Alger said he is looking forward to his new position.
“This is a great opportunity to go to Rutgers and to lead a
legal office at a large public university.”

He said he will be the head of the university’s legal
office and he will also be a member of the president’s
cabinet.

Alger’s colleagues said they will miss his presence at the
University, but they also said they are happy for him.
“It’s our loss and Rutgers’s gain,” said
communications Prof. Anthony Collings, a former CNN court reporter,
who helped handle communications for the lawsuits.

University President Mary Sue Coleman said she acted as a
reference for Alger when Rutgers was considering him for the
position.

“I admire him so much, and we’ll really miss him.
I’m so pleased for him,” Coleman added.

“He really distinguished himself in the Supreme Court
cases,” Peterson said. She said it is common for faculty
members to show their excellence at the University, making them
more appealing for other positions.

“I’m extremely happy for him,” Marvin Krislov
said, vice president and general counsel, who holds the same
position here that Alger will be taking at Rutgers. “I think
he’s done a spectacular job here from everything from
affirmative action to intellectual property to his teaching.
He’s been incredibly effective in his work on campus, and
he’ll be missed,” he added.

Krislov said the General Counsel’s office has not yet
begun to search for a replacement. “We’re still
digesting the news,” he said.

Alger said Rutgers has many similarities to the University of
Michigan, particularly in that it is a large public university with
a commitment to diversity. “And their football team is
getting better,” he added.