Into this world we were thrown, some with limbs flailing and words flying, others with stern expressions and powerful fists. But as the faculty union put an offer upon the desk of the administration we rejoice, because there is a way out of the flurry of program cuts and layoffs.
The future of Rider University was a bleak one if no offer was accepted, filled with mistrust and a community lacking enthusiasm. As neighbors, family members and high school seniors ask current students how they feel now that they are part of a declining university, we briskly smile and stick up for the place that we call home. But how many times can we stick up for a university that has no means of communicating what our future holds, even if we gained what we wanted?
We know that these program cuts were created to redeem our projected deficit, and to begin the reconstruction of a better university, but how will we get there? In short, the public has no idea. This is a major shortfall of the administration, who must begin to speak openly and freely to the community and encourage everyone that the tide really is turning, that there are good intentions. As of right now, no one knows where the university is headed and what might, or might not, be lurking down the road.
And why didn’t this agreement occur sooner? Why did the administration raise the hairs on everyone’s neck as images of packed boxes danced in our minds? The administration wants us to think that we can now rest easy. That we obtained the outcome we desired. But the truth is that we cannot rest. This could very well happen again, or even worse, in two year’s time. What the university has to do now is increase enrollment in those majors that were affected so that we will not be in this predicament again.
What the Rider community showed was that the vocal majority does have a voice, and that what occured in the ’60s and ’70s is not just history. Protests, petitions and many, many letters can have a profound impact on the outcome of any situation. Students at this university are not quick to come together and protest something they do not believe in, but cutting our education went too far. Echoes of student sentiments trickled down every hallway and out of every classroom. This just shows the importance and true grit that every student has inside to truly make a difference, not only at our institution but on the world.
Over the past week Rider’s reputation has faltered, with negative headlines and mistrust among students, faculty and alumni. People wreaked havoc on Facebook and Twitter, posting livid comments and stabbing statuses about the university’s decision. So what is there to do to redeem the university’s appeal, as students and faculty who would have been refugees may now be able to go back to normal? Administrators: Communication is key.
Only in a situation where we can all win, can we all rebuild momentum. As the philosopher William James suggests, the most rational option in a debate is the path that must be taken. This tentative agreement is more sensible than erasing 14 academic programs and laying off 14 faculty members. The administration took the most logical approach to the situation, but now the hard work must begin.
When the faculty gave an olive branch to the administration it was in hopes of mending all ties. This agreement will hopefully replace dismal headlines with optimistic ones.
The community worries what will come next. More communication is needed to strengthen the relationship between the administration and those it serves. The future is a fearsome prospect, especially for those who have no idea what to expect next. But with guidance and perseverance, Rider can feel great again.
Students should not learn to fear the future. Faculty members should not have to be scraping pennies off the floor at Cranberry’s to make ends meet.
In the workforce there will be times when employees who are now students will be wary of what lies ahead for them, but there should be a sense of communication and truth that should persuade them to have faith in whatever the future may hold. Is this what we are teaching the future workforce? That we should be fearful and concerned about what might lie ahead for us rather than be knowledgeable about what will become of our jobs?
Many students came here because they could not afford other institutions and some simply loved Rider so much that they chose their major or minor to feel a part of the institution. What will become of student pride and happiness that is already dwindling? The programs and educational opportunities that Rider presents are some of its major selling points. The events are lacking and many students say that faculty and programs are what truly makes them stay. This tentative agreement should raise morale among students and have a trickling effect throughout the university, but we need the administrators’ help to build a happier institution. Talk might be cheap but tuition is not. Students need to know that their money and time are valuable.
The thing that remains is our love and passion for this institution, passion that rings out in all of our voices. This passion must bring us together to create a better, long-lasting institution that attracts fantastic faculty and produces well-prepared, dedicated students. The university must remember that in all things prepared, we shall succeed, and in all things not prepared, we will lose the game.
The weekly editorials express the majority opinion of The Rider News. This week’s editorial was written by the Managing Editor Alexis Schulz.
Printed in the 11/11/15 issue.