By Jess Hoogendoorn
“Rider students are out of control,” said a Lawrenceville resident in a local barbershop after the reported assault of a former ZBT member appeared in local newspapers a few weeks ago. Apparently, this feeling is mutual among certain Rider students.
Just because there have been a few instances on Rider’s campus involving drinking and fights in relation to fraternities, it has been said that Greek Life should be disbanded. But many are forgetting the good some sororities and fraternities do for the community, such as helping out with campus blood drives and organizing other philanthropic events.
So if we can’t blame Greek Life for Rider’s “drinking problems,” whom do we point the finger at? Many would shove the administration into the spotlight.
Two students died over the past year and a half because they made terrible decisions involving alcohol and drugs. The administration cannot be held responsible for the actions of these students because its job is not to hold the hands of all the 18- to 24-year-olds who live on and off the university’s two campuses. The administration should provide a safe campus, but it can only do so much.
In response to the tragedies, the administration implemented numerous policies to try and curb dangerous behavior and make Rider a safer place. These policies have been successful. There has been an obvious increase in the number of alcohol-related arrests, not because students are drinking more, but because Public Safety, and the university as a whole, is doing its job of making a conscious effort to crack down on illegal drinking habits.
Even though the number of alcohol violations has gone up, and there have been two tragic substance-abuse deaths at Rider, this does not mean Rider degrees are worth less. To find proof of this, one needs to look no further than the pages of this issue of the newspaper to see that Rider’s “bad” reputation does not hamper students’ opportunities.
Rider’s so-called bad reputation did not stop Johnson & Johnson from offering six seniors and a graduate full-time jobs; it did not stop a student from getting an internship and winning $500 for her graphic design; and it did not stop Jason Thompson from getting signed to the Sacramento Kings. These are all success stories of students who made it not because they came from a school with a perfect reputation, but because they worked hard and excelled as individuals.
It’s time to take personal responsibility and hold people accountable for their actions. Stop blaming the administration for the mistakes students are making. If you want change, start with yourself and then help others see the errors of their ways.
If you are still truly afraid that your degree will be meaningless, I suggest you transfer. But if you understand that you make your own future by working hard, then continue reaping the benefits of the excellent academic and extracurricular programs at Rider.