Breaking: Pruitt, Fenneberg leave Rider as DEI dwindles

By Jake Tiger and Amethyst Martinez

Pamela Pruitt, executive director for the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), and Leanna Fenneberg, vice president of student affairs, will both leave Rider mid-July, according to a pair of university-wide emails sent out on June 29. 

The news of their departure comes two days after Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of Justice, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Barbara Lawrence’s resignation announcement.

Pruitt, the first departure announced, is leaving after nearly 10 years with the university and will join the Capital Health Institute for Urban Care as its Manager of Community Connections. 

“Pam has been an integral part of the leadership of Rider’s diversity, equity and inclusion work for the past nine years,” said Lawrence in the email announcing Pruitt’s departure. “Her work has touched many students, staff, faculty and community members throughout the state of New Jersey.”

Pruitt, who has been at the university since July 2013, has reimagined the CDI office at Rider, creating a space not only for marginalized students, but also to educate the campus community.

According to the university website, “The Center for Diversity and Inclusion at Rider University supports the university’s efforts to reach and foster the understanding and appreciation of different cultures and ways of life that are shared by diverse groups of people through programming, policies and best practices.”

Fenneberg joined Rider in 2017, and in her time, helped develop and implement Rider’s Inclusive Excellence Plan, as well as its CDI. Details of Fenneberg’s future were not provided.

“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Fenneberg for her strong leadership and many contributions to Rider over the past several years and her commitment to the student experience outside the classroom,” said Provost DonnaJean Fredeen in the email announcing Fenneberg’s departure. “During this time of transition, I am confident that our talented Student Affairs staff will continue to provide outstanding service to our students. Once finalized, we will share details of a new divisional structure which will continue our commitment to a vibrant campus community, student success, and co-curricular learning all with a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Pruitt, Fenneberg and Lawrence’s departures will create three massive vacancies at the forefront of Rider’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.

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