Editorial: After hard times, healing can begin

While some of us got the chance to head to beaches this summer and enjoy these months of well-deserved rest and relaxation, Rider endured a more challenging time. Gone are the days when the former Delta Psi chapter of Phi Kappa Tau was surrounded by yellow crime scene tape, and television reporters swarmed the Lawrenceville campus immediately following Gary DeVercelly’s tragic and untimely death. Since then the Rider community has had to contend with the lasting ramifications and to support the pledge it made to ensure that what happened to one of our own never happens again.

The indictment of three Rider students, Dean of Students Anthony Campbell and Ada Badgley, director of Greek life, came as an unexpected surprise. The sensational coverage of Rider seemed endless at times and did not make matters any easier. Seeing President Mordechai Rozanski splashed across The Trentonian in a cartoonish photo illustration cutting off the flow of alcohol from a keg with a headline that read “Rider shuts down frat taps in wake of alcohol death” was a low point in the cycle of bad news Rider faced. Rightfully, the charges against Campbell and Badgley have been dropped.
Still, it’s time to pick up the pieces and steer Rider back on the right course. The presidential task force convened to review Rider’s existing rules and regulations on alcohol use should have been more representative of the student body. But, that is a debate for another place and time.

The issue at hand is binge drinking on college campuses. It is not a problem that Rider is facing alone, but it’s a challenge that the University is meeting head-on to protect the safety and welfare of its students. The title of the task force says it all. Ending the dangerous and abusive forms of alcohol consumption is a problem that can only be solved if we each take some personal responsibility. Otherwise, the new policies and stiffer set of penalties are meaningless. College is meant to be the best four years of our lives, but it is time we all honor the commitment we have to each other so that one night of partying does not end in senseless tragedy.

As we usher in a new academic year, union negotiations between Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors and the administration have become contentious and could end with the professors on strike. Both sides owe it to the students to find some common ground and reach a new contract before Sept. 30. The last thing Rider needs is another round of negative publicity.

The administration and the professors owe it to all of us paying almost $40,000 for tuition, room and board and books to find a resolution. For that amount of money we fork over, we deserve to receive a quality education and have the peace of mind that our professors will be there when we show up for class on Oct. 1.

It took a tragedy to bring us together and remember that we are a family. Let’s all do our part to preserve the solidarity that will allow us to move forward and see brighter days for Rider.

This weekly editorial expresses the majority opinion of The Rider News editorial board and is written by the Opinion Editor, Jamie Papapetros.

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