Many things have happened at Rider University since the class of 2019 moved in. The university community is tightening its belt to work through some tough times. Strategic plans were implemented then reversed and will be soon replaced, students and staff have come and gone, money has come and gone, and even those who have been around for a while are not sure which needle points north. So what has changed? Eleven more students enrolled this year than last year, cars can come on and off campus as they please and there’s a pile of dirt in front of the library. If this is supposed to be a real change, I think it’s time we get a new compass.
One positive change I have noticed is there is a renewed student interest in university affairs. It seems like more students are reading The Rider News, more people are getting involved and more people are asking questions. What’s better than the fact that they’re asking questions is that they are positing solutions. The community is no longer standing for the unfortunate low student morale rankings we’ve received in past years and is putting its best foot forward to make sure that students are not only taken care of in the most basic sense but that they are happy here. It is important that we empower and continue this trend.
However, the university is also facing a “concerning but manageable” deficit of $10 million for this year. During tough financial times, it is necessary to carefully consider all possible vehicles for growth. Moreover, Rider should first revisit and strengthen the basic tenants upon which it holds itself before swimming into unchartered waters toward a mirage of a buoy. I hate to put it exactly in these terms but there is no need to #MakeRiderGreatAgain, but rather to say #ImWithRider (note that there is no political bias intended here…while they may have catchy hashtags, neither candidate’s platform is relevant to this editorial). This is to say that instead of pointing out the things that we perceive to be wrong with Rider, we actively work toward fixing them. That doesn’t mean applying for a job with an administrative office; it means voicing your opinion and protecting your interests.
Students have to come first when major decisions are being made — no questions asked. We came to Rider for various reasons, but we stayed for the tight-knit community brought together by the pursuit of our education. This is why we need academic program assurance: we need a promise from the university leadership that if we enter into an academic program, we will graduate in that program. Our education is the bedrock of our experience here, and it must be protected so that we can enjoy the things we love about Rider, from the great events on campus to the unforgettable memories we’ll make with the people we meet here.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the fun of being with people who are excited for the many new experiences they avail themselves of while at school. We stay up studying or hanging out until the sun comes up, go to three or more club meetings in one day, and look in every corner for the experiences that our parents and movies told us that we would have — and we can have them. We just have to be assured that we’re not studying so hard for the jobs and lives that we want in vain.
Let’s not leave the Rider Rock unturned. Sign the petition for academic program assurance now.
Junior political science major
Printed in the 10/12/16 issue.