Letter to the Editor: A parent’s petition in the face of a possible strike

To the editor,
I have contacted Rider President Mordechai Rozanski urging his immediate action to prevent a strike at Rider. The following is the content of the letter that I sent, which is also a petition. I urge students, staff, faculty, parents and family members to join me in calling upon Dr. Rozanski to make sure there is no disruption of the academic calendar.

Dear Mordechai Rozanski,
We are writing as parents of students at Rider University and others to urge the administration to negotiate in good faith with the faculty at Rider University. As parents, we hold the administration solely responsible if there is a strike that interrupts classes. Rider University education is not cheap, and every day of a stoppage equals hundreds of dollars that we paid for the education of our sons and daughters that is being ripped off by poor university management. For there to be a strike in the middle of an academic year would demonstrate the utmost in mismanagement and disregard for the interests of the university.
With the millions of dollars parents pay in tuition, we want the highest quality of education for our sons and daughters — your students. To replace the esteemed faculty of Ph.D.s with those holding lesser degrees does not add up to the top quality education that we expect for our tens of thousands we pay in tuition. We bring our children to Rider because of the esteemed and high-quality faculty. We do not want the university classrooms at Rider to be converted to an educational sweatshop.
As parents we also value the importance of the voice of the academics — the professors — in making academic decisions. Administrators can make the administrative decisions — that makes sense, but those who are Rider University, who make up what is great about the university, the academics — should have the most say in academic direction.
The threats to reduce benefits and freeze wages will only push out and get the highest caliber of academics to steer clear of Rider University as it will instill a reputation as an academic sweatshop. That will continue to devalue the kind of education our sons and daughters receive for the highly priced education at Rider.
We urge you to step in and make sure there is NO STRIKE and that the university offers a reasonable package that maintains an attractive place to attract the best academics in the field ­— not by chump-changing on benefits, not by diminishing the credentials of the academic staffing, not by pushing the academics who know best out of the process of determining the academic direction and certainly not by disrupting the education of our sons and daughters by a mid-academic year showdown with the faculty.
We have initiated the Rider Parents and Students Committee for Labor Fairness group on Facebook and we will be watching closely. We are counting on you to make sure there is no strike and that the faculty gets fairness in the contract settlement.

—Bob Witanek, father of Wesminster Choir College student
Robert Colby-Witanek, junior piano major

To sign the petition, go to http://tinyurl.com/riderparentspetition


Printed on the 10/01/14 issue.

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