To the Editor:
My colleague Pam Brown places upon faculty the onus of campus-wide unhappiness and conflict when she suggests that faculty attendance at the president’s inauguration will signify to the outside world that all is well at Rider University (letter to The Rider News, Feb. 17, 2016).
My own view is very different. If the appearance of campus conflict is to be avoided, that is something President Dell’Omo should have thought of prior to laying off tenured faculty and doing away with majors and minors after having spent a mere three months on the job.
How could appearing to honor our seventh president magically restore public confidence in an institution whose reputation that same individual irreparably harmed by claiming to state news media that Rider was in financial crisis? “The new president was frank,” reported The Star-Ledger, The Times of Trenton and NJ.com. “Rider just didn’t have enough students to cover its bills.”
Even if that had been true (clearly, it was not), this is something that no one who is committed to the long-term reputation and concomitant financial health of the institution would ever announce in the press.
The truth is, conflict cannot be avoided. We have a faculty dedicated to providing Rider’s students with a true 21st-century global education. And we have a president whose vision of a “university” excludes majors in environmental science, European languages other than Spanish, economics (the subject of the president’s own apparently devalued undergraduate degree from Montclair State), sociology, and the discipline that started it all, philosophy.
Printed in the 02/24/16 issue.