Students express deep concern of Rider’s future as faculty union consider striking

By Felicia Roehm

Over the past year, The Rider News has extensively covered the growing tensions and contract negotiations between Rider’s chapter of American Association of University Professors (AAUP) and the university’s administration that has led to the point of a potential strike. 

On Sept. 4 and 5, Rider faculty were picketing outside the Campus Mall as students moved into their dorm room. The AAUP represents many university faculty members, including professors, librarians and coaches. Throughout the summer, AAUP and the administration have attempted to renegotiate the employment contract for all faculty. However, at the time of publication there is no resolution/.

The Rider News editorial board stands by the AAUP and their right to protest for what they believe they are entitled to. The editorial board hopes that, eventually, a contract suitable for both sides can be agreed upon so our education can become the main focus once again. 

Bronc Buddies helped students move into their dorms as faculty protested outside. Amethyst Martinez/ The Rider News

What do students think?

As students, it feels like there’s a lack of support for professors, who are the heart of the university. The students know that the professors come to Rider to teach their passion and cannot thrive in the university’s current environment, which feels increasingly hostile from an outside perspective. A great deal of pressure is on the professor’s shoulders, and the looming threat of jobs being at stake can be stressful and scary. Some departments are getting more attention than others, each may not get an equal educational experience. If programs continue to be cut, students could get fewer opportunities than others depending on their major. It is common for schools to focus on one aspect of education more than the other, but at Rider, there is a variety of majors that should all get the same attention.

Joel Feldman, an associate professor, holds a sign saying “AAUP=Unified and strong!” Andrew Xon/The Rider News

The future of Rider

This situation could tarnish Rider University’s reputation, and it raises concerns among students that future employment upon graduation could be at risk. Students look up to their professors as mentors and want experienced professionals leading their classes. They want to pay for a valuable education that will serve them in their career field, but students are afraid that professors’ inability to obtain the resources they need will jeopardize their education. Hopefully, an agreement can be made among both parties in this negotiation, and Rider is able to keep professors who not only love this university and its students, but are also some of the most knowledgeable and respected individuals in their fields. Students have to remember that they are a stakeholder at Rider, and their opinion matters now more than ever before. This decision impacts everyone, and students may be the ones who have to pay the ultimate price for these negotiations.

This editorial expresses the unanimous opinion of The Rider News Editorial Board. This week’s editorial was written by Opinion Editor Felicia Roehm.

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