Encouraging student civic engagement

By Kaitlyn McCormick

Consistent criticism regarding President Gregory Dell’Omo’s administration and lack of action from the Board of Trustees has culminated in the planning of a “Save Rider Rally.” The event, taking place on March 2 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the Bart Luedeke

Center, was organized by Rider’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), who sent a mass communication to their colleagues on Feb. 25 urging the inclusion of “friends and fellow faculty members.” Communication via the AAUP’s Instagram also encouraged student attendance.

In an educational environment overcome with trickled-down tensions from these administrative conflicts, students may stand to gain a lot of perspective from attending the demonstration, whether that be to back their professors or take a keener eye into the issues being contested by faculty.

Senior journalism major and Executive Editor of The Rider News Sarah Siock said, “If someone is educated about it and understands why they’re holding a rally then I think definitely students should join. …If you feel strongly about it, you should be able to express that, and you should express it.”

But even for students who may lack full context as to the ins and outs of administrative upheaval, this event comes at a pivotal time for the university ‒ a time in which everyone should truly evaluate what Rider means to them and what they want out of their educational experience, not only as paying students but dedicated community members.

Junior sports media major and The Rider News Managing Editor Shaun Chornobroff delivered this message for students contemplating attending the rally: “Do it if it means something to you.”

Senior journalism major and Sports Editor Dylan Manfre said, “Fight for your university, fight for a better future for your university and the legacy of what will directly affect you.”

Understandably, many students may still be in the dark as to why the tensions between faculty and the administration are at a historic high – communication from the university and Student Government Association (SGA) alike has not been entirely consistent, transparent or forthcoming. But that does not change the reality that the AAUP has voted 86% no confidence in Dell’Omo and asked for the first time in university history for the removal of a president: those actions have weight.

Sophomore journalism major and The Rider News Features and Entertainment Editor Tristan Leach said, “Even if you give a fraction of a care to your everyday education … then you’ll go and you’ll learn because it’s your investment every day.”

Let this moment in Rider’s history serve as a learning experience. It’s OK for students to not be certain where they stand on each issue at play, but perhaps being in attendance will allow them to decipher their feelings.

Students have a responsibility to themselves to ask questions, think critically and function as civically engaged members of their community, not only for the sake of the remainder of their time at Rider but their lasting connection to the university as they transition into their professional lives.

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