Westminster students, we welcome you

By Lauren Minore

A piece like this is hard to begin because, I admit, I don’t know exactly how you feel.

A part of me feels uncomfortable speaking on this because I am not in your position. I haven’t faced your reality and I won’t have to — but a bigger part of me knows that it is time to extend my hand to those in our community who feel the most vulnerable.

I know you are angry, I know you are hurt. There are probably times when your emotions hit you in waves and times when you feel nothing at all. It must be scary knowing that, if the latest plan in enacted, only about 200 of you are going to be thrown in with thousands of us. You must feel betrayed. I’m sure you feel like your beautiful, historic campus is being ripped from underneath you. Again, I can’t say I know any of this to be true — but I want to know how you feel.

The only way I can empathize is to try and imagine myself in your situation. If I had to leave my campus — where I have built my life for the past two years, made lasting friendships, discovered my passions and built the foundation of my dreams — I would be devastated. This is why I can’t fully understand how you must be feeling. Just imagining that is hard for me, living it is something completely different.

“I want to know when it became “you” and “us,” or “us” and “them.” Was there a time when it was all of us, one student body, one community? If so, could we reach that point again? Do you want it to be that way?

I believe that change can be good. It challenges us to be better versions of ourselves. It forces us to face reality and move forward without fear of the future. As hard as this may be, I believe the Westminster Choir College community is resilient. Your voices have been and will continue to be heard. In the coming months, it is my hope that they will continue to grow louder.

It is easy to place the blame on this administration and feel angry and defeated. But I feel it is more necessary, however, to move forward with the reality we all face and prepare ourselves for what is expected to come. The consolidation plan, as it stands today, will be implemented in fall 2020. Now it is my responsibility, as a Lawrenceville student, to make this transition as warm and welcoming as possible.

I don’t know how you feel, but if there is one thing I know, it is that our Lawrenceville campus community will benefit from having you here. Rider will have a more vibrant, richer campus community with artists like you. Your passion for Westminster Choir College transcends any movement I have ever witnessed in my lifetime. I believe our student body is greater when you are a part of it. I want you to know that you are welcome and feel that this is your campus too, even when it feels like the Rider administration is against you. Whether you believe administrators are responsible or not, it is time to embrace our identity as students of one Rider community, holding those above us in positions of power accountable.

The editorial staff of The Rider News works tirelessly to shed light on the truth every Wednesday morning. We work independently from the administration. In a world of “fake news,” we prioritize honest, objective journalism. There are times, however, when our roles as students compel us to speak our truths — this is one of those times.

To the Westminster community: Our newspaper would benefit from hearing your voices. Our paper is a platform for you to utilize. We need more writers. We need more submission of opinion pieces. I hope that you will embrace this invitation.

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