Faculty and students hold rally to demand removal of President of Rider University
The Rider University chapter of the American Association of University Teachers (AAUP) held a rally outside the building where President Greg Dell’Omo met with the board on March 3.
More than 140 faculty and students held up signs calling for Dell’Omo to step down and chanted “Greg Dell’Omo must go!” as president, members of his administration and board members entered the building, according to information provided by Dr. Barbara Franz, a professor of political science at Rider University and a resident of the chapter of the Rider University AAUP, and Dr. Jeffrey Halpern, Professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Rider University and Grievance Officer for the Rider University AAUP Chapter.
Faculty and students called for Dell’Omo’s removal after Rider’s chapter of AAUP overwhelmingly backed a vote of no confidence in the president, citing serious concerns about Dell’Omo’s leadership, the financial situation of university, declining student enrollment and the near destruction of Westminster Choir College, all of which have jeopardized the university’s long-term viability, the statement said.
In response to the AAUP’s vote of no confidence, board chairman John Guarino sent an email to the university community stating that the board continued to support Dell’Omo.
“Guarino ignored the long list of failures we cited and used platitudes and empty commercial rhetoric to cite the so-called ‘achievements’ of Gregory Dell’Omo,” Franz said in the statement. “Guarino’s response ignores the financial success of most of our peer institutions that have thrived in recent years despite the same ‘circumstance beyond our control’ that he cites as the reason for Rider’s difficulties.”
Art Taylor, professor of information systems, analytics and supply chain management, said: “Seven years of deviation, illogicality and missed targets for registration – this does not promote the confidence in the leadership of President Dell’Omo. The response from board chairman Guarino left professors little recourse. We need the board to act and replace the current management. The cost of silence is too high,” the statement said.
In response to the rally, Kristine A. Brown, associate vice president of academic marketing and communications, issued the following statement:
“The Board of Trustees and administration of Rider University recognize that AAUP members have the right to hold a gathering to express their opinions. However, actions like this are simply not helpful in solving the problems facing our institution.
“We have the opportunity for Rider to become a much stronger and more successful institution. Employing tactics aimed simply at discrediting the administration will not advance the university. On the contrary, the way to truly make a difference is to come together as a community and do the hard work necessary to solve problems, not point fingers.
“As the board has previously stated, it has the utmost confidence in President Dell’Omo and his administration’s ability to lead Rider through the current challenges facing the university and higher education as a whole. Directors and administration have a duty to address immediate issues for the long-term stability of Rider, and that is exactly what they are and will continue to do,” she said.