Professor calls for new direction at Rider – The Rider News

By Gerald D. Klein

Recent articles in The Rider News report how the cuts supposedly required by university finances, like others before, are hurting and stressing students and staff. Students rightly point out that they pay a lot of money for reduced opportunities and empty university programs. A different Rider was marketed to students, raising a deep ethical issue.

Honors liberal arts students should have no difficulty completing their capstone requirements. Students shouldn’t mourn the dwindling opportunities in the fine and performing arts — still a target of the current administration obsessed with Rider’s business. There was also the end of an opportunity to gain a career-enhancing credential through the leadership development program. This administration has a history and a knack for ransacking Rider’s assets.

With a my way or highway approach, Rider President Gregory Dell’Omo, unlike truly collaborative leaders, failed to seek out and utilize the ideas and energy of faculty and staff at Rider to grow enrollment and maintain Rider excellence. His administration continually seeks to increase the number of less qualified people to teach in Rider’s classrooms. Very important to the students and the reputation of the university, Rider is no longer a coveted workplace for outstanding faculty candidates.

In seven years, the president and his team, who are generously paid and who have been rewarded when others have not, have failed to establish the financial stability of Rider. They have demonstrated an inability to change things. It is well known that the decisions made and the measures taken before the pandemic, proposed by the president and accepted by the board of directors, have considerably worsened the financial situation of Rider. These resulted in tens of millions of dollars in lost university revenue and many millions in costs. Rider students, faculty, and staff today live with the effects of those decisions, including the cuts reported by The Rider News.

After eight long years – a lot of time – it is clear that the strategy and efforts of the president and the current team are not working. A telling statistic: 73% of Rider freshmen this year are from New Jersey. The continued reliance on New Jersey for students is, and has been for years, astounding and a recipe for disaster. Is this the best we can do? This is certainly not the case.

Institutions similar to Rider would have sought replacements at the top long before today, and I can tell you that professional organizations would have intervened long before today to stop this downward spiral. Rider’s business-trained president knows this; examples abound. It’s well established that you can’t beat your way to excellence restoration, and Rider had excellence during my time there. This administration has no confident vision of the way forward.

The clock is ticking, and it’s time for the Rider Board to take action and bring people to Rider who believe in collaboration and can make a difference. The best team has been too stretched – this horse has been ridden too long – and it’s time for this to end. The long-awaited and recently announced fundraising campaign can easily be transferred to the new leadership of the campus.

Earnest L. Veasey