Professor Emeritus speaks about Westminster graduation ceremony cut – The Rider News
By Gerald D. Klein
The Rider administration’s decision to rescind a promise to the community of Westminster to continue to hold opening ceremonies at Princeton until 2023 is significant for two reasons.
Firstly, this message reveals that Rider’s central administration either remains deaf to, or treats as a lower priority, the feelings of many members of the Westminster community. Announcement Reveals People Out Of Touch; it alienates rather than unifies. One wonders if anyone in the administration spoke out against this decision.
Just this academic year, Westminster students’ frustrations with the inadequacies of their hastily built facilities culminated in a high-profile petition presented to the President and his administration. Many believe that the construction of these facilities was, on the one hand, totally unnecessary and, on the other hand, along with other pressing needs, a surprisingly reckless expenditure of scarce Rider dollars in the midst of a revenue-sapping pandemic.
A response to President Dell’Omo’s petition has been criticized by petition organizers and others as unsatisfactory, defensive, and dismissive. Many, many months later, there are conditions cited in the petition that remain to be addressed, according to an April 13 Rider News article.
The transition from Westminster to Lawrenceville was a business that had to succeed, and Chairman Dell’Omo is ultimately responsible for its shortcomings.
A second reason the announcement is significant is that the cost of the ceremony is mentioned as a reason for ending Princeton’s commencement after this year.
It’s revealed here that Rider will continue to face income issues through 2023 – the eighth year of this president’s term. Just last week, the president cited ongoing issues with student enrollment during a town hall meeting with the Rider’s Student Government Association.
With a second, overwhelming 86% vote of no confidence and a resolution and rally calling for the replacement of the president, the faculty indicated for the first time in Rider’s history that they do not believe the current president of Rider and his team have the ability to create financial stability for the University – to “turn the tide”, in the rector’s recent words. Achieving financial stability is vital for students and all those associated with the University, and for the very future of Rider University.
The president and his team have had many years to achieve this and have failed, and absolutely nothing has been communicated by this administration about the future except a desire to cut costs. What follows that? They borrowed up to the hilt – up to the edge of the University – and built it, and they didn’t come.
In the five pre-pandemic years of this president’s tenure, similar regional universities saw increases in enrollment and net income while Rider saw losses. Rider now carries a lower Moody’s bond rating — that is, it is riskier as a borrower — than any other university in that region rated by the company. Moody’s continues to assign a “negative outlook” to Rider.
Rider board members need to think about this story and take action. As they well know, and as any issue of The Wall Street Journal reveals, organizations quickly replace executives who don’t meet targets and don’t get the job done. It is high time for the Board of Trustees, as the designated steward of the university, to act quickly and select a new management team, one more willing and able to compete effectively with other regional institutions. , effectively promoting Rider in many student-rich geographic markets. . Rider’s competitors big and small are doing it today.
Gerald D. Klein
Emeritus Professor of Organizational Behavior and Management