Rider University faculty seek removal of President Dell’Omo

LAWRENCEVILLE, NJ — The Rider University chapter of the American Association of University Teachers (AAUP) has called for the removal of President Gregory Dell’Omo from his post. The AAUP, which includes full- and part-time faculty, librarians, coaches and athletic staff, voted “no confidence” in Dell’Omo’s leadership.

The AAUP said it has “serious concerns” about Dell’Omo’s professional performance, which has led to “the university’s weakened financial condition”, declining student enrollment and “near destruction of Westminster Choir College”.

The group said Dell’Omo’s failures put “the University at risk”. AAUP members called on the board to remove Dell’Omo as president of Rider University.

“President Dell’Omo’s mismanagement has cost Rider University millions and millions of dollars. To fix it, he plans layoffs and buyouts, but the only person who should get a pink slip is Greg Dell’Omo” , said Barbara Franz. , President Rider University AAUP Chapter. “If Rider wants to survive, Dell’Omo must go.”

Dell’Omo has served as President of Rider University since 2015.

The resolution comes after Dell’Omo announced the “Voluntary Separation Program” for employees in January. The program aims to reduce salary and benefits expenses. According to the University, this program allows certain employees to voluntarily resign from their positions in exchange for financial and other incentives.

Members of AAUP’s Rider’s Chapter are not eligible for the program because their terms of employment are governed by a separate collective bargaining agreement, the University said.

Financial failures, loss of reputation:

Rider chapter AAUP board member Arthur Taylor said Dell’Omo’s tenure was marred by financial failures. “He has effectively failed in every major category of financial leadership. Rider’s Board of Trustees should recognize his fiduciary responsibility to the institution and for the good of the university should remove him as President of the University. ‘Rider University,” Taylor said.

According to resolution adopted by the AAUPUnprecedentedly, the University experienced three bond downgrades, saw a 19% drop in full-time enrollment and reduced its net income by $6 million.

The AAUP also said Dell’Omo’s decisions to move Westminster Choir College from Princeton to Lawrenceville resulted in the loss of alumni support, reduced enrollment and loss of reputation.

In December, more than 120 students and recent graduates of Westminster Choir College signed a petition, decrying the administration’s failure to deliver on promises to students, false statements of intent and inadequate facilities. Read more: Rider U. failed to deliver, say Westminster Choir students

Administrators trust Dell’Omo:

The Rider University board of trustees told Patch on Friday that they fully endorse Dell’Omo.

“While the voices of all members of the Rider community are important, the Board of Directors is deeply disappointed by this action and reaffirms its support for President Dell’Omo and his leadership team,” said John Guarino, President of the Rider University Board of Trustees. noted.

Trustees said the AAUP vote comes at a time when many institutions, including Rider, are grappling with the long-term effects of the pandemic.

Responding to the vote of “no confidence” against him, Dell’Omo said the pandemic was “exacerbating existing challenges”.

“Every day, tuition-dependent private institutions like Rider grapple with issues related to affordability, enrollment, competition, declining state and federal funding, success and student retention, and the impending drop in the number of high school graduates,” Dell’Omo said. Patch in a statement. “As if that weren’t enough, a global pandemic has erupted, exacerbating existing challenges and creating new unforeseen ones.”

“While we have already accomplished so much to address the financial challenges of the pandemic, enrollment and more, we must take decisive but difficult steps to achieve financial stability in order to position Rider so that we can continue. to strategically invest in and improve the delivery of our mission and student outcomes given the changing environment we face.”

The University said it was now faced with the “hard truth” that more needed to be done to bring spending in line with income and reduce its budget in order to run a more financially viable institution. The voluntary separation program will address critical immediate needs, Rider said.

“President Dell’Omo and his team are taking bold steps to create a Rider University that can withstand the impacts of a rapidly changing higher education climate and ensure Rider’s success in the future,” said Guarino. “Directors have full confidence in President Dell’Omo and the steps he continues to take towards meaningful progress for the institution as a whole so that it can overcome its current challenges and endure for years to come. .”

Thanks for the reading. Do you have a correction or topical advice? Email [email protected]

Get news alerts on your phone with our app. Download here. Sign up for Patch emails so you don’t miss local and national news

Earnest L. Veasey