Faculty, students hold rally to call for removal of Rider University president

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF RIDER UNIVERSITY'S CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY PROFESSORS
Rider University’s Chapter of the American Association of University Professors held a rally to oust college president Gregory Dell'Omo on March 3.

Rider University’s Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) held a rally outside the building where President Greg Dell’Omo met with the Board of Trustees on March 3.

More than 140 faculty and students held signs that called for Dell’Omo’s removal and chanted “Greg Dell’Omo must go!” as the president, members of his administration, and board members entered the building, according to information provided by Dr. Barbara Franz, professor of Political Science at Rider University and resident of the Rider University chapter of the AAUP, and Dr. Jeffrey Halpern, professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Rider University, and chief grievance officer of the Rider University chapter of the AAUP.

Faculty and students have called for Dell’Omo’s removal after Rider’s chapter of the AAUP overwhelmingly supported a no confidence vote in the president citing serious concerns with Dell’Omo’s leadership, the university’s financial condition, decline in student enrollment, and near destruction of Westminster Choir College, all of which have placed the long-term viability of the university in jeopardy, according to the statement.

In response to the AAUP’s vote of no confidence, Board Chair John Guarino emailed the university community stating that the board continues to support Dell’Omo.

“Guarino has ignored the long list of failures we cited and used platitudes and empty business 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 who have prospered in recent years despite dealing with the same ‘circumstance beyond our control’ he cites as the reason for Rider’s difficulties.”

       Art Taylor, professor of Information Systems, Analytics and Supply Chain Management, said, “Seven years of deflection, illogic, and missed targets for enrollment – these do not foster trust in president Dell’Omo’s leadership. Board chair Guarino’s response has left faculty with little recourse. We need the board to act, and replace the current leadership. The cost of remaining silent is too great” according to the statement.

In response to the rally, Kristine A. Brown, associate vice president of University Marketing & Communications, released the following statement:
“The Rider University Board of Trustees and administration acknowledge that the members of the AAUP have the right to hold a rally to express their opinions. However, actions such as this are simply not helpful in solving the issues facing our institution.

“We have an opportunity for Rider to become a much stronger, thriving institution. Employing tactics merely aimed at discrediting the administration won’t move the university forward. Rather, the way to really 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 stated previously, 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. The trustees and administration have a duty to address immediate-term issues for the long-term stability of Rider, and that is exactly what they are and will continue to do,” she said.