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Richmond is not fulfiling its ‘promise’

Published: February 28, 2013, 2:33 am ET
Contributor

Some of you may have noticed the new banners around campus, draping from the posts along the roadways here at University of Richmond. These banners read “The Campaign for Richmond: Fulfilling the Promise.”

Fulfilling the Promise? As a student at Richmond, as well as a member of the track and field team, this damage-control tactic adds insult to injury.

The majority of the real University of Richmond community feels as though the administration has been failing its faculty, its students, its alumni and, ironically, its iconic Promise.

For those who need a brief synopsis of what has transpired recently at UR, here are the most controversial decisions made by the university: the cutting of the soccer and track and field programs, the firing of a librarian, the changes to Ring Dance, and the revocation of Kappa Sigma’s charter.

Wherever you stand on these issues, the decisions have been made with limited (at best) involvement of the Richmond community and hazy (at best) transparency of the decision making process.

Let’s flashback to the Save Our Sports (SOS) conference held last semester, where President Ayers said that the administration’s failure to keep the Richmond Promise was one of the best uses of the Richmond Promise he has seen here at UR.

Unfortunately for him, the realization of the Richmond Promise wasn’t in gleaming praise or steadfast commitment; it was because the administration is failing the university.

However, so much more happened in that conference with our current president. Ayers was seen yelling at the student body, mocking them with the now-popular phrase “What else ya’ got?”, avoiding answers, claiming two faculty members in the decision making process was adequate, laughing at a soccer player’s question and claiming that since the university as a whole was becoming more diverse we didn’t have to worry about keeping diversity in the athletic department.

I would love if Richmond began ‘Fulfilling the Promise,’ I am simply worried whether we have the right people in charge to do so.

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  • Alex

    I still cannot believe Ayers’s conduct at the SOS forum. He is (or rather was) considered an extremely reputable presidential candidate at many schools before choosing to bring the iron fist of the oligarchy to Richmond.

    I believe, honestly, that Ayers views himself as more intelligent than anyone and everyone that surrounds him. Ayers is a professor of history (or has been in the past), you would think that someone such as himself would understand how even the smallest actions can be catalyzed into terminating linchpins.

    Another well written reminder of the trespasses by the administration on students’ rights to a voice. Keep at them!

    • RC ’05

      I don’t agree with the cutting of these sports and I think that there are valid concerns about transparency and student input, but I just have to comment on the SOS forum.

      If you are going to fault Ayers for his behavior at the forum, then people need to be balanced about it and comment on the student behavior at the forum. I rewatched it and from the very beginning, Ayers was heckled and interrupted multiple times, from the very beginning. There was a complete lack of civility at this forum, from both sides. Students weren’t interested in hearing what anyone had to say…they wanted to yell and be angry. That’s fine…be angry! You have every right to be angry!! But to heckle, yell at and interrupt the very person you invited to the forum to get answers about is not civil and not respectful. You can be angry, think you are being lied to, think there is a cover-up/conspiracy and still be civil and respectful.

      The entire forum is not what I expect from my University..from its leadership, from its students and from its faculty (especially the “moderator,” who didn’t moderate anything).

  • Curious

    I’m curious to know who the “real University of Richmond community,” is the author is referring to. Is there a fake University community??

  • Anonymous

    I agree that the University has made some unexpected decisions this year. But are you actually familiar with the strategic plan for 2009-2014 known as the Richmond Promise that this campaign is promoting? Check your facts and you’ll see that the Richmond Promise barely if at all mentions athletics, or greek organizations. ( http://provost.richmond.edu/faculty-resources/fac-meetings/archives/pdf/12-11-08/Strategic_Plan_FINAL2.pdf ) The University of Richmond is an academic institution and the Richmond Promise aims to academically engage the student experience.

    • Another Anonymous

      Then why would it dispose of its most academically successful teams? Especially considering track & field costs the university a pittance compared to the other programs (and even less when you figure that it can share all its facilities with the women), does this move make sense? When looking at the roster math of other posters to the The Collegian website, you can see that it is significantly diminishing the quality of its academic program.