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Rider president speaks promptly to charges being dropped; changes to Greek life planned

August 28, 2007 – Rider Statement Following Dismissal of Charges

To the Rider University Community:

On August 27th, Mercer County Prosecutor Joe Bocchini informed Rider University that he would seek immediate dismissal of the criminal charges against Dean of Students Tony Campbell and Director of Greek Life Ada Badgley. Today the Court dismissed the charges against Tony and Ada.

Needless to say, the dismissal of the charges against our colleagues was very welcome news. The indictments of Tony and Ada had surprised us, given that neither was present at the incident nor did they participate in any of the activities outlined in the prosecutor’s press release of August 3, 2007. We are pleased by the prosecutor’s motion and the judge’s decision to dismiss the charges.

Both Tony and Ada, who had been on paid administrative leave since August 13, will return to their positions with Rider this week. We are grateful to Jan Friedman-Krupnick, assistant vice president for Student Affairs, and the entire student affairs staff, all of whom stepped forward and continued preparations for the launch of the fall semester.

We can now all turn our full energies to our two most important priorities – welcoming our students back to Rider for the start of the fall semester and continuing the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Task Force on Alcohol, Personal Responsibility and Student Life. Our new measures include rigorous policies, educational programs, and enforcement measures that will help protect the health and safety of our University community.

When classes resume next week, students on both campuses will notice the following changes, among others (for a complete list of the Task Force recommendations, go to www.rider.edu/files/task_force_report_final.pdf):

* A new campus-wide policy that prohibits social events with alcohol in residence halls and Greek houses. There will still be alcohol served, to students of legal age, at registered events in licensed and supervised venues on campus.

* A new Good Samaritan policy that encourages students to seek immediate help for medically compromised students without facing campus repercussions.

* The use of the on-line Alcohol.Edu education program as a component of the freshman seminar program.

As we all know, the misuse of alcohol on university campuses is a national problem. Many colleges and universities throughout the nation are joining us, led by their student affairs professionals, in redoubling efforts to learn from this experience. We, and they, are doing all we can to try to ensure that nothing like this happens again. It is our desire that Rider University stand as a model in the fight to combat alcohol abuse on campus. We have sought out best practices nationwide and have introduced creative new solutions aimed at keeping students safe. Our goal remains unchanged – to make our University an even stronger, safer and healthier learning community.

Thank you for your many expressions of support to us and to the DeVercelly family. And thank you for the important role you will all play in helping to strengthen our community.

Mordechai Rozanski
President
from www.rider.edu

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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