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President's Post 105: Statement on Federal Executive Order

Update: On February 6, 2017 Ramapo College endorsed the statement issued by NJASCU. 

Dear Students, Colleagues, and Friends:

All members of Ramapo College are valued. While this is indeed true for all, I write to emphasize its magnitude for our international students, faculty, and staff. As I traveled this weekend from San Francisco to New York, I saw some of the chaos and disbelief occurring in the airports. However, I also witnessed palpable good will among airport personnel, passengers, protesters, and others.

Such good will is also present here on our campus. In recent years, we have reiterated our support of internationalization and multiculturalism through our Strategic Plan and the development and strengthening of associated curricula and programming.  In September of 2013, along with many of the presidents at our sister institutions, I endorsed a letter urging the NJ Congressional Delegation to address the adverse impact of current immigration policy on the state’s higher education system and economic growth. More recently, on December 1, 2016, I again joined my presidential colleagues and signed a letter pledging to support our students who registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

President Trump’s January 27 Executive Order (EO) “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States” has raised critical questions and concerns for many of us and our families. Indeed, some of the elements of the EO readily appear incongruous with the purposes of higher education. The College, however, continues to review the order and the associated rulings that have since been issued to understand more fully how our campus may be affected.

Ramapo College has existing policies and procedures to protect its members and their privacy. In addition, Ramapo is a long standing member of NAFSA (the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange). We rely on NAFSA, in part, for guidance on matters related to the interest of our international students and scholars and participants in our study abroad programs. NAFSA issued this advisory regarding President Trump’s Executive Order. It details the exception made for lawful permanent residents and it describes the application of the EO to nonimmigrants and immigrants. I encourage you to review it and direct any questions you may have concerning any international travel or immigration policies to Ramapo College’s Roukema Center for International Education. 

In addition to NAFSA and the Roukema Center, helpful resources for faculty, staff and students also include:

Perhaps, however, our biggest resource is one another. What we can learn from one another through patient, respectful dialogue, and simple kindness yields us tremendous and transformative power. I have no doubt that we are a campus that is, and will continue to be, enriched by the range of our human experience.

Peter P. Mercer, President

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President's Post 104: 20 Days Into 2017

Dear Students, Colleagues, and Friends,

Welcome and welcome back to campus.

We are only 20 days into 2017 and there is already a host of news items to share that reflect the talents and energies of so many of you.

First, I’d like to acknowledge the staff, faculty, students, and alumni who contribute their time and talents to our recruitment and retention efforts. Our enrollment this semester is strong and we continue to see positive strides in the development and delivery of our graduate programs including the most recent launch of the M.S. in Accounting Program. Further, our undergraduate students are continuing with us at noteworthy rates and, to our new transfer students, it was my pleasure to welcome you to campus at the Winter Arching Ceremony earlier this week.

Second, the College has received a series of positive media highlights including:

  • Ramapo was ranked No. 184thin the nation in the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance Magazine Top 300 Best Value Colleges. Other NJ institutions on the list included Princeton, Rutgers New Brunswick, TCNJ, and Stevens Institute.
  • NJ Monthly’s January 2017 issue featured a prominent article on the College’s Krame Center for Contemplative Studies and Mindful Living.
  • NJ Business’ January 2017 issue highlighted the College’s success in competing for federal grants.
  • featured the successes of the RCNJ Men’s Basketball Team on December 29 noting that the team is ranked No. 19 in the Top 25 list as of January 1. The only other NJ institution to make the ranking is Jersey City University at No. 23.

On February 1, our basketball teams will host a doubleheader against Rutgers Newark.  Our Women’s Basketball team will play at 5:30PM and the Men’s Basketball Team will follow at 7:30PM. The matchups will feature the new Roadrunner Pep Band and a recognition ceremony for the Women’s Volleyball Team’s championship season.

Also on February 1, the Diversity Action Committee (DAC) will host the annual Diversity Convocation. The event will feature a luncheon and remarks by Kanya Balakrishna, Co-Founder and President of The Future Project. More information about Kanya is available on the DAC website.

Third, on the capital front the Library/Learning Commons Task Force met earlier this month with architectural and engineering professionals from Bohlin, Cywinski, and Johnson (BC&J) to discuss the phased work of the Task Force and BC&J. Further, the College, with the support of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors, has launched a capital campaign for the Library/Learning Commons and nearly $5 million has already been raised toward the project.

Last, although I grew up in Canada, I had frequent introductions to American lore— George Washington confessing to his father that he had chopped down the cherry tree, and Abraham Lincoln allegedly doing his sums by firelight using a piece of coal on the back of a shovel. Corny stuff, perhaps to some, but important nonetheless in impressing the importance of personal virtue in character development.  As New Jersey’s designated public liberal arts college, it is incumbent upon us, in 2017, to continue to inform and challenge one another through curricula that represent multiple perspectives and to create an environment in which those perspectives are valued and respected. When we conduct ourselves with virtue, with personal integrity, we are a stronger campus and, in turn, a greater asset in forging an educated citizenry.

Thank you, in advance, for your continued contributions to Ramapo College.

Peter P. Mercer, President

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