Fourteen signatories, former and current staff, faculty and administrators from the Rhode Island College community have sent a letter of grievances to RI’s Postsecondary Education and Board of Education, that detailed the drawbacks of President Carriuolo’s office and called for her departure from the college this past Friday.
The letter’s grievances explain a “lack of attention to finances, enrollment and protecting the quality of services to students,” and “capricious hiring, transferring and firing of personnel with utter disregard for demonstrated employee competencies,” alongside the lack of transparency and inability to maintain a stable organizational structure in the current President’s office.
The letter offers that many more signatures would have been included but, “they fear the president’s known propensity for harassment and retribution,” or expect budget cuts, demotions and losing their offices in response. It cites the personal and political bullying, dismissals and terminations for “honest professional disagreements” have created a toxic work environment. Since the President’s appointment “over 70 highly qualified administrative and professional employees have lost their jobs, been transferred against their will to other positions, or resigned because of intolerable conditions.”
It refers to the recent results of the Professional Staff Association survey in which 61 percent of respondents said they disagreed with the statement, “I trust senior leadership.” The letter says the survey “reveals the extent of the distrust of this administration by large segments of employees, and the outright fear that permeates the campus.” The survey also reported that 64 percent of responders disagreed that “the college’s senior leadership genuinely cares about the wellbeing of staff and faculty.”
Signatories say they want to prevent “lasting damage that the current administration has wrought on the morale, productivity, and delivery of high-quality services to our students,” and with the hope of new leadership rebuild Rhode Island College “on a foundation of honest leadership and with the highest levels of commitment, ethical integrity and demonstrated expertise.”
Thier call for change is a clear one, “Without new leadership, we fear that the College’s standing with its accreditors may be placed in jeopardy and its reputation in the community and among prospective students seriously harmed.”
In a statement Postsecondary Commissioner James Purcell allowed that at the time of review the Postsecondary Council responsible for evaluating the President’s administration will be taking both the letter and the college communities feedback into consideration. The signatories closing makes one demand — “Nancy Carriuolo must go.”
A unique part of the Rhode Island College’s on-campus environment is the 50-60 clubs that are student organized and operated. Junior Noah Carsten from Westerly, Rhode Island has discovered his path through the endless opportunities available at RIC.
When asked why he chose to come to RIC he replied,
“It was my first choice out of the six or seven schools I applied to. RIC was always number one, as any program I ever showed interest in it has one of the best programs around so it was an easy choice for me.”
Carsten is a secondary education major with a concentration on science and has acquired numerous skills and tools that will aid him in his future. As treasurer of Student Community Government, and prides himself in the fact that he strives to build relations with every club and lend support by attending their events. Carsten first had a taste of SCG when he joined the finance commission and gathered knowledge of the regulations that coincide with having a club budget. After being a part of the commission, he knew that he wanted to get involved with SCG, which was why he ran for treasurer.
“Being up here in SCG, it allows me to have knowledge about administrative things that go on around campus. If people off campus are looking for student opinions I like to go there and voice my concerns. I like to be everywhere and anywhere,” he said.
Carsten noted that Ballroom Dance club is part of the reason why so many doors have opened up for him.
“When I first joined, I felt like I was way over my head and I had never danced before didn’t know what I was doing and the dancer but the people were all so friendly and helpful that I fell in love with it and this is my second year on the e-board as treasurer,” he said.
Carsten dances at the silver level and competes at competitions all over New England. He especially enjoys the smooth dances such as waltz, tango, and fox trot. Carsten attends competitions where clubs from all over the region come together for a friendly competition.
“When I joined ballroom I was very in my shell and shy and I didn’t have a ton of confidence. When you get on the dance floor you do not have a choice but to break free, so you gain a lot of personal skills,” he said.
Carsten’s effort has not gone unnoticed as he received two awards last spring for his exceptional involvement. He received the best treasurer award for ballroom dance, and the most dedicated parliament member. He also received the RIC alumni scholarship his first year at RIC.
Carsten is a huge advocate for student life, as it has positively impacted his college experience over the past three years. He emphasized that RIC has a big sense of community, which allows you to meet all types of people.
“The clichés they tell you in the beginning are actually very true. I have met some of my best friends through ballroom. It’s a great away to resource yourself, meeting new people, gaining new skills. I am a huge advocate for student life,” he said.
Carsten sees himself working in a high school as a science teacher, as RIC was helped him realize that teaching is his passion. He also mentioned that he does not think that he will ever stop dancing.
Carsten closed by saying,
“I think RIC really opened the door for my future and opened my eyes and presented me with a ton of opportunities to have a great future.”
RIC Life Editor
Anyone who was around the Student Union last Friday night may have noticed booming music coming from the ballroom, and anyone walking by may have noticed a spectacular light show. What was taking place was in fact a drag show put on by RIC’s Epsilon chapter of the fraternity Kappa Delta Phi in conjunction with HOPE, RIC Programming, and the American Marketing Association.
One might not associate a fraternity with a queer community event, but Kappa Delta Phi is striving to connect many different parts of the RIC community, and what better cause than for veterans? All proceeds from the event (which totaled an impressive $300) went to Homes for Our Troops, which has a 90% rating, which means that only 10% of any proceeds they receive go towards its operation, leaving the rest to go directly to veterans. Fraternities in general have had a past of discrimination, but the current generation is a much more progressive bunch; anyone who identifies as male is welcome to become a brother whether he is a biological male, transgender male or cisgender male. Justin Supplee, an organizer of the event (as well as the night’s MC and a Kappa Delta Phi brother), had this to say about the change in attitude,
“You can’t change a stereotype unless you take the steps to do so.”
The drag show, called Drag For a Dream, featured top-notch performances from several drag queens from around the Providence scene, including Jordan Mayhem, Tee Amour, Lili Whiteass and Complete Destruction, who was crowned Ms. Gay 2015 in the RI Triple-Crown pageant. Many of the queens who performed at the event also frequent Providence’s Dark Lady, and host lip-sync battles, pageants and other such club events. Justin Supplee, Kappa Delta Phi brother, organizer and MC of the evening, stated
“We wanted to pick the best of Providence’s Nightlife.” He also mentioned wanting to choose a variety of different performers from “pageant queens, alternative, fantasy and campy (or comedy) queens.”
During the mid-show intermission, audience members were able to vote between three different Kappa Delta Phi brothers, with the winner to perform in drag at the end of the evening. Each brother stood on the stage with a basket, and whomever collected the most money in his basket would be made up by one of the performers. Of course, all money from the baskets went to Homes for Our Troops. For the rest of the month of November, Kappa Delta Phi will be collecting donations for the charity. To make a donation, visit their office in the Student Union or send an email to [email protected]
“2.2 billion people live in poverty,” explained Danielle Lafond, the Vice President of Oxfam America at Rhode Island College, a humanitarian organization that raises awareness and promotes the end to poverty.
“About 795 million people suffer from chronic hunger. A child dies from malnutrition or a preventable disease every 11 and a half seconds, that’s almost 8,000 children a day.”
Oxfam at RIC is a branch of the much larger Oxfam America, an organization that since 1974 has been running a grassroots anti-hunger campaign. Since then, Oxfam America has been reaching out to communities, especially high school and University students to volunteer in over 90 countries.
“Oxfam believes that human rights are not contingent on our country of origin, our gender, our ethnicity, our sexual orientation, or the money we have or need. Rather, human rights are fundamental and nonnegotiable.”
The Hunger Banquet is one of Oxfam’s many experiments to inform and teach about the state of the world’s poverty to people in communities who would be unaware otherwise. The dinner started out with the guests picking out different colored note cards; if you had a blue note card you represented a person who earns a high income, green cards were middle income people and yellow cards represented low – income people. Each person received a meal, but depending on what note card they received decided on how much food they were served. A blue, high-income card received a large salad, potatoes and chicken. The Green, middle income cards was served a slightly smaller serving of pasta and bread. Finally, the low-income, yellow cards were served a piece of bread, rice and beans. Lafond informed the attendants, however, that if this were an actual situation, those with low income would have gotten much less.
“In actuality, you should have just received like, a cup of rice and a spoonful of beans. The food staff was taken aback when we said we needed this little of food. They were being nice.”
Of the nineteen people in attendance, eleven of them were of low-income, representing the alarming ratio between people in poverty and high earning people. After the meal, guests were asked to discuss with each other what the experience was like. A young boy who had received a yellow card whispered that it was unfair that he got so little while everyone else received so much. This is the exact situation of poverty and starvation in the world. The event ended with Lafond reading a quote from the late Nelson Mandela.
“Massive poverty and obscene inequality… rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils. In this new century, millions of people … remain imprisoned, enslaved and in chains. They are trapped in the prison of poverty. It is time to set them free.”
Tensions at the University of Missouri have forced passionate students to take a stand, use their student voices and demand change, even here in Rhode Island.
Mizzou’s community condemned the racial injustices and the threats of violence on innocent people that went ignored by the university’s administration and sparked movements across the nation. Students from prestigious institutions including Brown, Stanford and Yale issued “statements of solidarity,” emphasizing that action must be taken now with the ominous promise that “we are watching.”
Social media outreach began to spread all around Mizzou’s campuses, plastering Facebook with support, outrage and demands for change, which resulted in the resignation of President Tim Wolfe.
Roger Williams University organized a “black out” in order to shed light on the dark times our society is facing, according to campus organizers. Parents and alumni of RWU began to complain about “wasting class time that is paid for,” and questioned the institution for allowing it.
Providence College held a march on campus and students wore tape over their mouths, urging students to stop letting their voices be stifled.
Rhode Island College entertains students with many different cultures and from different walks of life. Last Wednesday, members of the campus community questioned Student Community Government, Inc., about the current situation, and the political body encouraged the college to remember the diversity here at RIC. There has been a push to highlight the services provided by the college such as the Unity Center, the Women’s Center and Disability Services Center. The overarching goal is to assure students that RIC is meant to be a supportive and inclusive environment.