Dear NJLP Friends,

Recently (at least since September 10th ) Rowan University has decided that in light of a startlingly high number of alcohol related hospitalizations to require all Undergraduates of the school to take an online alcohol awareness class. Now when I first heard of these plans I found them to be perfectly understandable and even went as far as to applaud the administration for taking a proactive position in educating uninformed students about the potential hazards of excess drinking. Many students who enter into the college realm are overwhelmed by their new found independence and are unable to make mature decision without the immediate guidance of their parental figures. Also I found this to be a better alternative than having more school regulations put in place, however my praises quickly disappeared.

The reason for my change of heart comes from how the school has decided to implement this new policy change. Instead of going about this adjustment in a logical and fair manner, Rowan University has chosen instead to retroactively alter the course requirements for all undergraduates currently attending classes. Now in order for a Rowan student to graduate, schedule future classes, or get their transcripts they must have been credited with a passing grade of seventy-five percent or greater for this course. What is even more infuriating is that unlike traditional classes that are scheduled at the student’s discretion this course was assigned to everyone at the same time, regardless of schedule conflicts or their current workload.

It is despicable to think that the Rowan administration believes that it is acceptable to adjust the course requirements for students while they are still in the midst of completing their education. Does Rowan have complete disregard for the rights of its students? Despite my knee jerk reaction to the news it would be foolish of me to say that I was entirely surprised by this blatant breech of students’ rights. School politics often mimic those found in the country which the school operates, and since it is apparent that bureaucrats and politicians have no regards for American rights, why should Rowan show any for the rights of the student body?

In light of this announcement, I took immediate action to rectify the situation. Besides myself, I attend Rowan with two other active Libertarians Party members, both of whom can be heard along with me on the Common Sense Radio Program, Kevin Ferrizzi (our esteemed state treasurer) and Greg Iavorone. Along with their help I have been sending numerous emails to a Ms. Pamela Negro in order to have the class formally dropped. I have been thus far been unsuccessful in this endeavor due to most students not having either knowledge of and/or an interest in the matter, but not all is lost. Ms. Negro has assured me that if enough out-cry reaches her office then the class very well might be dropped, and any student who emails her can ask to be exempt assuming that they present a solid argument in support of their request (it seems I may have done that). Furthermore an email which not all students received stated that the school had adjusted the policy to only affect freshman, but this positions seems to have been recanted, and rather quickly.

Now I am quite cognizant that many who read this will question why New Jersey Libertarians should concern themselves with “trivial” matters that occur within the confides of but one of New Jersey’s numerous learning institutions? There are two main reasons why I am asking for your help and I do hope that they resonant with you. The first is that I can only assume that Kevin, Greg and I are not the only Libertarians to attend Rowan. Given the size of the school and its prominence within the region there is a very good chance that some of you either go to, or have ties to people who attend Rowan, people that may not have knowledge of these recent events. The second reason why I am asking for any assistance that the NJLP can offer is that Rowan has no real forum for protesting changes to its policy if you are a student, nor does there exist a certain place in which students come together to voice their concerns with one another. My hope is that perhaps in expressing my concerns with all of you that it might lead to an eventual up swell that would lead to the end of this horrid policy.

We Libertarians are devoted to our tireless pursuit to reclaim our lost liberties from those who wish to seize them for themselves, and this is no different. Though not as important as restoring the U.S. Constitution to its original standing, this fight exemplifies Libertarianism because it is one of independent people fighting oppression from a structural entity designed to control those within it. Rowan is using its power to strong arm the student into submission in the same way in which the federal government of these United States does with oppressive taxation or the Patriot Act.

I implore all of you who have read the length of this article to take action. If you or someone you know attends Rowan make sure that Ms. Negro is messaged about how this class is abhorrent. Detail how the school is infringing on students’ rights and how Rowan’s actions are in breach of the legally binding documents that all students sign on order to attend class. If Rowan is allowed to follow through with its plans then theoretically we are giving consent to future retroactive changes to the requirements for graduation. It would give them precedence to change the amount of credits necessary to receive a diploma in a student’s senior year if it so chooses. All attacks against the rights of people are wrong and we cannot allow any organization or bureaucratic body whether empowered by the federal government or a board of directors to overstep its boundaries.

Sincerely yours.

Bill Sihr
NJLP Campus Coordinator, Gloucester County Rep, and Loyal Libertarian