According to recent reports from InsideHigherEd.com, an online news source for college and higher education, Dr. Frank Rybicki, will finish the 2011-2012 academic year, but it will be his last here at VSU. According to Rybicki, this was the decision of the VSU administration.
For those who are not aware, last semester Rybicki was involved in a confrontation with a VSU student. The case was brought to charge, and Rybicki was acquitted of all charges, yet VSU hasn’t renewed his contract.
Throughout the whole Rybicki ordeal, students have been standing up for the mass media professor by creating petitions and using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, respectively.
Through most instances where a professor’s actions were questioned, students have made a clear voice on campus and online. In 2009, the GW Hatchet campus newspaper of George Washington University in Washington D.C reported that Rachael Pollack, an art professor, didn’t receive a contract for the following academic year.
Once students heard the news, they got together and created a group and even met with the university president to save their favorite professor. Pollack was later given a contract and was surprised about the overwhelming number of students who cared about her. Something about Pollack’s story and Rybicki’s story was very similar.
While students voiced their opinions frequently, faculty and administration for the schools were quiet. While legal issues or self-preservation may keep them from speaking out, the faculty should stand by their counterparts just as much as the students do. It shows that not only the students have respect for their teachers (regardless of what one person does), but that the school isn’t divided. A divided campus will never look good for anyone.
New professors wouldn’t want to teach at a school where students are perceived to complain about every little thing and students wouldn’t want to deal with professors who are believed to be abrasive and aggressive.
There has to be a middle mark where students and professors meet so they can not only understand each other, but where they can respect each other, too. Lately, our administrators and faculty have been walking through the campus and in the dining halls—and actually talking to students and getting feedback on things that they like and dislike. Slowly, but surely, each side is progressing towards the middle. It shouldn’t take us losing a good professor to get there.