On September 27, 2017, Chairman of the RPI Board of Trustees, Arthur F. Golden '66, J.D., sent a message to the RPI community.
Following three unsuccessful attempts, beginning in 2016, to remove student control from the historic Rensselaer Student Union, Arthur F. Golden informed the RPI community that RPI President, the Honorable Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., had been granted the sole authority with respect to "...any decisions on the hiring, formal reporting line, removal, and other terms and conditions of employment of the Director of the Union," effectively disregarding any power the Rensselaer Union Constitution and Student Government once had. Students were not consulted about these changes.
For the first time in 127 years, the successfully student-run Rensselaer Union has ceased to be operated by students. Yes, the building is still there, the clubs, organizations, and intramural sports still exist, services like banking and dining remain operational, and study spaces and meeting rooms are available, but the student experience will soon become a shell of what it once was. There will be no more freedom, no more meaningful choices, no more risk-taking opportunities like starting a club or hosting a specific event, no real say in what matters.
The student experience born from a student-run union and treasured by so many RPI alumni and students may soon no longer exist. Students will not have the power or control to shape the present and future of their Union.
The RPI community must unite and fight before our beloved cornerstone of the student experience is lost forever! Please sign and share this petition if you disagree with the Board of Trustees’ recent decisions to give Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson unilateral control over the Director of the Union position and to allow the Union Constitution and 127 years of Rensselaer Union tradition to be trampled.
Let’s send the RPI Administration and Dr. Jackson a collective message of our own: our unwavering support of a student-run Rensselaer Union.