Roger Williams University

Roger Williams University

infobox University
name= Roger Williams University
motto= "Magna est veritas" (Great is Truth)
established= 1956
type= Private university
affiliation= Non-sectarian
faculty= 398
students= 3,778 undergraduate, 855 graduate
campus= Suburban, convert|236|acre|km2
city= Bristol
state= Rhode Island
country= USA

endowment= $90.4 million cite web | url= | title=NACUBO Endowment Survey - Public NEWS Tables (2006) | publisher=NACUBO | accessdate=2007-09-24]
president= Roy Nirschel
nickname= Hawks

Roger Williams University, commonly abbreviated as RWU, is a private, coeducational American liberal arts university located on convert|120|acre|km2 in Bristol, Rhode Island, above Mt. Hope Bay. Founded in 1956, it was named for theologian and Rhode Island cofounder Roger Williams. The university itself, however, has no religious affiliation.

History, academics, and campus life

The university’s operations date to 1919, when Northeastern University opened a branch campus in the YMCA building in Providence, Rhode Island. In 1940, the YMCA Board of Directors took over the school and the YMCA Institute granted its first associate’s degrees in 1948. In 1956, the Institute received a state charter to become a two-year, degree-granting institution under the name of Roger Williams Junior College. During the 1960s, Roger Williams College began granting bachelor’s degrees. The College, needing a larger campus, purchased 80 acres of waterfront land and moved its main campus to Bristol in 1969 (RWU continues to operate a branch campus in Providence). In 1992, Roger Williams College became Roger Williams University and celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006. []

The university enrolls approximately 3,800 undergraduate and 850 graduate students in 36 liberal arts majors and five professional schools. It is one of the few colleges in the United States to offer an undergraduate degree directly in Marine BiologyFact|date=May 2007, has a well-regarded school of architectureFact|date=May 2007, and is the only law school in Rhode Island. Approximately 98% of students live on campus. The current President of the university is Roy Nirschel.

The university has a weekly campus newspaper, "The Hawk's Herald", which publishes approximately 20 issues per academic year, and an FM radio station, WQRI 88.3. The radio station plays everything from college alternative to hip hop. The college's 16 varsity athletic teams play at the Division III level as members of the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Reputation and campus culture

The university established a program in civil discourse, including the journal "Reason and Respect", which brought in speakers such as Salman Rushdie, David Gergen, First Minister and Nobel Prize winner David Trimble, Khaled Hosseini, author of "Kite Runner", Bob Geldof of Live Aid, and others to campus. The university has established a campus in Florence; collaborations with sister institutions in France, Brazil, Vietnam, and Hong Kong; a broad portfolio of study abroad opportunities encompassing over 30 countries; and is home to an innovative Center for Macro Projects and Diplomacy, which brings together engineering, architecture, technology, economic development and international relations for a common purpose.

Enrollment is currently at an all-time high.Fact|date=May 2007 In addition, RWU was recently ranked for the first time as one of the top ten Comprehensive Colleges in the Northern U.S. by "U.S. News & World Report". [cite web|url=| America's Best Colleges 2007: Roger Williams University: At a glance] . It was ranked ninth in 2007, up one spot from the previous year.

College Republicans controversy

In 2004, Roger Williams became a focus of attention when the Roger Williams University College Republicans offered a "Whites Only" scholarship. Applicants were invited to submit photos and a paper describing what being white means to them. The organization, which had hosted several conservative speakers on campus, including David Horowitz and Ann Coulter, became the focus of international media attention. Death threats against the College Republican leadership were received, necessitating extra security. The winner of the scholarship donated the $500 scholarship to charity. [cite web|url= |title=New Scholarship Created for Whites Only ]

The scholarship created controversy because many saw this act as racist. The College Republicans argued, however, that it was meant to parody and protest affirmative action. The application even said: "Evidence of bleaching will disqualify applicants." [cite web|url= |title=New Scholarship Created for Whites Only ]

In a subsequent protest against the Vagina Monologues, members donned a six foot penis costume and advertised for their own "Penis Monologues" outside the student union. Again, this brought the RWU College Republicans to the attention of conservative media outlets. [cite web|url= |title=Whites-only Scholarship Generates Controversy ]

Due to their actions, the College Republicans were condemned by Rhode Island's Republican Party and are no longer allowed to use a capital "R" in their name. They also cannot use the national symbol of the Republican Party, the elephant. Additionally, the organization had their university recognition revoked until the end of the 2005–2006 academic year due to violations of institutional policy.

Board of Trustees controversy

The chairman of the board of trustees, Ralph Papitto, after whom the RWU law school is named, used the racial slur "nigger" to describe blacks during a board meeting in May 2007. The incident arose in April 2007, when the university received a formal “Notice of Concern” from a regional accrediting organization, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). RWU was warned in a letter sent on March 23, 2007, that the board of trustees had to start following its bylaws and appoint a more diverse board, otherwise RWU was “in danger of being found not to meet one or more Standards if current circumstances or trends continue." A failure to do so could jeopardize the institution’s accreditation [cite web|url=|title=RWU chairman Papitto assailed over racial epithet] .

Student groups called for the Ralph R. Papitto School of Law to be renamed, stating that it will be "a disgrace" [cite web|url=|title=R.I. School Official Resigns After Slur] to have Papitto's name on their diplomas and resumes. The incident caused other trustees to be voted off or leave the board, including the three who sought Papitto's removal—two of whom were the only female board members. Papitto is now "Chairman Emeritus" of the board of trustees, and has been replaced as chairman of the board by Richard Bready, CEO of Nortek Inc. Bready is a close business associate of Papitto, Nortek's founder. Other remaining board members include Papitto’s son-in-law Harry M. Crump; and Mario J. Gabelli, a major stockholder in Nortek for whom the business school at Roger Williams is named. [cite web|url=|title=RWU chairman Papitto assailed over racial epithet] On 18 July 2007, Ralph Rapitto issued a statement requesting that his name be removed from the law school. [cite web|url=|title=Papitto - Remove my name from Law School]

Faculty members

* Edgar Adams
* Khalid Al-Hamdouni
* Janet Baldwin
* Paul Bender
* Garrett Berman
* Richard Barnardi
* James Brady
* Adam Braver
* Edward "Ted" Delaney: Professor of Communications and Writing.
* Marilynn Mair: Professor of Music.
* Kate Mele
* Roxanne O'Connell
* Anjali Ram
* Michael Scully: Assistant Professor of Communications. He teaches journalism.
* Amiee Shelton: Assistant Professor of Communications. She teaches public relations.
* June Speakman
* Becky Spritz: Assistant Professor of Psychology.
* James Tackach: Professor of English.
* Ann Tait
* Kerri Warren
* Paul Webb
* Michael Wright



External links

* [ Roger Williams University] - official website

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