Spring State of the College Address reviews Ramapo’s highs and lows

“We Are the Champions” by Queen played as President Cindy Jebb approached the mic to give the Spring State of the College Address. The song captured the energy of her speech on past accomplishments, anticipated future progress and the importance of collaborating to make Ramapo the best it can be. 

“Teamwork is our comparative advantage. Today I am going to share some of the wins,” Jebb said to the audience of Ramapo students, faculty and staff members gathered in Friends Hall. 

The announcement of “Boldly Ascending” and Key Performance Indicators marks 18 months of deliberating on how Ramapo can maximize its strengths and minimize its weaknesses as an institution and a community. She thanked the staff members who made the final product possible and invited everyone to attend the planning forums that will dive into what is to come.

“I think at Ramapo we’ve long known we are a star and now we are working purposefully as a team to get the rest of the country to see how bright we can shine”

– President Cindy Jebb

That shine originates from the student body. Several athletes had notable victories, such as how men’s track and field team member Cheickna Traore achieved the second fastest time in NCAA Division III history for the 200 meter dash. 

The Student Government Association received leadership commendations, and Senator-At-Large Bibbu Bhatta was thanked for his role in helping Ramapo get recognized by the ALL IN Democracy Challenge as a 2022 ALL IN Most Engaged Campus for College Student Voting.

Jebb praised how students have handled past and recent times of sorrow. Ramapo’s United Asian Association held a vigil for two mass shootings in January. Students taking a course on the history of the Holocaust presented a Kristallnacht Commemoration at the Congregation Beth Haverim Shir Shalom in November.

Jebb personally handed each recipient their coin as a show of gratitude. Photo by Danielle Bongiovanni.

The group that received the highest praise was the Pandemic Assessment Team. “They have worked diligently for 3 years,” Jebb said, and awarded them presidential coins for their diligence.

Ramapo still has room for improvement. Jebb hopes to build more active relationships with alumni, calling them “invaluable assets for our future.” A similar priority is increasing Ramapo’s “mutual partnerships” with county colleges, such as its 2+2+1 Data Science Transfer Agreement with County College of Morris — the first of its kind in New Jersey.

Jebb acknowledged struggles such as the declining retention rate and the budget’s structural deficit. She views “Boldly Ascending” as the key to keeping Ramapo “on the offense” so it can “turn these challenges into opportunities and embrace the changes.”

Overall, the intention is for Ramapo to use teamwork to become part of new communities and build up its existing campus community. “We should all be paying attention to the news and asking ourselves ‘How can Ramapo be part of this conversation?’” Jebb said. 

The final point of the address was the importance of refraining from making assumptions and holding productive, respectful conversations about complex issues even when people hold different values. When conflicts arise, it is important to engage instead of shrinking away. Hard conversations often lead to people unlearning the assumptions they held due to ignorance. 

“It’s okay to resolve everything with an ‘I’m sorry’ at the end, but if there is no engagement then there is no learning.”



Featured photo by Danielle Bongiovanni