by Olivia Morrison
On Nov. 16, Rutgers University President Dr. Robert Barchi returned to his hometown of Westfield to celebrate Rutgers’ 250th anniversary. As well as giving a background on Rutgers education, Barchi also discussed the elephant in the room: politics on campus.
As a result of the election of Donald J. Trump, many students have begun to fear for their safety and security. However, they are being backed up with support from the Rutgers administration. “I have more than 400 undocumented immigrants and they are scared,” said Barchi. “We are going to do everything in our power to protect those students.”
Though this may have been the most newsworthy part of his presentation, Barchi also provided a brief history about the humble beginnings of Rutgers. He addressed the audience一most of whom were Rutgers alumni一about the development and success of its newly integrated Biomedical and Health and Sciences program, as well as its research facilities and new honors program.
The SAT scores of admitted Rutgers freshmen are steadily rising toward those of aspiring students at selective schools like the University of Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Barchi said. And with a retention rate of 92 percent, an 82 percent graduation rate and 18 programs that are nationally ranked, Rutgers has emerged as one of the best research universities in the country, he added.
Rutgers does more research than all other public and private universities in New Jersey combined. “We are here for a reason,” said Barchi. “We are here to train the citizens of the civil democracy for tomorrow and to do the research that generates the new ideas and intellectual property that drives the economy.”
Though the academic excellence of students at Rutgers was well-noted and praised during the presentation, Barchi emphasized that Rutgers’ mission is to provide service to the community.
In recent years, Rutgers has been striving to make itself accessible to all students. “It’s not about getting the best students in; it’s about making sure that we get all the students who could succeed in,” said Barchi.
The Rutgers community recognizes that there are a lot of students in nearby inner cities who may never have high SAT scores or the qualifications to get into college because they come from high schools that do not prepare them, he added.
“We are going out and finding these kids at as early as seventh grade and helping them through high school with our Rutgers Access programs,” said Barchi. “We will guarantee them a full scholarship if they get into Rutgers.”