Students and staff members spoke out against the College’s new graphic identity at the Task Force meeting held on April 2.
John McCarty, task force chair and marketing professor, said that the task force was not responsible for creating the new shield graphic identity.
He said that the task force supported the recommendations for the College’s image improvement cited in a report made by the Lipman-Hearne marketing and communications firm.
A logo change was among these recommendations.
The task force cannot implement any changes, according to McCarty.
Its members can only make suggestions to President Gitenstein. It is then up to her whether or not to act on the task force’s recommendations.
“Nothing that is happening has anything to do with decisions we have made,” McCarty said. “Don’t use us as a whipping boy.”
According to Jesse Rosenblum, associate vice president for College Relations, the task force supports the new graphic identity because it is meant to help the College establish a national reputation.
“We are proud to be a N.J. institution,” Rosenblum said.
He explained that a national reputation is important to the College because it will help graduates secure positions in competitive job markets in states across the country.
“Why do we give a damn what we look like nationally?” Joe Ellis, history professor, said. “This isn’t an Ivy League college. This isn’t an Ivy League anything.”
Ellis added that he, like many other individuals on campus, discovered the change once it had already been implemented as part of the College Web site.
“You’re preaching to the choir,” Rosenblum said.
The task force members said that they had been meeting with Student Government Association appointees as early as January.
They wanted to be sure to have student input throughout the entire process.
In addition to the logo change, students were upset about campus wide construction and the implementation of the 32/34 course system.
“We just want consistency,” Mandy Aarons, sophomore elementary education and psychology major, said.
David Blake, English professor, described the College changes as contributing to the students’ growth.
“We like to think of college as a bucolic place where we can study in serenity, but college is also a place of intellectual ferment,” Blake said.
Students also said that the College is becoming more focused on image than on education.
McCarty stressed that the College’s image must reflect the strength of its academic programs.
He, and the rest of the task force members, said image is important because well-known colleges are more likely to receive grant money than colleges lacking a national reputation.
“Is it the steak or the sizzle?” McCarty said. “The sizzle is important, too.”
Rosenblum emphasized the importance of academics at the College, and ensured concerned students that image marketing will not overshadow academic quality.
“Everything else is up for grabs, but the academics of this institution will be protected,” Rosenblum said.
According to Rosenblum, students are using the logo change to express their feelings about other College changes.
“I’m delighted we had the meeting,” Rosenblum said. “What I learned was that it’s an unsettling time for students because there’s a lot going on.”