Staff Editorial: Piedmont in New Hands


PHOTO//Aaron Palmer

Great Britain found itself in the midst of a rebellion when the American founding fathers rallied against the monarch across the sea on the basis of “No taxation without representation!” 

Piedmont may find itself in their own hot water if trends continue, finding students flooding the streets protesting, “No retention without discretion!”

The swirling controversies around Piedmont in the press, along with growing discontent from the faculty, staff and students in recent years, need succinct, well-considered and effectively communicated resolutions. 

In past years, not only have the university’s solutions been curated without the contribution of student opinion, but announcements of change only come as the change goes into effect, leaving those affected with little time to make arrangements. Students were not even represented in the search for the new president. 

When President Marshall Criser arrived on Jan. 1, he went straight to work, and on his desk, he found an institution in disarray – but rooted in community. That community is the most appealing aspect that brought the Crisers to the sleepy town of Demorest with the hope of making real, meaningful change.

There is a clear sense of the “Piedmont family” when you take your first steps onto the campus. Walking into the cafe, Mrs. Melba will always be there waiting to greet you. A visit to the market will find Heth connecting with students over coffee and a laugh. All of your professors know your name. Students collectively share the experiences of spending hours in the library, cranking the midnight oil; the pains of communal laundry machines; the joy of late-night breakfast in the midst of finals; the smell of fresh air walking across the bridge to Swanson; the surprisingly delicious taste of nearby gas station tacos; the quirks of dorm life. It’s the people of Piedmont that tie everything together. 

As President Criser is integrated into being a piece of that community, a question sits on the tongues of whoever may discover you encountered the new president: “What is he like?”

The consensus so far: personable, kind, humorous, considerate, committed and forward-thinking. All of these attributes, and more, are essential for the task at hand: healing Piedmont internally and out.

What Piedmont needs now is trust in their leadership. Trust that the president will look after the students, not their bank accounts. Trust that the president will tell students, faculty and staff when change — whether good or bad — is impending, not after it has fallen upon them. Trust that the president will guide Piedmont into a new era of functionality (at least once the whole budget situation has been dissected and put back together). 

The Boston Harbor found itself filled with English tea; Piedmont’s tea has begun to leak into local news sources, but there is time yet to contain it – for the Piedmont community has yet to reach a point of acceptance of the university’s shortcomings. The future of Piedmont has tilted towards optimism since the arrival of the new president; now, only time will tell what he will make of it.

This editorial was written by the editorial staff of the Piedmont Roar.