October 30, 2020

Letter to the Editor: Library name an unfair decision

To the surprise of many students walking around campus this week, a change seemed to occur nearly out of nowhere – the renaming of the TCNJ Library to R. Barbara Gitenstein Library. While I had found out by reading the “Sunshine Agenda” (that email most students ignore) that a resolution was to be passed in honor of Gitenstein during the Board of Trustees meeting, I was shocked by lack of student inclusion and failure to make the campus community aware of such an honor.

New signage reflects the library’s name change. (Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor)

I then began wondering, what does it take to get your name on a building at the College? According to the College’s policy titled, “Naming an Asset,” there are two instances in which an asset will be named: “a donor has made or proposed to make a gift”; or, “it is deemed appropriate to honor a distinguished Named Beneficiary that has a significant connection to the College.” While it is undeniable that President Gitenstein has a connection with the campus, what makes this ‘significant’? There are many former presidents who lack a building named after them on campus. I would question whether the majority of the campus community has even interacted with the President, and how many even know her name. Just because an individual takes on the role of president of our institution and completes their job, does that qualify as a significant connection and thus their name on a building? I would argue against this idea.

With a ceremony held at 5 p.m. on a Tuesday (which I only know because I happened to be walking through the library) – why were students not involved? After all, it is our campus and a building which many of us spend hours in each week. Sure, the sign outside of the building says R. Barbara Gitenstein Library, but I’ll still be calling it the Lib.

Joseph Baldofsky


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