Love Letters (and Hate Mail) to Stockton
Compiled by Claire Riley, Aj Kent, and Gabriella Fiorica (with an introduction by Gabriella Fiorica)
There is no doubt that Stockton University has undergone many changes through the years. Developing from a small state college to an established University, Stockton, along with its student body, has grown significantly. One long-standing feature of the university is The ARGO, the student-run newspaper, which has consistently served as a platform for voicing opinions about the institution, both positive and negative. For 50 years (in fall 2021), The ARGO has kept students informed not only about the state, country and American society, but also about the Stockton community. Assembled below are various letters and articles selected from our first five decades. They serve as testaments to The ARGO’s willingness to foster constructive commentary about the Stockton community.
Peace and Love
ARGO Volume 1, no. 2, p. 14
November 16th, 1971
An Appeal To Upperclassmen
As our College enters into its third month of operation here at the Mayflower, I would like to make an appeal to the upperclassmen. I make this appeal now, in the hope that what has started here at our present location, namely, upperclassmen apathy, will not be permitted to extend itself to our permanent location in Pomona.
Now many of you juniors will ask the question, “Where does this apathy exist?” and you would have a valid question. With all the signs plastered on the walls; new clubs being formed, and many other clubs already functioning, it seems as though everyone is involved in some type of extracurricular activity. Many people here at Stockton have, indeed, participated in all kinds of functions.
However, the most important function, the one that is practically the birthplace of all other activities, is seriously being neglected. And this neglect is due, in large part, to upperclassmen apathy.
That most important function is, of course, the weekly meetings held by the Collegiums.
As a matter of reference, it should be noted that the Collegiums were designed not only to form the student governing body of our college; but also, they were constructed as a vehicle that would act to bring us closer together as a college community; hence, to enable us to get to know one another as people instead of numbers. And the preceptorial groups bolstered this plan even moreso. However, what started out as a great plan, is now undergoing a slow death. If you think this is not the case, simply look in on any collegium on its meeting day. Where a hundred students should be in attendance, no more than thirty are actually at the meeting. And the saddest part about the whole situation is that it is the fault of the upperclassmen.
Since Stockton’s initial class is composed of juniors and freshmen only, the upperclassmen of this school are in a unique position. A large majority of the freshmen of Stockton are going to be directly influenced by the actions the juniors at this school exhibit. They are going to emulate what they see the upperclassmen do. It is only human nature to act this way.
Now this is not to imply that the author feels freshmen cannot think for themselves. Moreover, since the writer is an upperclassman, he can empathize with the freshmen. He knows what it’s like to enter the confines of a college for the first time and feel the nervousness that overtakes most freshmen. And if the upperclassman sees a freshman in trouble, he should help him. After all, most upperclassmen have had the same courtesy extended to them.
In summary, this writer is of the opinion that the upperclassmen of S.S.C. should help build the morale of the school. It is their duty. And since the motto of most college students these days is “peace and love,” they should practice their precept. Above all, let us, the upperclassmen, unite to show the freshmen how great the college experience can be. Begin by attending the collegium meetings. To cop-out is to cop-out on your fellow Students.
Christopher J. Sereci
The Argo, the Library, and Litter
November 16th, 1971
I would like to congratulate you and your staff on the excellent first issue of the Stockton Community Newspaper. The format, style, maturity of writing and journalistic responsibility is truly exceptional. If this is to set the pace for the rest of the year, Stockton certainly is going to have one of the outstanding, if not “the outstanding” weekly college newspaper in the country. You should take collective and individual pride in your finished product, it is truly something which is worthy of the effort which all of you have put into it. If there is any way that I can be of assistance to you feel free to call on me. Continued best of luck with your fine efforts.
ARGO, Vol. 1, no. 3, pg. 20
December 1st, 1971
The Library (?)
A Personalized Editorial
I have felt that the success of S.S.C. was based on a mutual regard between faculty, students and staff. However, while returning an overdue book to our library, I found this not to be true among some of the policy making staff in our library. Here it is apparently felt that my overdue fine, which was 84% of the original price, was a fair “punishment” for my late book.
I was charged $1.05 late fee for a paperback which cost the library $1.25. I was told that this was an “adequate punitive measurement” for my crime. “ADEQUATE?” I feel this is not only EXCESSIVELY adequate, but completely outrageous!
In president Bjork’s letter of July 21 to the students and staff regarding our location at the Mayflower Hotel, he wrote of the great importance of “flexibility . . . and willingness to change.” I found the library was unable to be either flexible or willing to change, after what I felt were very reasonable suggestions on my part. If any of you should experience this same problem, I certainly hope you will be more successful in convincing the library staff to follow president Bjork’s suggestion.
ARGO, Vol. 2, no. 3, p. 14
February 11th, 1972
Now that we have finally arrived at the “real” Stockton State College, I feel the majority of the students are pleased with the present status of the campus and its facilities. The campus grounds is the center of my concern. People who have had no contact with Stockton, except for the recognition of the name, comment only be saying, “isn’t that the new ecology college somewhere in the woods near Atlantic City?” Although this isn’t Stockton’s sole concern, I’m quite sure it gathers much attention by the student population. Keeping this in mind, I would like to extend my complete disgust to those who litter the campus. I’ve noticed numerous Budweiser and Rolling Rock beer cans scattered over a path leading to the main building, while nearby was an empty fifty gallon trash drum. I realize that the beer cans are not the only litter strewn about, but they are the most recent. I only hope that from now on, if this occurrence persists, that someone takes the initiative to either report that person or pile the trash on the offender’s car or in the spokes of his bike. The latter may not cure the problem, but will hopefully bring about an awareness to the offender and give him a second chance to discard his rubbish. As the saying goes, “if you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”
Theater, Coffee, and Artistic Vision
ARGO, Vol. 7, no. 2, pg. 9
March 21st, 1973
We feel it appropriate at this time to express appreciation to Walt Hardy, one of our maintenance engineers, for supplying those of us who have been in the building after 7 o’clock with fresh coffee. We are sure that we speak on behalf of anyone, students and faculty, who have benefited by Walt’s consideration. Many times when we have been here rehearsing for one of the Theatre Productions, Walt has supplied all of us with the strength to go on for a few more hours (in the form of caffeine). In view of the fact that the Snack Bar closes before the real night-time activities commence here, we feel that Walt is providing a valuable service. He does it out of the goodness of his heart; we want him to know that we appreciate his consideration.
ARGO Vol. 17, no. 13, p. 6
May 9th, 1977
To the Editor:
Clearly, the people of New Jersey support the performing arts at this college for they approved and paid for a huge theater complex equipped with the most up-to-date accessories. After four feeble productions the long-awaited theater still stands isolated, lifeless and sterile. The four insufferably banal plays we saw this year did not bring this building to life and it remains unchanged from what it was last Spring — great empty walls rising grotesquely out of the gentle pinewoods.
And Stockton remains the same. It is virtually barren of culture because people in responsible positions are totally lacking in artistic vision. Consequently, they have failed utterly to create either curiosity or serious interest in theater productions among the Stockton student body or in the surrounding neighborhood.
The faculty of theater arts has failed to provide the proper environment in which imaginative students can work. It is generally known on this campus that, for theater majors, other academic work piles up because students’ loyalty to the department is questioned whenever any time is committed to other courses. Furthermore, students who participate in theater productions have been insulted and humiliated by play directors who do not know how to teach or direct except through coercion and intimidation.
Timidity, laziness, and mediocrity are not the stuff of which real art is made, but they are, unfortunately, the shortcomings of the theater department policy-makers. This offense should be tolerated no longer. The incompetents should be immediately removed and replaced by creative and innovative people who know the meaning of artistic integrity.
Dealing with Tragedy
ARGO, Vol 25, no. 1, pg 1
September 17, 1982
By Sally Steele
On Wednesday, September 8, memorial services were held for Suzanne Burton, Brandon Breda, and Ruth Wieczorek, Stockton students who were killed in an automobile accident in Australia on August 21.
The service began at 1:00 p.m. on the G-wing patio. A large crowd of students, faculty, and staff gathered on the steps and grass surrounding the area. Mathias Rodriguez, Charles Townsend, and Anne Ronne, members of Stockton’s Board of Trustees, also attended. Wieczorek’s parents were present, and the mother and two sisters of Burton, and Lisa Gebhart, a close friend of Brandy’s, represented the Breda’s for the memorial services. Chris Connors, President of the Student Senate, began the service by welcoming the families and friends of the deceased. President Peter M. Mitchell expressed his sorrow at the loss of such fine students. Mitchell stated that the loss will be felt by the entire Stockton community.
Father Moore, a local priest, gave a closing blessing and prayer. As the crowd dispersed in silence, tears were shed and embraces exchanged. Deep sadness was apparent as friends tried to comfort one another. Even people who had not known the deceased were touched by the services.
“I didn’t even know them,” Judy Weinberg, a student, said with tears in her eyes, “but it’s just so sad.”
According to a story from the Atlantic City Press, the students were traveling to a seashore resort in a rented minibus when they collided with a truck. Four other Stockton students survived the crash: Ivy Cotler suffered a broken pelvis and lacerations on her back and legs; and Douglas Cribbs; Faith Staudinger; and Mark Miller were treated and released from the hospital.
The victims were participating in the foreign exchange program through which they attended the University of Wollongong, Australia. A total of 12 Stockton students left for Australia in early July; nine will be returning in December.
Jan Colijn, coordinator of Stockton’s foreign exchange program and professor of political science at the college, hopes that the tragedy will not deter students from studying abroad in the future.
“If there’s any meaning to these kids dying,” Colijn said, “it’s that it unified the college.”
With the help of Peter Mercado, the Dean of Students, and others, Colijn created the Australian Memorial Fund “to minimize the additional stress and financial problems of the families whose children died in the accident.” The transportation and burial expenses for the three students will total between $20,000 and $25,000.
The Programming Board at Stockton is sponsoring an outdoor concert on Sunday, September 19, featuring Warren Zevon. One dollar from each ticket sold will be contributed to the Memorial Fund. 4,000 tickets have been printed, so if the weather is good they expect quite a crowd. During intermission, cans will be circulated to collect further contributions.
Stockton faculty and staff are contributing to the Memorial Fund, and the college’s Alumni Association is donating $500.
The Overseas Consortium, which includes all New Jersey State Colleges except Ramapo, will donate between two and nine thousand dollars. If you are unable to attend the Zevon concert on Sunday and would like to make a personal contribution to the Australian Memorial Fund, please contact Jan Colijn in C-l15 or ext. 279.
ARGO, Vol. 25, no. 11, pg. 5
December 3rd, 1982
To the Editor, and to all our friends of the Stockton College Community.
We recently received a letter from your President Peter Mitchell, containing a most generous contribution given to us by the Board Members, Students, Staff, Faculty and Alumni Association of Stockton.
The funds you raised for us at this time are more than appreciated, and will certainly help us defray the cost of bringing our Suzanne home. However, we must also thank you for the support we have felt with your prayers, sympathy, and the contact we have had from you all, although not mentioned by name, through our strong right arm and dear friend at Stockton throughout this tragedy, Jan Colijn. We cannot number the times Jan has expressed his praise to us of the great group he is surrounded with at the college: faculty, staff and students alike.
We were most fortunate to have had Suzarme as part of our family for 22 years, the last two spent with you. She loved Stockton and made many friends there. The highlight of her life, however, was to be among those chosen to go to Australia, and for this opportunity, we also must thank you all.
With our profound gratitude, Helen and Al Benson and the Burton girls: Grete, Kathy, Nancy, and Jennifer.
A "Proud American" and the Spring Challenge
ARGO, Vol. 35, no. 3. Pg. 4
April 4th, 1988
To the Editor:
I would like to offer a rebuttal to the April 7th article on Debbie Gibson by “your student senator,” Ed Aquilino. Senator Ed, I represent a growing number of Debbie Gibson fans — the same fans who have given her 4 hit singles off her very first album. We believe the Stockton Board of Activities did a banner job to attract stars of the caliber of comedian Wayne Cotter and singer/songwriter, Debbie Gibson.
Usually, colleges attract performers who have not yet established themselves on the music charts, and who have a relatively small chance of ever doing so. Most performers who have come as far as Debbie, are too involved with national tours to stoop to the college scene. Debbie is not only a superb performer with a beautiful voice, but her songwriting ability will propel her to certain stardom. She is not trying to “dance and act though she was sexually mature,” as Senator Ed insists. She is trying something I find refreshingly, new and innovative in today’s music. A beautiful young woman is trying to make it with her talent, instead of bouncing around half naked in her videos to get ahead.
Senator Ed claims Debbie has “a high school viewpoint” and “Stockton students have a responsibility to the environment and political world around them.” This may sound like entertainment to Ed, but not to me. Entertainment serves to help us forget about the horrors of today’s society while we can enjoy the finer things. This is why we Americans watch professional sports, movies, and performers such as Debbie Gibson. She is expressing her views about how love should be. It is an escape and an outlet from everyday frustrations. I’d take Debbie over the evening news any day. Senator Ed may feel differently, but this is the beauty of American society. I’m proud of being a “spoiled, stupid American.” If Senator Ed is not proud of being an American, I’ve heard the USSR is accepting new citizens. I’m sure he’d find life they’re much more realistic and less embarrassing. Finally, I again would like to congratulate Lisa Casabona and the Board of Activities for a job very well done. Thank you, from those of us who saw and thoroughly enjoyed the Spring Challenge Concert.
ARGO, Vol. 35, no. 3. Pg. 4
April 4th, 1988
To the Editor:
I, on behalf of the Tenant’s Association, would like to thank all the groups and organizations who helped with the Spring Challenge.
Athletics, Campus Activities, CVI, and the custodians help were greatly appreciated. I would also like to thank Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority for holding Miss Stockton, Tau Kappa Epsilon for having the Mr. Stockton contest, and Alpha Chi Rho for helping with the Battle of the Bands and the cookout.
I would like to thank all the participants and Tennant’s Association Representatives who competed in the events and organized the teams. Finally, I would like to thank the core group of representatives who helped with everything. you know who you are. Thanks a lot. If there is any person, club, or organization I left out, and I am sure I have, I apologize and thank you for your help.
Tenants’ Association President
S.A.V.E. and the College Republicans
ARGO, Vol. 45, no. 8, pg. 4
April 1st, 1993
College Republicans Lose Faith
To the Editor,
I would like to use this opportunity to address the College Republicans. I am writing to say that I am angered by recent activities of your club. As an environmentalist and an ecology buff, I have never found much to endear me toward the Republican party. However, I know that most Republicans are acting in good faith trying to do what they feel is best for the country.
By placing signs around your office with slogans such as “Pave The Bay,” and “If Your Happy And You Know It, Chop A Tree,” I feel your club is no longer acting in good faith. Deforestation and preservation of The Barnegat Bay are serious issues. Many people in and out of the Stockton community have spent long frustrating hours working on these issues. If you have any valid reasons why we should “Pave The Bay,” I am an open minded person and would be willing to listen. If, as I suspect, you don’t have a particular reason you would like to see the Bay paved, I would ask you to reconsider your clubs recent direction. The first amendment guarantees your right to say anything you want, however I feel that people trying to make a serious contribution to our society should be able to exercise a little self restraint.
To The Editor,
I’ve heard that we were going to be the subject of some criticism from the Senseless Absurd Vegetarian Extremists (SAVE) in Upper G-Wing. Apparently, they don’t like to be poked fun of and don’t appreciate the College Republican choice of wall decor, directly across from their cubicle, and next to ours.
SAVE also feels that we CR’s don’t do enough for the environment. I guess that our adopting-A-highway (Conveniently containing the Arrowhead) and our membership in the National Parks and Conservation Association doesn’t count. But then again, SAVE is an environmental club, so I would hope they do more than a political organization for our environment. The distribution of leftist literature (such as the pamphlet, “What is Democratic Socialism?”) is their thrust into the political arena.
Do you want to know how SAVE plans to spend its time beginning April 17? It involves their participation in a campaign entitled, Adopt-A-McDonald’s. As their commitment to ending beef consumption in America, they will be having die-ins, and leaflet distribution to McDonald’s customers as they wait in line for their Big Macs. If these fanatics want to prove to others just how unpopular a “movement” they have, I’ll drive them to the Golden Arches myself.
The College Republicans have a diversified membership. Five of our eight officers are female, we do have several environmentalists and have liberal to right-wing conservative republicans in our roster of 140 students. We have volunteered as Special Olympics Aides with several Greek organizations, registered others to vote, held sales of 50/50 tickets in cooperation with an outside VFW Post in support of a sick infant in the community, started our own independent newsletter, etc.
I feel that the Stockton College Republicans have helped to add another ideological dimension to the campus, that being non-leftist. An added plus for Stockton is the recognition by Campus Activities of the Conservative Forum. The latter is independent of the College Republicans and is non-artisan. Hopefully, these groups are signs of a conservative triad here at Stockton, removing the liberal scar left on campus by extremist groups such as SAVE, GALA, and the Women’s Coalition. The College Republicans would prefer to work together with other student organizations to accomplish things for our community on and off campus. However, ridiculous “potshots” by certain members of SAVE deserve an immediate response. If anyone has any questions about the College Republicans, or would like to see our infamous “Wall of Pain,” stop on by. The admission is free and so is the speech.
Kevin E. Stagg
College Republicans Chairman
PS: The literature on our wall is in the spirit of sarcasm at times regarding such issues as the environmental movement. It is in response to the material and point of view by some “greens” that republicans are in favor of “paving the bay” or other ridiculous actions. Get a sense of humor, O.K., SAVE? We’re only giving back what you sadly feel the need to dish out.
ARGO, Vol. 74, no. 11, pg. 15
April 21st, 2008
Retrospect on Residential Life at Stockton College Letter to the Editor
College is meant to provide students fresh out of high school a gradual transformation from dependent children to independent young people who support their own living expenses. A typical freshman at Stockton will come live in the dorms, upgrade to the apartments for two years, and in many cases, be supporting themselves to live off campus by senior year.
Assuming that a student goes by this template, Stockton would tell us that once you reach that last level of off-campus housing, you are not welcome to visit a friend on campus overnight without registering as a guest. After four years of paying tuition and thousands of additional dollars hidden behind recreation, general services and activity fees, I have not earned the right to come visit friends on-campus without having to register my vehicle.
For the past four years, students have dealt with an overcrowded campus. Our tuition dollars have gone toward new, nicer apartments and parking lots to accommodate our growing population. While the new parking lots were being built, students would have to show up 30 - 45 minutes before their classes to find a parking spot. If you ended up settling for a spot deemed “unacceptable” by StoPo you’d have the pleasure of returning to a parking ticket after class. These parking tickets are a direct result of this school accepting more new students than it could accommodate.
We now have enough parking for students thanks to OUR tuition dollars. Despite this, we must still register as guests to our own school that we pay to attend on a daily basis. If a parking ticket goes unpaid, you are not allowed to register for classes for the upcoming semester.
Extortion is defined as the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority. I fail to see the difference in this definition and what we have to face on campus. This is a public outcry. If anyone seeing this is as fed up as I am with the jabs that Stockton takes at its students whenever they get a chance, know that you are not alone.
Someone needs to organize our student body. Petitions, protests, a fund that StoPo can dip into whenever they feel Stockton needs more money.
Something must be done. I can only hope that this message does not go unheard.
Nursing and Theater
ARGO, Vol. 74, no. 11, pg. 15
April 21st, 2008
The recent Stockton Theater Club and Peer Ed Club presentation “Night of Sex, Sexual Healing” was a very worthwhile charitable and educational event. Many students and staff worked hard to make the event a success.
Even so, the advertising campaign promoting this event was inappropriate and offensive. The poster advertisement for this event showed a young, buxom, scantily clad nurse, wielding a giant hypodermic needle, next to a lipstick-kiss covered, frightened young man in a hospital gown.
This insulting poster was displayed throughout the campus and replicated in a recent edition of The ARGO. As a nurse I find this ad very insulting.
In addition I am surprised there hasn’t been an outcry of protest over this portrayal of a professional. Nurses continually struggle with their media image.
Nurses are educated and dedicated health care professionals. When nurses are portrayed in this demeaning, provocative manner the profession is degraded.
It is my hope that future ad campaigns for campus events can successfully promote the intended event without being negative and degrading.
Ann Walker RN MSN
Nursing Editor’s Note:
Dear Madam -
Thank you for including The Argo as an outlet for your concern. While I agree that sexually exploiting women in the advertisement is wrong, I felt that using it in The Argo’s April Fool’s edition “The Rago” was the appropriate measure of communicating the event. It was never published in regular editions of The Argo.
While I also disagree with the image of the nurse being misrepresented, I understood it was a joke pertaining to the attitude of the event.
Also, Professor, in the future, it would be wise to know who you are writing to. The Argo hasn’t had a male editor in two years. My name is Emily, I’m a graduating senior, and I’ve been Editor-in-Chief since 2006. Next year, a promising female sophomore will be taking my spot.
If you are worried about women and nurses being misrepresented in the media, you should also be concerned with generically gendering heads-of-staff when writing letters to them.
A Thank You to Stockton
ARGO vol. 88, no. 13, p. 12
December 10, 2018
A Thank You to Stockton
My name is Sara Brown. I am a literature major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in music as well as writing. Four and a half years and 150 credits later, I’m graduating this month. I don’t really know how to describe my whole experience here at Stockton besides just saying that it has become a second home for me, and, as dramatic as it sounds, it has changed my life.
I came to Stockton as a very shy freshman that commuted. In a school of thousands, I knew no one. I had no interest in clubs. I went to my classes and I went home. But somehow, I was able to make some friends who saw past my shyness and slowly pulled me out of it. Now, in the fall of 2018, I look back at the experiences I’ve had and the things I’ve achieved, and I can’t help but start to get emotional.
There’s the smaller things: because of Stockton, I learned that, contrary to my shy nature, I’m a pretty good presenter and enjoy discussing topics I’ve researched in front of peers. I learned as a narrow-minded freshman that I have a voice and a responsibility to always speak up about injustices and issues I believe need to be talked about. I learned that I have a knack for writing, and thanks to certain professors, I’ve only gotten better and hope to continue to do so after college. I learned that being involved in clubs and organizations can be very fun as well as rewarding, and feel so lucky to have been able to be the co-editor for Stockton’s Literary Magazine, Stockpot, for this fall semester. As a vocal music minor, I’ve had to sing in front of crowds of people as well as juries, teaching me to be confident in myself and helping me grow as a musician. I’ve learned how to DJ at Stockton’s WLFR radio station and expand my musical taste and find new, amazing bands.
But there’s also the huge lessons I’ve learned and blessings I’ve accumulated while at Stockton. I joined Stockton’s track and field team on a whim and learned just how hard I often need to push myself to grow. I pushed myself physically and mentally to my limits, and then pushed a little bit more. I endured freezing temperatures while sprinting on icy roads and three digit temperatures in the summer running up hills. I did not take “you can’t” as an answer, and I gained so much respect for Stockton’s student athletes that put in the hard work to make the Ospreys so great.
I also found some of my best friends here at Stockton. One now lives in Nevada and I have the opportunity to visit her frequently and fall in love every time with a terrain opposite to that of South Jersey. One is getting married in a year and I’m honored to be one of her bridesmaids. One is traveling back to India to see her father and promises to return with souvenirs and stories of her time there. And what I may be most thankful for above all else, as terribly cliché as it sounds, Stockton brought me to meet the love of my life. I could never be thankful enough for that.
This yucky sentimental article would not be complete without thanking some of my professors, some who may remember me, and some I don’t blame for forgetting about me. In no particular order, thank you to Cynthia King for being my preceptor and go-to for literary and general life questions, Nathan Long for always being supportive and a great teacher of the craft and creativity of writing, Tom Kinsella for being Tom Kinsella and pushing for better grammar, Beverly Vaughn for the confidence boosts, Deborah Gussman for the women’s power inspiration, Geoffrey Gust for being a friendly face throughout four and a half years and for that selfie I took with him freshman year, Betsy McShea for the guidance freshman year, Emari DiGiorgio for the guidance senior year and inspiration, Chris DiSanto for showing me the theory of music and how intricate it is, and Judy Copeland for all of the writing tips and kindness.
From the hours upon hours spent in the library, to the days with friends, playing pool or relaxing and talking on the couches in the Dunkin Donuts café in the Campus Center: I am thankful for all of it. As I get ready to end the semester and my college career, I see younger me walking down these halls. I see some of the best years of my life. However, I think the biggest thing that Stockton has taught me is that it’s not really about me. It’s about all of us, using the talents we have enhanced and the knowledge we have accumulated from this place, and working together to create change beyond Stockton.
Thank you for the last four and a half years.