@RyanMorgan9 — Managing Editor
From Residence Life to Student Life, Sal Rizza has worked his way up the ranks of various offices on campus. However, he is about to start fresh with another new office, this time as the new university police chief, effective immediately.
“Ever since I was a kid, I’ve wanted to be a police officer,” Rizza said. “This is something I have been working toward for the past three years. It took me a couple tries to pass the training courses, but it was definitely worth the hard work.”
Rizza filled the opening after Chief Joseph Dooley recently announced his plans for departure from Southern. After serving the university police department for nearly six years, Dooley has been Lieutenant J. Paul Vance of the Conn. State Police, who recently announced his retirement.
“Southern was a great stepping stone for me. I met a lot of great people and will really miss working with students when I leave,” Dooley said. “I hope I can come back and preside over this spring’s Jail’N’Bail as a judge.”
While at Southern, Dooley earned a positive reputation with students.
“I think he is an excellent guy, a real class act,” said Class of 2013 President David Langer, and last year’s coordinator of Jail’N’Bail on behalf of Beta Mu Sigma fraternity. “He was one of the few campus administrators willing to take part in the event and will be missed. Hopefully Sal [Rizza] will live up to the part.
The man poised to fill those big shoes has served as the Associate Director of Student Life since January 2004. Rizza said moving from supervising the Greek Life program and coordinating community service and leadership activities towards fostering a safe environment for the community will be a tough switch, but he is confident in his ability to get the job done.
“I earned my bachelors in English here in 1998. I earned my masters in Recreation and Leisure studies. I was an assistant director of Residence Life. I’ve pretty much mastered everything I’ve touched. Why would this be any different?” Rizza said.
Not everyone on campus is behind Rizza’s recent appointment. Christopher Piscitelli, director of the Office of Judicial Affairs, feels the university made the wrong decision.
“So what he graduated from the police academy. It took him three tries, supposedly. I haven’t seen any proof of graduation,” Piscitelli said. “I’m just as much a part of the campus community as Sal [Rizza] and I’ve actually dealt with students in violation of the Student Code of Conduct. He lives in a world of rainbows and butterflies. It’s Student Life, people, come on.”
Additionally, Eric LaCharity, assistant director of student life and director of campus recreation, claimed he had previously been promised the position.
“I’ve been training for this; this was my job and it was pulled right out from underneath me. The day of the interviews for the position, Sal [Rizza] tricked me into supervising a student trip. I missed my interview. He is a snake. I know he did it to me on purpose, taking me out of the competition. I thought I could call him a friend, but instead I was just a pawn in his games,” said LaCharity.
University President Mary Papazian said Rizza had an edge. He brought fresh ideas to the table, something she said the university desperately needs.
“He wants to incorporate a K-9 unit to the police force,” said Papazian. “His own dog, Penny, will be first in command. She is currently training to sniff out drugs and alcohol on campus. Penny really is what got him the job.”
Unfortunately for Piscitelli and LaCharity, Rizza has already been contracted for the position and has settled into his new office across campus in Granoff. Rizza said he has a few items at the top of his to-do list.
“First and foremost, I’d like to address the current parking situation. We just don’t have enough spaces and fights are breaking out over spots. To alleviate the issue, I will immediately ban all seniors from having cars on campus,” Rizza said. “Only banning the freshmen from having cars is hazing, and I have a zero tolerance policy for the H-word. By additionally banning seniors from having cars on campus, hopefully the freshmen will feel a little better about themselves.”
Rizza has signed a five-year contract and will be enforcing the rules on campus for years to come.