By: Jake Crouse, Copy Editor
This past May, I first uncovered the dismissal of beloved Furman employee Richard Enloe, more commonly known as Mr. Rick, from the Furman Dining Hall. Had he not had the heart to tell a fellow employee to send his love to the students next year, I may have never found out about this until my senior year was underway. By then, it might have been too late, but as soon as I found out the news, I knew the Furman student body had a right to know about it. So, I shared the news on Facebook.
Suddenly, my phone began shaking constantly.
People shared the post almost every other minute. Students and alumni commented their disgust with the decision to fire Mr. Rick as well as to share their love and appreciation for our beloved DH worker. Many believed it could be over for him and that, without him, there would always be something missing in the DH. However, alumnus Matt Morris, junior Hazel Davis, and I were determined to make sure this did not happen.
Matt drafted a petition to bring back Mr. Rick. We hoped to get at least 10 percent of the student body, roughly 290 students at the time, to sign the petition. I posted the petition before I went to class, and when I returned for lunch just two hours later, the petition had well over 290 signatures. By the end of the week, it had 1890 signatures, breaking our initial goal by a landslide. Hazel and Matt sent the completed petition as well as many other emails to President Davis, Furman’s Deans, Aramark, and Mr. Rick himself. May 26, eight days after the discovery of his termination, Mr. Rick was given his job back.
I truly believe that the Furman family is not just a public relations tool. There is a bond we all share on campus. Even when we secretly dislike one another, there is something that causes us to stick together. This effort was a perfect representation of that bond.
Just like any family, some members will not do their part. They will fight with each other, say mean things, try to degrade other members, and sometimes attempt to kick each other out of the house. We have seen this not only with Aramark and Mr. Rick’s termination, but also with many professors whose terminations were swift and shrouded in the label of “confidential” last year. When we push our family away—professors, students, dining hall workers, custodians—and do not have the decency to discuss it, we are hurting ourselves. I find it sad that I trust students more than I trust Furman’s administration to stand together and be transparent with its community.
I charge Furman to live up to its title of a family. When one of us falls, we need to make sure that someone is there to pick him or her up. When someone is not treated like a family member, we need to be there to stand up and fight for him or her. Most importantly at this time, when family members begin treating one another unfairly, we need expectations and punishments in place to ensure that we can move forward and grow constructively. We owe that to Furman and to ourselves.
Photo credit: Annie Lagomasino