Students voice their opinions on Viterbo’s new president


Grace Monk, Editor

On Feb. 10, 2022, Rick Trietley was named the 10th President of Viterbo University. This week the Lumen sat down with two students to get their opinions. 

Student one, who asked to be referred to as H, said, “I think the school made the right decision [by choosing Trietley]. He was our former vice president and acted as president for the last eight months. It only makes sense that he is our president now.” 

Student two, who asked to be referred to a N, felt uneasy about the decision. N said, “I don’t think Rick Tritely has the students’ best interests at heart.” N felt Tritely did not connect with students or listen to their concerns. “I think he fails to prioritize student needs and waits a long time to speak up on important matters. That’s a red flag to me,” shared N. 

Prior to his time at Viterbo, Trietley served in the U.S Army for 22 years. He served Brigade Executive Officer of 1st Brigade and the 82nd Airborne Division. After his time in the military, Trietley served as the vice president of student affairs at St. Bonaventure University in New York.  

“As a former army officer, I think he has the leadership skills to run the school,” shared H. “Being a military leader is hard work, plus he worked at a Catholic school before coming to Viterbo.” H went on to say that “It is important to have someone that is a good leader that can uphold Franciscan values.”  

N was unsure if Trietley was qualified for the job. “I am sure he is a good leader,” shared N. “He seems to have a lot of experience in that, but can he run a school? This will be his first time working as a school’s president.” 

On Nov. 11, 2021, the Viterbo Board of Trustees held a meeting for the presidential search. The meeting provided students, staff, and faculty with the opportunity to voice their concerns. Students received frequent updates on the search and were encouraged to share their concerns.  

N felt that “There should have been more efforts made to involve students. It should have been a campus-wide discussion, not just emails.” N said that “A lot of students ignore emails,” and that “the school should promote major events in a different way.” N was invested in the search sharing that “this decision impacts my education…I wish more students saw it that way.”  

N a thought the board should have extended the search. They said that “The school had the chance to extend the search” but that “they just didn’t want to spend the money.”  N said, “Students spend a lot on our education. Viterbo should be willing to spend the same amount, if not more.” 

H was not invested in the search. “I don’t know if they did enough because I didn’t pay attention,” said H. “I just don’t care about that kind of stuff…I trust the school to make the right choices.” H shared they “think it’s nice they wanted to involve students” but feels “the school knows best.” H added that the board has “been doing this for years. They are the professionals, and we should trust them.” 

The two students were asked to share their concluding thoughts. H felt optimistic, sharing that “I look forward to seeing what he does as president. The right choice was made.” Still unsure, N said, “I did my part as a student, and all I can do now is wish him the best.”