Last updateThu, 14 Mar 2019 12pm


Path to Progress Town Hall

Progress Town HallSenate President Stephen Sweeny held a town hall meeting to conduct a discussion about fiscal reforms in the “Path to Progress” report in Wilson Auditorium, on Monday, March 11. 

The forum was hosted by University President Grey Dimenna, Esq. Panelists included: Senator Vin Gopal, Senate Majority Conference Leader and Chairman of the Bipartisan Legislative Manufacturing Caucus; Senator Declan O’Scanlon; and Peter S. Reinhart, Esq., Director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute at Monmouth University and member of the Fiscal Policy Working Group. 

Last January, Sweeney created the Economic and Fiscal Policy Workgroup, whereby legislators and economic advisors discussed New Jersey’s pending fiscal crisis.

Reinhart and 19 other academics or economic and public policy experts were asked for recommendations on how to reform the state.

Reinhart emphasized that the panel was bipartisan. “I don’t think we even knew the politics of anyone involved,” he noted.

“We started the meeting by having a robust debate, eventually forming subgroups on pension, healthcare, and education. We didn’t always agree, but we were able to reach a consensus,” said Reinhart.

Sweeney explained that reform is vital.

“New Jersey is getting in wore fiscal shape. Pensions are in trouble, 4-year institutions are the second most expensive in the country, and we are 48th in the nation as far as investment,” he said.

Every year, the revenue the state generates goes towards pension and healthcare. Education is becoming harder to provide for, Sweeney noted. 

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Dimenna Condemns Offensive Yearbook Images

Racist Yearbook Photos Resurface, University Responds

Dimenna Condemns Yearbook ImagesUniversity President Grey Dimenna, Esq., condemned the existence of 13 individual offensive photographs in yearbooks going back from the 1960s to the 1980s in an email statement to the entire campus community on Feb. 27.

 The statement revealed that ten pictures depicted individuals posing in blackface, a form of make-up used by people not of color to represent the depiction of an African American person. The other three pictures were said by Dimenna to be offensive to other religious and cultural groups. 

“None of the images identify the individuals by name, and in some cases even the context is missing because the pictures are not associated with a specific campus event or activity,” Dimenna said in his statement. “What is unmistakable is that these pictures are offensive and do not reflect the values of Monmouth University today.”

Dimenna said the offensive images were found after ordering an examination of all the University’s past yearbooks, in light of the controversy surrounding Virginia Governor Ralph Northam being associated with racist images and names in his medical school yearbook.

When asked his first reaction upon finding the images, Dimenna said, “I was surprised and disappointed that such offensive pictures would be part of Monmouth’s tradition. I also immediately thought of how we could turn this hurtful situation into a learning experience as the images warranted acknowledgment, transparency, and action.”

According to National Public Radio, blackface has historically been used to promote negative stereotypes of African Americans.

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University Reduces Credit Requirement

University Changes Policy for Graduation

University Reduces Credit RequirementMonmouth University will be changing the 128-credit requirement for graduation to 120 credits effective fall semester of 2020.

Initially, this decision was made due to the State of New Jersey establishing new credit hour standards for both the award of baccalaureate degrees from four-year public institutions of higher education and for the award of associate degrees from county colleges.

A faculty meeting was held Wednesday, March 6 to discuss the revision and how it will take place for each department. 

The University was notified this current academic year and the tag line for Monmouth has become “120 in 2020.” Laura Moriarty, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “We are reducing the number of credits required to remain competitive and to increase retention and graduation rates.”

Each academic school has been tasked with diving into the requirements of their department and making suggestions to where the eight credits can and will be eliminated. This decision will be made primarily by the deans and chairs collectively. The amendment will be brought about to the Provost and Board of Trustees for the final approval. 

“Some schools have less credit requirements, but the 128-credit requirement has been the same for Monmouth ever since I came here in 1986,” said Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President of Student Life and Leadership Engagement.

The credits modification can come from three different areas of the curriculum: general education, major requirements or designated electives. It will be very department focused and conclusions will be made on what is right for each major specifically. 

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English Professor Invited to Swedish Castle for Book Project

default article imageLisa Vetere, Ph.D., an associate professor of English, has been invited by the International Gothic Association and International Centre for Gothic Studies to the Teleborg Castle on the Linnaeus University campus for a book project on how gothicism portrays the planet and impacts human existence.

Vetere will be staying in Växjö, Sweden from May 29 through June 2. Her trip will be funded by the Swedish Foundation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

 The book will be titled Gothic and the Anthropocene and Vetere will contribute her expertise in a chapter titled “Horrors of the Horticultural: Charles Brockden Brown’s ‘Wieland (1798) and the Anthropocene.” Her piece will explain the implementation of attractive landscape trending in the construction of early American Gothic texts and how she promotes 19th century American literature to incorporate branches of dehumanized component.

“It is a way of defining our current geological era impacted by humans. This book will look at how stories about haunted houses, monsters, and the past coming back to haunt you. These things say something about the environment and nature,” said Vetere.

Vetere has published and presented eco-Gothic topics in the United States and Europe. Her experiences include A Heap of Runis: The Horrors of Deforestation in Lenora Sansay,’ The Rage of Willow: Malefic Witchcraft Fantasy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, book review of Vexed with Devils: Manhood and Witchcraft in Old and New England by Erika Gasser, Aggression and Trauma in the Witchcraft Tales of Salem’s Other Women  at the Annual Conference of the Association for the Psychoanalysis of Culture and Society, moderator of Taking the Pulse of Feminism at the Eighth Annual Women’s Studies conference, and Guest Panelist at the Arthouse Film Festival screening of A Quiet Passion. 

She developed a passion for Gothicism after studying the Salem Witchcraft Trials and how 19th century novels wrote about the Salem Witch Trials.

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Graduate Students Work with Konscious Youth Development and Service

Grad Students Konscious Youth DevelopmentUniversity graduate students who are enrolled in the Communication, Culture, and Community (CCC) course worked closely with a local nonprofit, Konscious Youth Development and Service (KYDS) in Asbury Park, during the fall 2018 semester. 

KYDS was founded by Monmouth alumni Mychal Mills and Rodney Salomon. The organization prepares and creates future leaders in Asbury Park, Neptune, and the larger Monmouth County region through holistic intervention.

Deanna Shoemaker, Ph.D., Director of the Master of Arts in Communication, teaches the CCC course, which is a requirement for students in the Corporate and Public Communications (CPC) Master’s Program.

She said, “We can all work to define our ‘community’ more broadly and inclusively.”

 “I believe students who are engaged, empathic, and culturally sensitive communicators focused on both local and global challenges will play transformative roles in shaping our future in the 21st century,” Shoemaker continued. 

The main goal of the course was for students to get more involved and be with the local community. They also participated in community functions run by KYDS such as monthly meditation sessions.

Taylor Morelli, a communication graduate student who takes the class, said, “I was very interested in the course because of its emphasis on community leadership, activism, and volunteering. The course provided a great foundation of how to work with community partners in a conducive way that is beneficial to both parties.”

“Through my experience working with KYDS, it opened my eyes to the amazing work community organizations are doing,” said Morelli. “Taking time out of my first stressful semester of grad school to join KYDS meditation or yoga class helped me gain a better understanding of the work they do and helped me destress as well.”

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University Hosts Third Public Servant-in-Residence Panel

University Public Residence PanelThe Office of the President and Department of Political Science and Sociology hosted the 19th Annual Public-Servant-In-Residence Panel discussing jobs, the economy, global competition, and New Jersey’s macroeconomy on Thursday, March 7. The event was the third out of four series panels moderated by former New Jersey Senator Joseph Kyrillos this the year. 

“I have two things when I think about the state’s economy: what happened and what’s happening. Back in the late 1980s, 64 percent of our people were employed. Today, it’s not quite 60 percent,” said Kyrillos.

The Annual Public-Servant-In-Residence program was created in 2000 to provide a venue for public officials to share their expertise with students and the campus community at the University. 

Previous Public Servants-in-Residence include former New Jersey Governors James Florio, Christine Todd Whitman, Richard Codey and Brendan Byrne, as well as former Chief Justices James Zazzali and Deborah Poritz.” The Public Servant-in-Residence program establishes students to leaders in communal systems that aid with assessing significant general affairs.

Kyrillos was joined by the following individuals: Joseph Taylor, former chairman and CEO of Panasonic North America; Christopher Maher, Chairman, CEO and President of OceanFirst Bank and a Monmouth University Trustee; Ryaotaro Tashiro, regional economic adviser of Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. 

“Property taxes, income taxes, corporate taxes [in New Jersey are] the third-highest combination of state and local taxes to percentage of income in the country,” said Kyrillos. “Governor Phil Murphy’s plan to add another tax and put a cap on economic incentives will hurt the state. Companies such as Panasonic would neither be here to begin with, nor stay here in the state, if it weren’t for the incentives.”

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Students Attend Women's Tech Conference

Students Womens Tech ConferenceMonmouth software technology and computer science students attended the Women Engineers Code (WECode) Conference at Harvard University from Feb. 22 through Feb.24.

Seven students majoring in a variety of computer and technology studies attended the three-day coding seminar held at Harvard University’s Northwest Labs.  

WECode is the largest student-run conference for women in computer science in the nation, according to their website. The program is designed for women in the technology industry to connect with other women, learn new skills, and share information. 

Although the program is geared towards women in science and technology, all are encouraged to attend the conference. The students who participated in the conference attended keynote speakers, coding workshops, fireside chats, and yoga. Topics covered in the talks and workshops included web application security, data science, product management, and trading. 

Lauren Niesz, a graduate information systems student, was one of the four female computer science majors from the University to attend the conference but also took part in planning the trip. “The WECode Conference honestly taught me so much. I learned about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Machine Learning, which are fields I was scared of initially, but, after the conference, I really understand them now and find them to be enticing fields to go into myself in the future,” she said.

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Students Approached by Religous 'Cult'

default article imageAn anonymous female student was approached in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center (RSSC) by two women affiliated with the World Mission Society Church of God who attempted to ask her to attend a “Bible Study” off campus on Thursday, Feb. 7.

This organization has allegedly been associated with human trafficking, abuse and neglect, “terror” recruiting, and being described by former members as a “cult,” according to reports from several media outlets.

The women wore black and were described as being in their twenties to early thirties.

The student confided in her Residential Assistant (RA), who also wishes to remain anonymous, that the church members began a conversation with her about their beliefs in Christianity and asked her about her religious views. The student claimed that the group members pushed the idea that God is a woman and then invited her to attend an off-campus meeting at a discreet location to further discuss this ideology. The student Google searched the address and found that the location was not a church, but an apartment complex. An onlooking student notified Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD) and they subsequently questioned the woman and asked her to leave.

According to Bill McElrath, Director and Chief of MUPD, a call was received following the incident by an observing student in the RSSC and the officers were asked to investigate.

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, commented, “They (MUPD) did a subsequent search and found no illegal criminal activity.”

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Professors Meet with United Nations Official

Professors United NationsTwo University professors met with Pramila Patten, the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict and Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, on Thursday, Feb. 21. 

In an hour-long meeting, Rekha Datta, Ph.D., newly appointed Freed Chair of Social Science and a professor of political science, and Johanna Foster, Ph.D., Helen McMurray Bennet Endowed Chair of Social Ethics and an associate professor of sociology, discussed several issues surrounding sexual violence on the Yazidi women in the Sinjar region of Kurdistan in Northern Iraq with Patten. 

The three, in addition Sherizaan Minwala, Chief of Party for the Genocide Recovery and Persecution Program in Iraq, and Foster’s co-author in her work, also discussed the issues in Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh, where female Rohingya refugees are facing various forms of gender-based violence. 

Datta first met Patten in 2018 at a conference at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, but she and Foster have been studying various aspects of gender violence, gender justice and policy measures, nationally and globally. 

Foster’s recent work, conducted with Minwalla and Monmouth alum, Sarah McGrail (’16), “Genocide, Rape, and Careless Disregard: Media Ethics and the Problematic Reporting on Yazidi Survivors of ISIS Sexual Violence,” examines the problematic violations of United Nations Global Protection Cluster Recommended Guidelines for Reporting on Sexual Violence in Humanitarian Conflicts in the coverage of the genocidal attacks against the Yazidis.

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Model UN Brings Home Awards from London Tournament

Model UN Home AwardsSix students from the University’s Model United Nations (UN) Team competed at the international tournament hosted by Kings College and the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, last Thursday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 24, taking home two awards.

Sophomore political science student Mackenzie Ricca, one of the team’s captains who served on the Gender Committee in the tournament, and Nick Boice, a sophomore political science student who served on the Agricultural Committee, both won individual Speaker Awards. 

Ricca has won individual speaking honors at three consecutive international Model UN contests and Boice, who competed at his first international contest, successfully navigated a complex and large committee focused on agriculture and the latest scientific advances in this area.

Team Captains Ricca and Emma O’Rourke, a senior political science student who served on the Environment Committee, anchored the team. This most recent contest in London was O’Rourke’s sixth international Model UN tournament during her four years at the University. 

Strong performances also came from the rest of the students on the delegation: Michael Manning, a senior political science student who served in the African Union; Jackson Pope who was assigned to the Space Committee; Nick Boice, a sophomore political science student who served in the Agricultural Committee; and Katelyn Quino, a sophomore chemistry student in World Health Organization. 

Students debate, negotiate, and write policy resolutions in separate committees at Model UN contests, and over the weekend the University’s team covered challenges facing the United Nations from regulating space (Pope) to regulating genetically modified seeds (Boice). 

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Foster Presents “What Did ISIS Do to You?”

Johanna Foster ISISJohanna Foster, Ph.D., delivered a lecture entitled “What did the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) do to you?” where she presented her research on the ways journalists violated international standards for ethical reporting on sexual violence in Wilson Hall on Monday, Feb. 25. 

Foster, the Helen McMurray Bennett Endowed Chair of Social Ethics and an associate professor of sociology, conducted a study on media ethics and how reporters neglected to follow guidelines when reporting on Yazidi women who were survivors of sexual abuse. 

On Aug. 3, 2014, ISIS attacked the Yazidi people in Kurdistan (northern Iraq). The genocidal campaign was meant to destroy the religious minority group through killings, rape, and forced religious conversions.

Over 6,000 women and children were abducted, some sold as jihadi brides, with half still in captivity today. The entire community has been displaced. 

Foster’s team entered the picture when “sensational” headlines began surfacing about instances of sexual violence against Yazidi women.

“As a team of feminist scholars and advocates, we became concerned that journalists were violating basic principles of ethical reporting of sexual violence,” she said. 

Her team found that reporters were seeking out graphic accounts of mass rape and sex trafficking, above all else. The headlines spun a “popular narrative,” that created “binary frames of non-Western women, particularly ethnic and religious minority women in the Global South and East, solely as helpless victims of patriarchal regimes, and ‘civilized’ white men and women in the U.S. and Europe as ‘liberators,’” Foster said. 

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Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151
Email: outlook@monmouth.edu