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A Letter From Our University Faculty: The Importance of Open Dialogue

As concerned educators, we are reaching out to students, faculty, administrators, staff, and the extended campus community to encourage open and respectful dialogue in this post-election period.

Monmouth University must provide a safe physical and intellectual space for all students and community members. We acknowledge the heightened sense of fear, distrust, and anger present on campus. We encourage open and respectful dialogue so that students can better understand and respect each other on campus and beyond, regardless of political affiliation. As faculty, we are committed to facilitating such conversation. We invite students to ask questions in class, visit faculty during office hours, and we call on faculty to participate in formal and informal student discussions around campus. We also urge students to both speak and act; but before doing either, to make sure that what they are saying and doing is thoughtful, respectful, and moves us toward mutual understanding, not bullying and hate. As faculty, we publicly affirm that while we welcome open discussion, we will not tolerate harassment and violence in our classrooms.

The 2016 Presidential election has cracked open and revealed a series of festering and interrelated wounds that economic, race, gender, sexual, national, religious inequalities, and socio-cultural marginalization in the United States have produced. These are phenomena that many of us regularly study and teach. We have witnessed a rising wave of racist, sexist, homophobic, nationalistic, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, and Islamophobic hate speech and acts. The fears of undocumented citizens and their families are quite palpable. We are incensed that a presidential race would inspire such bigoted sentiments that place Americans and our neighbors at risk.

We recognize that many Americans are frustrated by the political establishment, and many are also angered by the weakening of their social and economic status. We share their critiques of growing inequalities. However, we are also deeply troubled by the harassment and hate speech that has been rising in the wake of this election. Our campus must work diligently to avoid perpetuating such inequalities, and we must draw on education and serious intellectual dialogue to help move past this divisive historical moment. Especially given our campus’s recent conversations around sexual violence and historical racism, we feel that we would not be meeting our obligations as educators if we failed to raise our concerns.

Indeed, we are dedicated to social action that promotes the common good. We are willing to lead and facilitate open and respectful discussion. We hope that those coming from all walks of life can explore their own biases, fears, concerns, and questions in the fertile intellectual space upon which Monmouth University is built and depends.

Respectfully signed (alphabetically),

Professors Anne Deepak, Chris DeRosa, Lisa Dinella, Donna Dolphin, Melissa Febos, Johanna Foster, George Gonzalez, Andrea Hope, Scott Jeffrey, Marie Mele, Alison Maginn, Jennifer McGovern, Nancy Mezey, Brooke Nappi, Eleanor Novek, Katie Parkin, Tom Pearson, Mike Phillips-Anderson, Maryanne Rhett, Julie Schaaff, Karen Schmelzkopf, Jennifer Shamrock, Deanna Shoemaker, Mickey Skiba, Don Swanson, Claude Taylor, Kara Van Cleaf, Marina Vujnovic, and Corey Wrennnifer McGovern, Nancy Mezey, Brooke Nappi, Eleanor Novek, Katie Parkin, Tom Pearson, Mike Phillips-Anderson, Maryanne Rhett, Julie Schaaff, Karen Schmelzkopf, Jennifer Shamrock, Deanna Shoemaker, Mickey Skiba, Don Swanson, Claude Taylor, Kara Van Cleaf, Marina Vujnovic, and Corey Wrenn

Contact Information

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

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The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764

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