Last updateThu, 18 Jan 2018 3am


Gender Studies Students Raise Awareness

Corey Wrenn, Ph.D., Director of Gender Studies and sociology lecturer, assigns a final project to her Gender Studies students every year, in which she asks students to bring the knowledge they have learned in class to the community in any form of their choice.

Some ideas she offers are: organizing a gender-based event, holding workshops, publishing an essay to a local paper or feminist blog, and creating a community or campus art project. Some of this year’s project included the Singing for Our Sister’s event ran by Students Advocating Girls Education (SAGE and Blue Hawk Records, collecting feminine hygiene products for the homeless, YouTube videos, and essays.

 “Eliminating the gender gap is a lofty goal in the United States, but it is such an important one. Research supports that increased diversity and parity create a more stable, productive, and harmonious workforce. They also make for more fulfilling, stable relationships. Ultimately, however, gender equality is a matter of basic social justice and collective responsibility,” said Wrenn.

“I think our project was a huge success, the concert was a fun way to promote our cause that caught the attention of a lot of people,” said Katie Piltz, a sophomore social work student who helped out at the Singing for Our Sisters event. “Events like this are important for the empowerment of women because it proves anyone can make a change if they put their mind to it, just like we did.”

For her project, sophomore health studies student Cameron Oakley rallied up a group of about ten classmates to collect feminine hygiene products for a non-profit organization she works with called the Blessing Bag Brigade NJ. The organization collects everyday items, like socks, toothbrushes, and snacks, to create Blessing Bags for the homeless. They hand these bags out to the homeless on a regular basis, giving them out in New York up to five nights a week. They have recently brought their efforts here to New Jersey, working in Newark, Asbury Park, and other areas at the Jersey Shore.

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Singing For Our Sisters Event Donates to Women’s Education

Singing For Sisters EventStudents Advocating Girl’s Education (SAGE) and Blue Hawk Records came together for their first annual Singing for Our Sisters event on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The event was created to support female education, to spread awareness on the lack of it, and to empower women to be whoever they want to be.

The two organizations collaborated for the first time last year, for their PB&Jam event, which included performances by five different acts and collected donations for homeless women. With the success of PB&Jam in mind, the two clubs decided to come together once again to host another event to aid and empower women.

“I contacted Kaitlin and within a month we had this amazing show planned. Girls from Blue Hawk Records volunteered to play and I got so much support from both sections of Intro. to Gender Studies,” said Blue Hawk Records’ Aja Armstrong, who organized all the musical acts and enlisted the help of classmates from her section of Introduction to Gender Studies, taught by Corey Wrenn, Ph.D., Chair of the Gender Studies Department.

The event included musical performances by members of Blue Hawk, including: Monica Flores, Skyeline’s Brittany Byrne, Nicole Govel, and Incolor. Performances included some covers of female empowering tracks, like Corrine Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On,” as well as some original pieces by the artists.

“I love doing shows, and I love helping my community, so what’s better than a show for a cause!” Armstrong continued.

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University Mourns English Professor

MU English Professor Passes 51

David J. Tietge, Ph.D., a beloved professor of 15 years and respected colleague at Monmouth University, passed away at the age of 51 on Nov. 28. This comes as a shock to those who knew him.

Tietge’s influence on the entire community at Monmouth is easily seen, but it is within the quiet corridors of the English department building where his presence was most known. His door was covered with newspaper clippings, cartoons, and other images, all giving a small snapshot of his humor and personality.

Inside his office, everything is gathered neatly around his desk. There is a guitar in the corner of the room, a baseball resting in a cup, and various books stacked next to each other. “Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge” sits comfortably next to Bram Stoker’s “Dracula.”

The desk sports a half-finished bottle of soda sitting next to a coffee travel mug. The chair is well-worn and leans against the wall next to an air conditioner and a boarded-up window. The office is well-lived in, and has character in every inch of it.

Tietge focused on the various rhetoric of theory, science, and popular culture. He published three books and had articles in numerous journals. As the Director of First-Year Composition, he was responsible for many of the changes currently present in those courses today, making the course more streamlined and accessible to new students.

“He had a really in-depth knowledge of critical and literary theory that put him on equal standing with any of the literature professors in our department,” said J.P. Hanly, Associate Director of First Year Composition, an assistant professor of English, and a close colleague of Tietge.

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Students Present Forum on Institutional Reform

Students Present Institutional ReformThe Academic Exchange Program (AEP) piloted the first ever integrated class at a maximum security prison in New Jersey, this fall. The directors and students of this program explored the significance of this experience while hosting a critical forum on the complications connecting educational and correctional institutions on Wednesday, Nov. 15.

Students enrolled in the “Investigating the School to Prison Pipeline 2” class will have spent 12 class periods this semester inside of the New Jersey State Prison, learning alongside incarcerated students. The curriculum of this two-part course was uniquely developed by the AEP Program Directors, Eleanor Novek, Ph.D., an associate professor of communication, and Johanna Foster Ph.D., the Director of the sociology department, and an associate professor of sociology.

Throughout the semester Monmouth and incarcerated students collaborated on a report on why prisons needed to be made more like schools, and schools less like prisons. Students gathered information and creatively responded to four major research questions: “How can we support at-risk youth and end zero-tolerance policies in public schools?,” “How can we understand the larger societal forces that limit support higher education and reentry preparations?,” and “How can we reduce the stigma of felon status and increase empathy for returning citizens?.”

“We broke down into groups in our class with the inmates at Trenton State, and we worked together to distribute a focus for each group to touch upon as far as what we felt the general public needs to know,” said Paul Matt, a senior communication student.“We need to listen and understand who they are, and how they got to prison based off of their upbringing, environment, and previous educational experiences. The purpose of education in prison is to teach the inmates what they haven’t been taught before in order to be a productive member of society.”

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Monmouth University Among Academic Institutions Named in Paradise Papers

MU Among Paradise Papers 1Monmouth University has been named alongside 104 colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, including Yale University, Princeton University, and Oxford University, in the Paradise Papers, a leak of documents and files that indicate the institutions named had affiliations with offshore accounts, most often, to avoid tax liability.

While the University’s connection to the Papers may not indicate any wrongdoing or illegality on their part, the business practice’s commonality among institutions of higher education raises a question of ethics and moral duty.

The Paradise Papers are the second-largest data leak in history, following the 2016 release of the Panama Papers. Both leaks were obtained by German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, who then shared the material with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), a United States based organization that won a Pulitzer Prize for their work on the Panama Papers.

The ICIJ published the Papers in 2016, exposing the methodology behind how wealthy citizens, organizations and institutions avoid paying taxes by keeping funds in offshore accounts.

George Yager, a CPA who specializes in tax compliance and family wealth planning, and provides consultation on tax advisory services to a broad range of clients including management companies and their owners in the alternative investments industry, as well as energy and real estate clients, explained tax avoidance as an action taken to reduce one’s tax liability and maximize after-tax income.

“Tax avoidance is perfectly legal and involves the practice of maximizing deductions, adjustments to income and use of tax credits to lower tax liability within the Tax Code and Regulations. While the legality of tax avoidance is clear, the ethics of it are not.  Most taxpayers use some form of tax avoidance to legally lower their taxes such as contributing pre-tax income to a 401(k) retirement plan,” said Yager.

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Debate Team Wins Three Awards at On-Campus Tournament

Debate Team Wins 3 AwardsThe Monmouth University Debate Team hosted its 5th Annual Jersey Shore Invitational Debate Tournament on campus. Three University teams won awards by advancing into the playoff rounds. 

More than 150 participants from ten universities registered for this nationally-sanctioned tournament, which took place on Nov. 18 and 19.  Registered debaters included students from New York University, George Mason University, Liberty University, Cornell University, the New School, Rutgers University, University of Rochester, Wilkes University, SUNY Binghamton, and Monmouth University.

The University team took home three team awards over the weekend behind the team of sophomore political science students Landon Myers and Chase Petras, who made it into the quarterfinals after a playoff round victory on a 2-1 ballot over New York University.

“Advancing to the quarter finals was amazing,” said Myers. “To get there we won an upset against NYU in the elimination rounds. It was my first win in the elimination rounds and I was ecstatic. During the tournament I generally try to be unemotional because there is always that next round of debating and I need to stay focused.”

The team of sophomore Alexis Vasquez and senior Chris Diolosa received awards for advancing into the playoff rounds.

“I was jubilant, but debate teaches you to be humble and gritty because to get an award, you have to take a few on the chin to realize that you need to keep on trucking through the tough times,” said Diolosa, a political science student.

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SVA Donates for Thanksgiving

The Student Veterans’ Association (SVA) planned an event called “Ask-a-Veteran” on Nov. 13. Despite the low attendance of non-military affiliated students, the event turned into a food drive and branched into a discussion to plan more charitable programs.

Rocco Puzzo, a communication radio/television first-year student, Treasurer of the SVA and an infantryman in the Army said, “Well, the ‘Ask-a-Vet’ turned into a meeting simply because we didn’t have anyone show up. We decided it was a good idea to talk about what we need to do for next time in order to make this event more of a success.”

“The organization rallied themselves together to use it as an opportunity to brainstorm ideas on engaging with the community for the upcoming holiday season,” said Michael Callahan, Coordinator of Veteran Services at the University.

Nick Venier, a junior marketing student, SVA President, and Air Force veteran said, “It was a failure in that not many people came but it was a success because we all got together and planned.”

Although their original event became a meeting for the SVA, the assemblage led to the planning of charitable programs for the organization to take part in along with the completion of a food drive in time for Thanksgiving.

“It was a simple turkey drive; everyone contributed a certain amount of money and that got us a few turkeys to donate,” Venier noted.

Shannon Hudson, a sophomore health studies student and Navy veteran said, “The event turned into a meeting and we ended up doing a food drive. We talked about an upcoming event, which is going to be a toy drive for Christmas.”

 “I thought the food drive was very successful; we were able to raise enough money to get eight full turkeys, six boxes of stuffing, one large apple and one large pumpkin pie,” Puzzo said. He then delivered the collected food to the Peoples Pantry in Toms River. “We got 125 pounds worth of food. I wanted to at least attempt to make Thanksgiving just a little bit better for a family who doesn’t have much,” Puzzo continued.

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The Outlook Named Among Least Biased Media Sources

The Outlook Least Biased SourcesThe Outlook was listed among the least-biased sources of news, according to Media Bias/Fact Check (MBFC News), one of the most comprehensive resources for determining media bias.

According to the site, sources and stories for The Outlook have minimal bias, and stories use very few loaded words. The factual reporting is ranked as “high”, and MBFC News highlights that reporting is usually sourced, putting The Outlook among “the most credible media sources.”

An independent online media outlet, MBFC News was founded in 2015, and currently has over two thousand media sources in its database. Media publications can be searched by name or URLs. The site also features original articles about media bias, journalism, and politics. 

The site uses a published methodology to rank the bias of media sources, including the use of four different categories to determine bias. The categories include the use of biased headlines and wording, the use of factual sourcing, the story choices made by the journalist, and the political affiliation of the journalist and the publication in general.

For each source, a minimum of ten headlines and five news stories are reviewed. Editorial and opinion pieces are also looked at, and the publication’s website is searched for various keywords to see how stories address terms such as “Republican,” “Democrat,” “Liberal,” and the names of political figures.

The site also looks at things such as bias by omission, bias by labeling, bias by placement, bias by selection of sources, bias by spin, bias by story selection, confirmation bias, the use of connotation and denotation, loaded words and language, and purr or snarl words.

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Controversy Over Vaccinations Continues

Vaccine Controversy ContinuesThe vaccine controversy, which stemmed from a falsified paper from 1998, still seems stronger than ever today despite an overwhelming body of evidence in support of immunizations and their positive effects on public health.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists immunizations as one of the top ten medical achievements of all time, being directly responsible for the eradication of a laundry list of diseases, including polio and smallpox. A 2014 CDC report showed because of vaccinations given from infancy to childhood, 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years will be avoided.

The main source of modern vaccine controversy is a paper published in a scientific journal, the Lancet, in 1998 where Robert Wakefield falsely asserted that there was a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism.

According to Jeffrey Weisburg, Ph.D., a specialist professor of biology, this paper was promptly retracted, as it contained falsified data with a small patient sample size of only 32 individuals. The study was then repeated by other scientists with thousands of other patients, where no correlation between the MMR vaccine and autism was observed.

In response to the accusation that there are monetary conflicts of interest in the new studies, Weisburg stressed that the new studies were undertaken by many financially unrelated parties.

Still, the paper is cited by many anti-vaccine groups as a reason why children should not be immunized, citing an unjustified fear of causing developmental issues.

“The issue is that we’ve gotten much better at detecting autism, and it just so happens that its signs show up at the same time vaccinations are given,” said Weisburg.

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School of Education Introduces Research and Support Program for Rett Syndrome

New Rett Syndrome Program 1The School of Education announced the Program for Research and Support for Rett Syndrome (RTT), in collaboration with the New Jersey Rett Syndrome Association (NJRSA) at a conference held in the Wilson Hall Versailles room on Friday, Nov. 17.

The purpose of the event was to provide information from inter-professional perspectives on care in RTT, and to educate attendees on the condition, the program and its functionality.

RTT is a rare non-inherited genetic postnatal neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in girls and can lead to severe deficiencies in communication, motor skills, eating, and breathing.

The conference began with registration and a light breakfast, with welcome remarks from John Henning, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Education, to open up the event to their guest speakers.

Patricia Remshifski, PhD, CCC-SLP, the Chair of the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Coordinator of the Program for Research and Support for Rett Syndrome, presented on the program. 

Remshifski first explained the primary goal, which is to establish a University-based program for research and support for individuals with RTT and their families. She then highlighted the approximately 200 families in New Jersey who are affected in some way by the disease, and stressed that they are in need of support, education, and treatment.

These families were the inspiration for the establishment of the program, and the University is able to provide service, academic experience and a personalized education for students working with these families outside of the classroom.  

“We hope to support Rett Syndrome in the community, and provide treatment for communication while bringing families together,” Remshifski said.

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Annual Festival of Languages Celebrated

The Department of World Languages and Cultures presented the Festival of Languages in the Wilson Hall Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 8. The festival was celebrated by world language students and professors who showcased their language skills through artistic talents including song, dance, poetry, videos, and presentations.

The festival began with the reading of Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s poem “Al Partir” read by Keith Lee and Jasmine Garcia, followed by Malia Padalino’s violin performance of “Emma Zunz” by Jorge Luis Borges.

After the University students performed, Shore Regional High School Spanish honor students engaged with the audience in a tutorial of how to create an origami turkey, with all steps in Spanish. This was the second consecutive year the festival opened its doors to the surrounding community.

One of the 18 high school students who performed, sophomore Nicholas Silva, appreciated Monmouth University’s efforts to celebrate the importance of world language and heritage. “It was a great experience to see a diverse field of cultures and languages represented,” said Silva after his class’s performance.

Once the high school students finished their tutorial and fable recitation videos, seven of Professor Hiyam Sarsar’s Arabic 101 students dressed in traditional Arab garb, and performed a dance titled, “Arabic Fantasy.”

Following the dance, Chai Enteridge stole the crowd’s hearts with a beautiful French performance of Je Sais on acoustic guitar. Although nervous to perform in front of an audience consisting of both professors and students who are familiar with the language, Enteridge, a French student, was pleased by the support he received. To Enteridge, the festival, “opened everyone’s perspective” on how the University values world language.

Enteridge’s song was followed by Brittany Macaluso’s French video reading of “Déjeuner Du Matin,” a poem by Jacques Prevert, followed by a PowerPoint presentation on Italian designer by Catie Mazzella.

The Italian language carried out the ending of the festival, which included Frank Lino’s fun trumpet video performance of Dean Martin’s “That’s Amore,” and a “Tarantella” dance by four Italian students.

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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