Last updateThu, 18 Jan 2018 3am


Conference Looks at Life After Incarceration

Conference Looks at Life After IncarcerationMonmouth University’s Department of Criminal Justice and School of Social Work hosted a conference entitled “Life After Incarceration” on Tuesday, Oct. 24, featuring experts and ex-inmates.

The conference, which began at 8:30 a.m., was sponsored by the New Jersey State Parole Board and had several parole board members in attendance.

The conference featured different sessions, each one focusing on a different aspect of the correctional challenges inmates face after being released.

Each session had a panel of experts, each one sharing their experience on the topic.

The panel topics included “Reentry Today in New Jersey,” “Mental Health and Substance Abuse Issues,” and “Supervision of Sex Offenders and Special Populations.”

The speakers at the conference included: Suzanne Lawrence, the Director of Transitional Services for the NJ Department of Corrections; Steve Fishbien, the Acting Deputy Assistant Director of the Office of Treatment and Recovery Support from the NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services; and Steve Tallard, the Director of the Division of Parole and Community Programs. Several ex-inmates were also present to share their stories.

Nicholas Sewitch, Chair of the University’s Criminal Justice Department said that while participating in a Monmouth County reentry task force, the parole board approached him about holding a conference here at the university.

“When we were approached with this idea, I always felt that this is probably one of the areas of criminal justice that our students know the least about and that the public know the least about,” said Sewitch.

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University Organizations Hold “Mindful Halloween” Event

Mindful Halloween EventMonmouth University Youth Activists Group (YAG) and The Sociology Club held an event promoting Mindfulness for Halloween, where an open discussion on the topic of cultural appropriation was discussed.

The event was Oct. 25 at the Rebecca Stafford Student Center and featured free candy, face painting, Halloween music, and educational literature.

YAG shared mindful tips for students to consider when planning their Halloween costumes by opening a discussion on cultural appropriation as well as providing supporting educational literature. They also incorporated environmental awareness into the event by serving the candy in bulk and encouraging ‘Do it Yourself’ costumes and recycling at parties. 

Dr. Corey Wrenn, Director of the Gender Studies program, visited the event and felt that it was “fun and professional.” Wrenn defines cultural appropriation as, “a dominant cultural group picking and choosing parts of a subordinated cultural group for their own use.” Wrenn suggests, “The reason this is a problem is because it often objectifies and glosses over ongoing and active oppression of the groups being appropriated.”

YAG member and lead organizer of the event, Emily Keane, said, “Cultural appropriation is a very controversial and touchy subject for many. I believe that it’s really important for those who are uneducated about cultural appropriation to learn more about it,”

“[Our goal was] to help spread an overall better understanding of how to recognize when someone is appropriating another’s culture” she continued.

Keane said that it is important to have this event before Halloween because, “Though cultural appropriation can be seen all year round; it’s especially relevant during Halloween. Having your whole society of origin be used as a cheap Halloween costume is extremely insulting and degrading. It minimizes the people of that culture, and reduces their treasured traditions and values to the price tag you see hanging next to the costume.”

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Potential Campus Threat Deemed False Alarm

At 6:40 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 26, students were alerted to a possible on-campus threat by the Monmouth University alert system.

While the threat was not specified in the messages, the alerts emphasized that the matter was under investigation, that no threat had been confirmed, and that the campus was safe and operating as normal.

About five minutes later, a second e-mail was sent from William McElrath, Chief of the Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD).

He elaborated only slightly on the information, stating that, “University police began to receive phone calls concerning a possible threat to the campus.

The information concerning threats was being spread on various social media sights although no specific threat of any nature was mentioned.”

McElrath’s email explained that University police had been investigating the matter, and that at the time, an individual had approached a student and began asking questions that the student felt uncomfortable responding to.

After that student called the police, an investigation was made which found that no specific threats were made.

The individual then responded with comments that the student found uncomfortable and possibly threatening. Further investigation has revealed that there were no actual or specific threats made.

“Comments, which I am not at liberty to discuss as the matter is under investigation, alarmed a student. References to the incident were then posted to various social media sites, which raised the level of concern among students and others.”   

According to McElrath, the matter was never determined to be a valid threat, but he believed that once the social media postings began to circulate, MUPD found it necessary to, “get the message out to the campus community that the University was safe and business was being conducted as usual.”

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School of Education Holds Annual Literacy Symposium

The Monmouth University School of Education held their annual Literacy Symposium on Friday, Oct. 20.

The event serves to provide professional development for teachers in local school districts, focusing on the instruction for students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, according to Carolyn Groff, Ph.D, Department Chair in the School of Education.

“This allows teachers, especially local teachers, to have a professional development day,” said Lilly Steiner, an associate professor of education. “It also highlights the work of the graduate students who present, and it shows the community how education research and the practice of education intersect and result in professional development.”

The symposium also features workshops and a presentation by a keynote speaker.

“This year, Dr. Katherine Stahl from New York University (NYU) was chosen because of her award-winning research and teaching in the area of early literacy,” explained Groff. “The keynote speaker needs to be a well-known and published scholar in the field of K-12 literacy instruction.”

Stahl is the Director of the NYU Literacy Clinic and has done extensive research on the topics of comprehension, reading acquisition, and struggling readers. Stahl’s keynote address, held in Anacon Hall at 9:30 a.m., was titled “Helping Erica (and Other Young Children with Comprehension Difficulties)” and focused on the importance of comprehension research in early reading instruction, and provided practical suggestions for implementing such methods of teaching in primary grades.

“She has been a teacher for 25 years, and she is an outstanding educator,” said Steiner. “Currently, we use our textbooks, she’s done great works on literacy assessment and reading comprehension with children who struggle. We were really fortunate to have her.”

According to Steiner, the keynote address was well-received, especially as Stahl made an effort to speak to other presenters and visited the other workshops. 

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Searching for Affordable Off-Campus Housing

Affordable HousingUniversity experts agree that finding affordable housing around Monmouth is no easy task. In order for students to get the most bang for their buck they should keep open minds and take the time to consider all of their options.

Don Moliver, Dean of the Leon Hess Business School and founder of the Kislak Real Estate Institute, feels that students who broaden their search area are likely to find better deals and wind up with more options. “As you move away from the coast, things will tend to get a little bit cheaper,” said Moliver.

“I think that because we’re right by the beach and the surrounding towns for the most part, are wealthy, we get charged more for rent,” said senior communication student, Erica Bogert.

According to data from, the average rent for an apartment in West Long Branch is $2,133. If a student is willing to live a bit further from campus, they should consider checking out Long Branch or the Atlantic Highlands. These nearby towns are significantly cheaper, as the average monthly rate is $1,730 for Long Branch and $1,352 for the Atlantic Highlands.

A new trend has taken root around the Monmouth area in regards to how rent is being collected. “More and more landlords are getting the rent based on the number of people in the house,” said Moliver. What that means is that rather than charge a flat monthly fee to be divided up amongst housemates, landlords will name a price-per-head.

“From a student’s perspective, they think, ‘Great, it’s only X amount of dollars [per month],’ but the landlord is actually picking up extra revenue by doing that,” said Moliver.

Moliver is not the only one to notice this change in procedure. Senior communication student Julia Duncan said, “Real estate agents around here will take advantage of you because they know that you are an inexperienced college student.”

In terms of a student’s bargaining power, “Unfortunately, there is usually not much students can do to negotiate lower rents, as there are usually more students wanting homes than the supply of homes available” said Director of the Kislak Real Estate Institute, Peter Reinhardt.      

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University Professor to Tour with The Front Bottoms

MU Professor Tour 1Erik Romero, an adjunct professor of music, is touring with The Front Bottoms as their bass player. What’s remarkable is that Romero, an accomplished music engineer, only became a bassist four years ago.

Currently an advanced record production professor for the University’s music department, Romero was asked to join this tour as a bassist earlier this summer. The United States tour will take the band across the nation and will finish at Asbury Park’s Convention Hall on Dec. 16.  The tour will then continue in the United Kingdom in February 2018.

The Front Bottoms are a rock band from New Jersey signed by Fueled by Ramen, a rock music record label owned by Warner Music Group.

They recently released a new extended play (EP), Going Grey, which was recorded and engineered by Romero, and has been described by Rolling Stone as “easygoing [in] nature [that] belies just how smart, insightful and genuinely moving [The Front Bottoms] oeuvre can be.” The national Going Grey tour began Oct. 19 in Boston, MA.

Joining his Lakehouse Music Academy co-worker Roshane Karunarante, also known as “Ro,” the keyboardist on the tour, Romero said, “Coming into this tour, I already knew someone and had a friend, and we are already having so much fun.” Romero will be sleeping on the tour bus and traveling with the band for the rest of this tour.  On tour, he will be playing a vintage Fender P-Bass, because he believes in “rock and roll forever.”

Romero began working at Lakehouse Recording Studios, then in Interlaken, in 2010 while completing his Orchestral Percussion education at The College of New Jersey. Beginning as a personal intern of Jon Leidersdorff, owner of Lakehouse, Romero has since become the head engineer, and has recorded, engineered, and produced well over 50 different artists. It was at Lakehouse in 2014 that Romero initially met the members of The Front Bottoms.

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Annual Internship Fair Welcomes Students

2017 Internship Fair

Monmouth University students had their resumes on hand to impress prospective employers for the Office of Career Services’ annual Internship Fair on Tuesday, Oct. 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Anacon Hall.

Forty-six employers were welcomed to campus to meet potential interns and employees.

Amongst the usual companies in attendance, new employers included Adapting Social, Collegic Nav, Dr. Reddy’s Labs, Hackensack Meridian Health, LADACIN Network, NJM Insurance Group, TTI, TEDxAsburyPark, USA Today, Vydia, and Xela communications.

The Internship Fair has aided students in their search for a rewarding internship with influential companies throughout the tri-state area.

 Local and regional employers participated in this event with the intention of hiring Monmouth University students.

The fair is part of the Transformative 10 series, which is described by Jeffrey Mass, the Assistant Director of Career Services, as a new initiative designed to help students connect their majors to a career in preparation for life after graduation.

Rather than learning about a company’s available internships via a website, students were able to inquire about these positions in a non-intimidating face-to-face meeting with recruiters.

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Monmouth Celebrates Founders' Day

The annual Founders’ Day Convocation to celebrate the University’s “Mission and Tradition” of 84 years, was held on Oct. 11 in the OceanFirst Bank Center.

Roughly 300 faculty and administrators made their way to the ceremony, clad in academic robes of various colors and designs, accompanied by student leaders and other attendees.

The ceremony opened to the Monmouth University Chamber Orchestra’s processional, under the direction of Michael Gillette, a professor of music, and Bryan Jenner, Assistant Conductor.

Michael Plodwick, Chair of the Board of Trustees, gave a warm welcome to the audience and announced the performance of “America the Beautiful,” sung by the Monmouth University Chamber and Concert Choruses, under the direction of David M. Tripold, accompanied by Maggie Tripold.

Evan Kudish, a senior music industry student and member of the Chamber Chorus, said, “It is really great to perform at the University you love and be involved in a tradition that goes back years. It is a real honor to be part of a ceremony like this one.”

Plodwick delivered the Investiture and presided over the Ceremony when he invested Grey J. Dimenna, Esq., with the charge as the 9th President of Monmouth University

Dimenna addressed the audience and spoke of future goals he wished to accomplish in his time as President. Dimenna said, “By the time I am through, the three most spoken words on this campus will be:  ‘Hey President Dimenna.’” Dimenna stressed the importance he places on being visible and attending as many campus events as possible.

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Homecoming Celebrated at New Kessler Stadium

2017 Homecoming 1University students, faculty, and alumni took part in the University’s annual Homecoming celebrations this weekend from Oct. 20-21. Events consisted of a pep rally and football game in the newly-constructed Henni Kantor Kessler and John H. Kessler Stadium.

The pep rally took place on Friday and was sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA) with the theme “Rise of the Hawks.”

 The Hawks won the football game the following day against Liberty 56-39 with 364 rushing yards and a record kickoff of 95 yards.

At the game, the following students were honored as this year’s Homecoming Court: Seniors Vincent Welch and Shannon Marren were King and Queen; juniors Nicholas Verzicco and Pooja Shah were Prince and Princess; sophomores Michael Welch, Faridat Busari, and Jillian Staub were presented as Duke and co-Duchesses; and freshmen Anthony Flores and Gianna Marretta were Lord and Lady.

This year marked a unique instance where there was a tie for the Duchess position, and both students that came first were honored.

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University Athletic's Stance on Taking a Knee

Monmouth Takes a Knee 1Colin Kaepernick made national headlines when he knelt for the National Anthem during a September 2016 game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers.

Stating that his stance was a protest against racial injustice in the country, he continued to kneel and was joined in his protest by other athletes such as U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, according to SBNation.

As time went on, the protests received less and less attention, until President Donald Trump brought the topic back into the limelight, saying “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a ***** off the field right now, out, he’s fired… For a week, (that owner would) be the most popular person in this country. Because that’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect for everything we stand for,” at a campaign rally for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Luther Strange.

Following Trump’s comments, dozens of players from various professional teams knelt at games the next day, including the Baltimore Ravens, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the New England Patriots, among others. Team owners, including Trump donor and Jaguars owner Shad Khan, also joined the protests, as others denounced the president and his commentary on social media, according to Salon.

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University Professor and Student Invited to Study 300-Year-Old 'Vinegar Bible' at Shrewsbury Church

MU Prof Student 300 Old BibleCorey Dzenko, an assistant art history professor at Monmouth University, and Campbell Lee, a junior English student, have been invited to study a rare ‘Vinegar Bible’ on display at the Christ Episcopal Church in Shewsbury.

“The Vinegar Bible is a bible that was printed in 1717, in England,” said Dzenko, an art historian who typically focuses on more contemporary artworks. “It is called the ‘Vinegar Bible’ because ‘Parable of the Vineyard’ was misspelled to say ‘Parable of the Vinegar’ instead.”

According to the Asbury Park Press, the bible has been on display in the church for about 175 years; over the summer, for the 300-year-anniversary of the book, it was removed from its glass case to be used in services.

“I was fearful when we took it out,” said Christ Church historian Bob Kelly in an interview with the Asbury Park Press. “I didn’t know what kind of condition it was in – what we were going to see.”

According to his interview, the book was worn but in good condition.

“The Vinegar Bible is significant for art because it contains many engraved illustrations by 18th century artists,” explained Dzenko. “As a book, it is also significant as an example of graphic design. The printer used mechanical process to create the book, rather than writing and illustrating all books by hand, as was done before the invention of the printing press in the 1450s.” 

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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