Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 2pm


Volume 90 (Fall 2017 - Spring 2018)

Poll Shows Dissatisfaction with Hurricane Sandy Response Efforts

Poll Sandy Response Dissatisfaction 1According to a poll by the Monmouth University Polling Institute, a majority of New Jersey residents who were ‘hard hit’ victims of Superstorm Sandy are dissatisfied with the government aid they received.

The poll also showed that some victims are still suffering, even five years after the storm made landfall on Oct. 29, 2012.

“Monmouth has been tracking some of New Jersey’s hardest-hit Sandy victims for nearly five years, and it is clear that the slow rate of recovery is something many will never be able to get over,” said Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, in the polls results report. “We have certainly seen some improvement in these residents’ attitudes. But with nearly 1-in-10 of those surveyed still waiting to return home, it is unlikely that a majority of Sandy victims will ever be satisfied with how New Jersey has handled the recovery.”

This year’s poll addressed 432 families who were classified as suffering the greatest after-effects of the storm in 2013. The families had either been displaced from their homes or obtained damages that cost more than $8,000.

The poll found that 55 percent of those surveyed felt dissatisfied, compared to 67 percent in 2013. Of that number, 29 percent felt “very dissatisfied,” while 26 percent are “somewhat dissatisfied,” according to the polling institute’s website. Only 9 percent are “very satisfied” with the recovery effort, and another 35 percent are “somewhat satisfied.”

The report found that among people who have been able to move back into properties that were damaged by Sandy, the satisfaction rate was 50 percent. Only 29 percent of those who have permanently relocated, or are waiting to move back, are satisfied with the state.

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Campus Vandalized by Graffiti, Suspects Unknown

An unknown person or persons committed what the Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD) is referring to as a “bias incident” in the early hours of the morning on Oct. 31, spray-painting various “bias-type words and objects” on portions of Henni and John Kessler Stadium and So Sweet a Cat field.

In addition to the sprayed graffiti, cans of white paint were spilled onto Larchwood Avenue. The defacement was discovered early in the morning by both an unidentified athletics coach, and an unidentified facilities management employee, according to William McElrath, Chief of MUPD.

According to McElrath, a $1,000 reward is being offered to anyone who has any information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the crime. He also said that the incident is still being “actively investigated” by detectives, but no further information was available. 

Students were informed of the situation via an e-mail sent at 10:42 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 2, two days after the graffiti was discovered.

 “The information that I know is that there were swastikas and the ‘n’ word written on the stadium,” said Hayley Bray, a senior health studies student and President of the Chabad on campus. “When I heard it, I literally felt my heart drop and thought to myself ‘not again.’”

The graffiti was removed by facilities management as soon as it was discovered.

“I was extremely disappointed in the vandalism defacing the new stadium and other campus facilities,” said University President Grey Dimenna Esq. “I was even more disappointed that the vandalism included symbols, pictures, and words that were discriminatory, vulgar, and so antithetical to our community and its values. I would like to think that none of our students were involved. These actions have no place on our campus and I would hope that everyone will stand together in condemning such behavior.”

 “Thinking that this type of behavior can bring us back to a dark era is terrifying,” said Bray. “I thought that if something like this were to happen, more would be done [by the school].”

University Responds to Nationwide Opioid Crisis

MU Response Opioid Crisis 1President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic to be a public health emergency on Oct. 26. This declaration allows grant money to be released to combat the problem and allows the easing of some laws and regulations.

In the United States, deaths from overdoses now outnumber deaths from car crashes, according to the Times. According to NJ.com, at least 1,901 people died from opioid overdoses in New Jersey in 2016, with a “meteoric” rise in deaths from heroin and fentanyl.

Deaths involving heroin have more than doubled since 2013, and fentanyl-related deaths have risen by 2,000 percent.

“I wouldn’t say there is a large drug problem on campus, but it would be naïve to think that the national opioid problem has not filtered into the surrounding towns, and onto the University campus,” said William McElrath, Chief of the Monmouth University Police Department (MUPD).

According to Laura Jannone, RN, NJ-CSN, FNASN, coordinator of the School Nurse Program at the University, this increasing drug problem was why the Marjorie K. Unterberg School of Nursing and Health co-sponsored an Opioid Conference in partnership with Horizon NJ Health.

Held on Saturday, Oct. 14 in Pozycki Hall, the program was attended by over 80 school nurses, educators from all over the state, and current students from the University’s nursing and health studies programs.

“I think opioids are a problem everywhere, not exclusive to Monmouth University,” said Jannone. “I know they are a problem in the surrounding area. I was a school nurse in several districts before coming to Monmouth. There was a small opioid problem then, which has gotten much worse due to the availability of new prescription opioids that were not available when I was a school nurse.”

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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 Rentcafe.com, 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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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