Last updateWed, 21 Apr 2021 3pm


Volume 92 (Fall 2019 - Spring 2020)

Leahy Highlights Student Success

Leahy Highlights StudentPresident Patrick F. Leahy Ed.D., delivered a Spring Convocation in which he addressed the academic and athletic student success of the previous fall semester, in Pollak Theatre Auditorium on Wednesday, Jan. 22.

A brief speech preceding Leahy’s address was made by Rekha Datta, Ph.D., Interim Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor of Political Science.

Noting the recent celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Datta began her remarks with a reflection on one of the civil rights activist’s many iconic speeches. “We may have all come in different ships, but we are all in the same boat now,” Datta quoted. 

Leahy addressed the crowd with a thanks for assembling and the acknowledgment that “... there seems to be no perfect time for us to host the Fall Convocation and the Spring Convocation, so I’m very grateful for your willingness to join us at this time and to stay with us for a little while to hear about what’s on my mind as we go into the Spring semester.”

Leahy stressed the importance of holding the convocation regardless of the convenience, as the event is a way to enhance communication on the campus. 

After introductions, Leahy transitioned into acknowledging the plethora of student achievements accomplished in the previous Fall semester. “Every university can, and probably should measure its success by the success of its students, and we had so many examples this fall,” Leahy said.

Recalling the success of the Monmouth Debate Hawks, Leahy mentioned the team’s three separate competitions across multiple different locations, and their first place victories in two of the three meetings.

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Local High School Students Get a Taste of Healthcare Careers

Students HealthcareA total of 107 high school students from Monmouth and Ocean counties graduated from Mini-Medical School on Monday, Oct. 28 in Pollak Theatre.

A collaboration between Monmouth University, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, and Hackensack Meridian Health, the six-week Mini-Medical School program exposes local high school students to careers in medicine by providing them with opportunities to hear from various health care professionals, in fields ranging from pediatric endocrinology to neurosurgery.

Bernadette Dunphy, PT, DPT, Co-Director of the program and a Specialist Professor of Biology at Monmouth, said “Mini Medical School offers the opportunity to share our knowledge about what it is like to be a health care professional with these high school students. Every presenter in the program gave the students insight into what it is like to in their field of medicine or specialty.” 

Dunphy continued that “Seven students attended Monmouth as their choice of undergraduate studies because of this program. One of our recent students, Gabriella Gmeiner, attended Mini Medical as a high school student, and was one of our student Pre-Health Ambassadors for the 2019 program.”

Gabriella Gmeiner, now a freshman biology student at Monmouth, attended the Mini-Medical School at Central Regional High School in Bayville. She said, “The stories that the guest doctors told about what they do on a daily basis to help their patients stuck with me the most because I want to be able to make a difference in someone’s life just like them.”

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Monmouth Analysis: Free Higher Education?

Analysis EducationWith student debt at an unsustainable high of approximately $1.5 trillion, advocates say that free education could reform the consumerist business model that drives universities’ tuition hikes.

“We’re the only country that has turned universities into non-learning centers,” Kenneth Mitchell, Chair of the Department of Politics and Sociology and an Associate Professor of Politics, said. “American education has become let’s build another sports stadium, form another club, or hire more administrators. The cost of going to university is not directly tied to getting an education.”

Mitchell’s critique of higher education’s priorities is echoed by Johanna Foster, FAMCO President and an Associate Professor of Sociology. She said, “In the last few decades, as part of the expansion of capitalism and the need for new internal markets and commodities, higher education has been hijacked by commercial interests.”

The structure of higher education in America stands in stark contrast to universities around the world. Pia Ruggles, Ph.D., who completed her schooling in Denmark where higher education is free, spoke about the American system. She said, “There is such a high focus on sports. The money needs to come from somewhere, and it takes a tremendous amount of overhead to fund sports.”

The money used to fund non-academic ventures comes from tuition. The way universities distribute capital has made students question if free education is attainable. Nicholas Coscarelli, a senior political science student, said, “We can throw as much money as we want at schools to publicly fund higher education, but we need to ensure that the money is being allocated to the proper outlets.”

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Monmouth's Stance on the Astros Incident

Astros Incident 1Game 6 of the American League Championship Series had just concluded on Oct. 19, with the Houston Astros defeating the New York Yankees by a score of 6-4. 

According to Stephanie Apstein of Sports Illustrated, during the Astros’ postgame celebration, Assistant General Manager Brandon Taubman approached three female reporters, including one that wore a purple bracelet in honor of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  He yelled at them, half a dozen times, “Thank God we got Osuna!  I’m so f****** glad we got Osuna!”  Taubman was referring to Roberto Osuna, Houston’s right-handed closer, who served a 75 game suspension for alleged domestic violence last season.

Sherry Wein, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication, noted, “There is a natural tension between a sports team and the press.  During moments of celebration, this tension can be magnified as the team celebrates and the press documents.”

“The reporters were not talking to Taubman.  He just yelled at them, which made it difficult for them to do their jobs.  Taubman was not talking to Osuna, either, so his comment was not supporting or assisting anyone,” she said.

“It paints a picture of a team that, from management down, is out of control.  Whether it’s how they act towards each other and the media, regardless of gender, or how they’re doing business on the field, it needs to be reevaluated, because it’s very concerning and alarming,” commented Eddy Occhipinti, Associate Athletics Director of Marketing & Sponsorships.

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Life Index Favors NJ

default article imageA recent report from the Monmouth University Polling Institute indicates that New Jersey residents’ opinion of the quality of life in the state has rebounded from an all-time low recorded earlier this year. The current “Quality of Life” Index details that 6-in-10 residents give positive opinions to their state as a place to live.

The Garden State Quality of Life Index was created by the MU Polling Institute in 2010 to act as a resident-based indicator of the quality of life offered by the state of New Jersey.  Five separate poll questions act as the basis of the index: the feelings of safety in one’s own neighborhood, the quality of the local environment, the performance of local schools, the overall opinion of the state as a place to live – which makes up half the index score – and ratings of one’s hometown. The index can potentially range from -100 to +100.

Six-in-10 New Jersey residents consider the state to be either an excellent (15 percent) or good (46 percent) place to reside, while 26 percent say it is only fair and 12 percent rate the state as poor. The newly published positive rating of 61 percent is a large improvement from the 50 percent record low recorded earlier this year as well as the 54 percent result in April 2018. 

Patrick Murray, Director of the Independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, explained how New Jersey residents’ views of the state’s quality of life has been on a downward trend for three years before rising with the institute's most recent poll.

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University Works to Improve Cell Service

Cell ServiceAs students and staff settle into their respective classrooms and offices on a typical school day, one may pull out their smartphone to peruse their social media feeds, check their emails, or text a friend.

Whatever the purpose may be, it’s not unlikely that poor cell service will get in the way of these tasks that smartphone users are so accustomed to. While it is easy to become frustrated with this issue, there is much more to this problem than meets the eye.

Jesse Denniston-Lee, a senior social work student and student resident, is all too familiar with the issue of cell service on campus. “I think it’s because of the enclosure. I think the fact that [the walls] are mainly brick based has something to do with the reception,” said Denniston-Lee in regards to the poor cellular service in his first-floor dorm room at Beachwood Hall.

Eric Reisher, Director of Broadcast Engineering and a Professor of Communication, also points to the development of campus facilities when asked about the cause of the issue. “The reasons for the poor coverage in most cases comes down to the construction of the buildings on campus. Arrays of concrete and steel help build strong buildings but block cell phone transmissions,” said Reisher.

However, the concrete and steel that make up the University’s facilities account for only a fraction of the reason for Monmouth’s poor cellular coverage. “Plangere and the surrounding area is in a zone where it is the furthest distance from surrounding cellular towers which creates a very weak zone for cell signals,” said Dickie Cox, an Assistant Professor Concentration Director of Interactive Digital Media.

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Social Work Teach-In Educates on Opioid Crisis and Addiction Treatment

Social Opioid CrisisMonmouth’s Social Work Society hosted their 14th annual Teach- In to educate the surrounding community on the opioid crisis, on Tuesday, Nov. 12. 

The event began with opening remarks from the Social Work Society and Robin Mama, Ph.D., Dean of the School of Social Work. 

Afterwords, there was a keynote from former Senator Raymond Lesniak. He said, “I remember getting a tooth extracted and getting a 30-day supply of Percocet. Actually, what I needed was a week supply of Tylenol.”

He explained the complications he faced, while in office, trying to get addictions listed as disabilities in New Jersey. “Unfortunately, it is such a difficult thing to achieve because there is only X amount of dollars available for people with disabilities. If you add another disability, then all the other folks with disabilities will be short changed. So, you would need the increase the [spending] to make room for this.”

William Wood, an Adjunct Professor of Social Work, explained that the speakers and workshop presenters were informative and that, given the ongoing issues with opioids and other addictions, the focus of the event was “timely and relevant.”

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Trash Collection on Campus

default article imageThe Outlook personnel have documented several places on campus this semester in which garbage and recycling receptacles have not been consistently available with one another. This occurrence has been spotted on the residential side of campus, as well as the area surrounding the Jules L. Plangere Center for Communication and McAllan Hall.

While pointing out that the University recycles 827 tons annually, Patti Swannack, Vice President of Administrative Services, ends the comment with a thought: “We believe we can improve that number.” However, one may find it challenging to improve that number when standing outside Plangere Center looking to recycle and there is no bin to do it.

John Morano, Environmental Author and Professor of Journalism said, “I first became aware of the problem when I arrived at campus and had a cup of coffee with me and I tried to throw out the cup and recycle the lid, which seems to be recyclable. When I came to the garbage pails at Plangere Center, there were only two garbage pails, side by side. And when I went to the next set of garbage pails, there were [also] only two side by side. So I had no option to recycle.”

Sierra Sorrentino, President of the Outdoors Club and senior Anthropology major said, “I’ve heard from a lot of people on campus that they’ve seen the recycling and trash being mixed together in the dumpsters by the custodians anyway, but I really hope that that’s just a rumor.”

While one may see campus custodial staff mix garbage and recycling in a seemingly careless manner, Fred Larson, custodian since 2008, says that the situation is more complicated than that. Larson explained, “When [students] come over and just drop a coffee [in the recycling] with all kinds of fluid in it, it’s damaged and the entire bin goes to the garbage. It’s tough.”

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MU Recycling Leader

default article imageMonmouth University was one of nine organizations recognized at the 39th Annual Association of New Jersey Recyclers symposium held Oct. 10 at the Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune.

The program aims to recycle glass, plastic, metal, aluminum, used light bulbs, batteries, toner cartridges, and more.

According to the October 2019 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection press release, the institution was a principal for its comprehensive program which recycled 46 percent of garbage produced on campus in 2018. The University recycled an accumulation of 1.13 tons of light bulbs, 268.51 tons of construction and demolition debris, and 5.41 tons of computer equipment. One hundred percent of landscaping waste was consistently reused as mulch or soil amendments on campus grounds or were sent to an area composting facility.

“I commend these award winners for their work to promote recycling and educate their communities about the importance of diverting waste to better protect our natural resources,” Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine R. McCabe said. “New Jersey is consistently a national leader in recycling, and we applaud the winners for going above and beyond to help safeguard the environment.”

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SGA Hosts Forum for Interested Students

SGA ForumThe Student Government Association (SGA) recently held an open forum for interested students to learn more about the organization’s methods of operation and the various roles of their current leadership in Pozycki Auditorium, on Wednesday, Nov. 13. 

Mike Fazzino, SGA President and a senior communication student, detailed his presidential responsibilities and the day-to-day management of collaborating with Monmouth’s administration.

“I’m in charge of handling the more ‘big picture’ stuff like working with administration...  and you’ll hear when [Vice President] Chrissie [Santoriello] speaks, she handles more of the day-to-day actual senate matters,” Fazzino said. “I’m moreseo working with administration and the University itself a lot more.”

Fazzino also mentioned a planned meeting with President Patrick Leahy, Ed.D., to discuss ways in which the University can further their involvement with The Nest, a food pantry facilitated by SGA.

“There’s been a lot of talk from Vice President [for Student Life and Leadership Engagement Mary Anne] Nagy about how the University really wants to take control on the issue of food insecurity,” Fazzino said. “They’d take it out of our hands and solely run The Nest. We’ll be coming up with a plan on ways that the University can kind of step in and possibly give some financial aid.”

SGA meets every Wednesday to discuss current University and student matters, but Fazzino showed interest in scheduling an “outside meeting time” to host a community building talk, open to all.

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Annual Race Conference Explores Identities

Pop Culture RaceMonmouth University hosted its 6th Biennial Interdisciplinary Conference on Race, themed “Race, Memory, and Identity,” which included distinguished speakers and cultural performances in Wilson Hall and Magill Commons from Nov. 14-16. 

The conference aimed to bring together scholars from multiple disciplinary perspectives to broadly explore the intersections of Race, Memory, and Identity. 

Through modern social, political, and media discourses the conference demonstrated the continued need to evaluate the different ways that race and identity impact memory, relating to history, trauma, loss and remembrance. 

The conference was coordinated by Brooke Nappi, M.A., a Lecturer of Cultural Anthropology, and Maryanne Rhett, Ph.D., Director of Graduate Program in History and an Associate Professor of Anthropology and History. 

Featured events included opening plenary remarks on Nov. 14 from William Sturkey, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as the Nov. 15 keynote address by Qiana Whitted, Ph.D., Director of the African American Studies Program and Professor of Literature at the University of South Carolina.

Sturkey specializes in the history of race in the South, with an interest in the histories of working-class racial minorities. 

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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