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Wilson Hosts Public Redistricting Forum

Wilson Public Redistricting ForumThe League of Women Voters of New Jersey partnered with the Fair Districts NJ coalition to host a public forum on the legislative redistricting process in New Jersey in the Wilson Auditorium on Wednesday, Feb. 6. 

The speakers included Helen Kioukis, Program Associate for League of Women Voters of New Jersey; Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute; and Yurij Rudensky, Redistricting Counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law. 

This forum is one in a series of 10 public programs being organized by the League of Women Voters across the state in order to educate voters on the redistricting process. 

Kioukis, who works to advance statewide legislative priorities and currently serves as the lead organizer for the fairer districts redistricting reform campaign, expressed, “It is important that public opinion drives public policy, especially redistricting reform and how the lines of your (New Jersey) districts will be redrawn after the census.” 

Once every decade, census data is collected to determine the redrawing of districts.

However, there are many historically difficult areas to count in New Jersey because less than half of voters are responding to the census which results in an undercount, Kioukis explained. The Supreme Court upholds a principle of “one person, one vote” so that each district needs to be drawn with roughly the same number of people to ensure fair representation, allowing voters equal opportunity to participate in political processes. 

Participants responding to the census is important in order to acquire equal representation, but New Jersey is currently struggling with is how fair that representation is along party lines. If the state lacks accurate census data, it risks the number of representatives New Jersey sends to the House of Representatives, based off of Congressional districts, as well as $17.5 million of federal funding for state programs.

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Mice in Elmwood Residential Hall

Elmwood Mice 1There continues to be sightings of rodents in Elmwood Hall, one week after a video of residents encountering a dead mouse widely circulated on Instagram, with more than 9,800 views, on Friday, Feb.1. 

According to Patti Swannack, Vice President for Administrative Services, the first Elmwood report of mice in 2019 occurred on the first day of the spring semester, Jan. 22, when students in a third-floor room noticed that their power bars had been eaten. 

After another sighting was reported on the first floor several days later, Residential Life requested that exterminators treat that area, as well as sections of Elmwood Hall where mice had been spotted during the previous semester. 

The last treatment occurred on Tuesday, Feb. 5, and Swannack warned that the mouse bait placed by exterminators would take a little time to work. “I am frustrated because we have never had this kind of a problem in a residence hall,” Swannack admitted. “We will continue to do everything we can to mitigate this problem.”

Swannack added that Shadows Club was treated by exterminators on Friday and they plan to continue sending treatment teams to Elmwood.

As of Saturday night, Feb. 9, Residential Life has not responded to a question over whether residents will be temporarily moved from Elmwood Hall until the mice infestation can be dealt with more effectively. 

Ilya Kirejevas, a freshman psychology student and Elmwood resident, said that he hopes that he will not have to change rooms, adding that he is frustrated with having to live in the current situation.“You can hear the mice at night,” he said. “They are scurrying up on the ceiling.”

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President Emeritus Paul Gaffney Inducted into Naval Oceanography Hall of Fame

President Graffney Naval Hall of FameFormer University President Paul Gaffney, II, was inducted into the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, MS, on Jan. 25. 

The ceremony was attended by current and former staff members, some of whom served with the inductees.

The program also included the unveiling of and ribbon-cutting on the newest Department of Defense Supercomputing Resource Center’s supercomputers that were installed in 2018 and named after Gaffney and other Hall of Fame inductees. 

A member of the first class of three honorees, Gaffney served as commander of the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command (NMOC) from 1994 to 1997. He became the first naval oceanographer to attain the rank of vice admiral. 

Gaffney is credited with accomplishing the visionary goal of making Naval Oceanography a world-class supercomputing facility and delivering three oceanographic survey ships into the operational fleet—USNS Pathfinder, USNS Sumner and USNS Bowditch.

“Our competitors strive to shake our confidence. In order to keep our confidence from being shaken we must know what’s happening in the undersea domain. We have that here at Naval Oceanography and no other nation does,” Gaffney said in a press release.

According to the NMOC, these latest installations will now provide users with nearly seven petaflops (a unit of computing speed) of computing capability and are among the fastest supercomputers in the world. 

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Students Meet Frank Pallone in Asbury Park

Students joined local elected officials and members of Monmouth county to meet with New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. at the High Voltage Café in Asbury Park, last Saturday, Feb. 2.

The event, “Coffee with Congressman Frank Pallone Jr.,” was hosted to celebrate Pallone’s newly appointed position to Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is one of the most powerful and prestigious committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Monmouth County Young Democrats, Asbury Park Young Dems and the Asbury Park Democrats, in accordance with the Monmouth University College Democrats on campus, all helped to coordinate the affair.

State Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, who represents New Jersey’s 11th legislative district in the State Assembly, was also present at the event last weekend.

“I greatly appreciated the opportunity to discuss many of the pressing issues facing our state and our country, and I thank Congressman Pallone for his dedication to his district and his accessibility to his constituents,” he said. “I am excited to see so many young people getting involved in politics and government, and encourage them to continue working to improve their communities and our State.”

Landon Myers, a senior political science student and President of the Monmouth University College Democrats, said that the event was very successful.

“We were able to ask Congressman Pallone questions and hear about the process of Congress and a lot of the issues he was going to focus on in the next session,” he said.

Landon noted, “One of Pallone’s biggest talking points was the aspirational policy goals he supports, but having to take a pragmatic approach because Democrats only control the House.”

“Congressman Pallone was excited to hear that Monmouth University finally has a Democratic Club on campus,” said Kayvon Paul, a senior political science student and Outreach Coordinator for the Monmouth University College Democrats.

The Monmouth University College Democrats hope to plan similar informal events with legislative officials, lobbyists, and public interest leaders in the near future.

PHOTO COURTESY of Landon Myers

University Celebrates Black History Month

Celebrating Black History MonthThe University began the celebration of Black History Month by hosting a performance of King’s Dream, presented by Key Arts Productions, in Pollak Theatre on Wednesday, Jan. 30   

The performance is a multi-media live presentation that offers a moving tribute to Dr. Martin Luther, Jr., the Nobel Peace Prize recipient who led America’s peaceful revolution for equal rights for all during the Civil Rights era. It tells the story of an American civil rights movement that is dramatic, powerful, and inspirational.

The Key Arts Productions of Philadelphia explains that in the performance, “The [Civil Rights] era is explained and comes alive with songs, thought provoking live commentary, and captivating integrated video projection in this innovative traveling performance piece.” 

Events throughout the month will be coordinated by the Monmouth University Black Student Union and Tashir Hampton, Assistant Director of Student Activities, to celebrate and honor Black history in America. 

“What I like students to get out of this event is the notion that the struggle still goes on, the fight for civil rights still goes on, and that Dr. King can and has inspired us all to keep up the fight and work together for peace,” said Joseph Patterson, President and Artistic Director at Key Arts Productions. “The college students were very much a part of the modern civil rights movements of the 50’s and 60’s and even today. This program hopefully will inspire young people here at Monmouth to make a difference.” 

February celebrates the sacrifices and achievements of African-Americans from the past to present. This commemoration includes individuals and organizations such as the Black Panther Party, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Jackie Robinson, Muhummad Ali, Martin Luther King, Jr., among many others.

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Leahy Hosts Press Conference

Leahy Hosts Press Conference 1President-elect Patrick Leahy, Ed.D., hosted a student media event as a way of connecting with student leaders in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

The interviews took place in room 202A in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center.

In attendance were student members from WMCX, HawkTV, The Outlook, the Black Student Association, the Student Retention Team, and Student Ambassadors.

Leahy asked the student representatives in attendance about their academics, club involvement, and their experience at Monmouth. 

The press meeting was arranged by John J. Christopher, J.D., Vice President and General Counsel, and Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, in order to create an opportunity for student representatives to meet with Leahy. Aaron Furgason, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Communication and an associate professor of communication, was tasked with advertising the event to student media outlets to notify them of the event. Furgason said that he believes that it’s important for all faculty to be involved with students on campus and noted that it seems that Leahy is committed to doing so. 

“I think it’s great that Leahy is engaged prior to coming in in August, with every level of the university. Obviously, the students are the most important part, but also the faculty and administrators,” he said.

Furgason continued and said that the newly elected president wants to speak directly to leaders on campus, showing that he is engaged in the full life of the University.

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Graduate School Adds Two New Degree Programs

Grad School New Degrees 1The University’s Office of Graduate Studies are approving two new graduate programs for launch this year; the Master of Science in Athletic Training (MSAT) and Master of Arts (MA)/Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Creative Writing.

The MSAT will have its first cohort beginning in June 2019 while the MA/MFA in Creative Writing will launch in fall 2019.

Melissa Febos, an associate professor and Graduate Program Director for the MFA in Creative Writing said, “This new program will allow us to keep our most talented undergraduate writers and to share everything that our faculty and Monmouth University has to offer with writers.”

She also explained that the program is ideal for writers who seek a close-knit, creative and academic community that will support them throughout their careers.

Christina Merckx, Ph.D., an associate professor and Athletic Training Chair, will lead the new MSAT program.

Michael Palladino, Ph.D., a biology professor and Vice Provost for Graduate Studies, said, “For the Athletic Training (AT) programs, we were fortunate to hire Dr. Christina Merckx, an experienced AT who led the curriculum development and facilities design process.”

According to Febos, the new MFA courses will include an advanced craft seminar, an internship seminar, and a year-long creative thesis course in which students are encouraged to finish a book-length manuscript.

The MFA will require students to complete 18 credits, but they must first complete the MA in English for Creative Writing.

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University Celebrates Women in Leadership

University Celebrates Women Leadership 1The University celebrated its 23rd annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD) in Wilson Hall, last Friday, Jan. 25.

The weekend is a series of events brought together Monmouth student-athletes, coaches, and administrators, along with members of the community.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day was first celebrated in 1987 in order to unite athletes and bring attention to the success of girls’ and women’s sports.

The University’s Athletic Director, Marilyn McNeil, Ph.D., recognizes the importance of celebrating women in sports. 

“We must remind our athletes that there is still work to do to reach equality, but also encourage girls and women to celebrate their opportunity to participate,” said McNeil. “Also, to encourage our young girls and women about the benefits of sports participation and how it all translates in a positive manner to the working world.”

The athletic department awards one female student athlete with the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) Woman of the Year Award. 

Each of the 12 women’s sports teams nominates an athlete for the award, based on their athletics, academics, sportsmanship, and involvement in the campus community. 

Jessica Johnson of Women’s Soccer was awarded the NJAIAW Woman of the Year Award during halftime of the Women’s Basketball game against Niagara on Saturday. 

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Mezey Named Dean of Honors School

Mezey Dean Honors SchoolNancy Mezey, Ph.D., formerly an Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, has been named the Dean of the Honors School, effective Jan. 14. 

Mezey is a 17-year member of the University faculty and has been involved with the Honors School since she started. She has previously served as the Director of the Sociology Program, Curriculum

Coordinator of the Gender Studies Program, and advisor to the Sociology Club in addition to her role as a professor of social sciences. In the 2010-11 academic year, she received the Monmouth University Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award. 

“It feels great,” said Mezey. “To be the Dean of the Honors School, it allows me to use my skills as a professor, my skills as a researcher, and my skills as an administrator to lead what I think is a fabulous asset of Monmouth University.”

Mezey is excited to utilize her program building skills in her new position. She was originally asked to come to Monmouth University to build what is now the sociology program.

“Within my second year we had a minor back up and running because we did not have a minor or a major; by 2010 we had a major,” she said. “That experience of program building just let me know that I really enjoyed that, so when I look at the Honors School and some of the great things that it has going and some of the directions we can go in, it all requires that.”

Another experience that Mezey is looking forward to utilizing in her new position was having the opportunity to work with faculty across a variety of fields in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. It is the largest school on campus with 10 departments and three centers of distinction.

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Greek Organizations Return to Campus

Greek Organizations Return 1Greek Life at Monmouth University has been officially reinstated by the University administrators for the spring 2019 semester following an indefinite suspension, effective immediately. 

This news came via a campus-wide email from President Grey Dimenna, Esq. on January 14. 

“I am deeply appreciative of the sincere passion and care that has helped us to resolve the important academic, cultural, and safety issues that are so central to many of our students,” he wrote. “And I am confident that our collaborative efforts will enhance the fraternity and sorority experience for our students and ensure a system that is safe, sound, and strong.”

The imposed Greek suspension prohibited non-educational activities on Sept. 6. 

It ceased social, philanthropic, and recruitment events for the 750+ students involved in Greek Life for an indefinite amount of time.

The action was prompted following poor academic performance within Greek Life, hazing allegations, the shutdown of two fraternities, and the death of a student in an alcohol-related accident on Feb. 3, 2018.

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, is anticipating the return of Greek Life. 

“The proposal that was made was sufficient enough for the restoration to occur,” she said. “It hit on key areas of concern that we had, first and foremost the academic focus. 

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Patrick Leahy Named 10th President of the University

Patrick Leahy 10th President 1The University’s Board of Trustees announced that Patrick Leahy, Ed.D., will serve as the University’s 10th president, effective Aug. 1, 2019. The announcement was made at an event in Woodrow Wilson Hall on Dec. 14 where the incoming president addressed the University community.

Leahy emerged as the Board’s unanimous selection from a pool of more than 100 highly accomplished leaders in the nationwide search. He will succeed Grey J. Dimenna, Esq., who will conclude his tenure on July 31.

“I am thrilled to begin my tenure as the next president of Monmouth University,” Leahy said at the event last month. “Monmouth has continually demonstrated its willingness to evolve to meet the needs of all students and is dedicated to serving an increasingly diverse student body.”

Leahy joins the University from Wilkes University, Wilkes-Barre, PA, where he has served as president since 2012 and led the development of a comprehensive strategic plan that focused the University’s efforts and resources on teaching, research, and civic engagement. The plan set the stage for key initiatives and accomplishments including: the introduction of 20 new academic programs; strategic enrollment growth in online master’s programs and doctoral degrees, including the launch of the University’s first doctoral program; investments in faculty scholarship and research, resulting in the University’s first five patents; and innovative external partnerships that expanded the University’s reach and supported the local community.

Prior to his time at Wilkes, Leahy was a senior administrative leader at the University of Scranton, Scranton, PA, from 2004 to 2012. He first served as Vice President of University Relations, successfully completing a $129 million comprehensive capital campaign. He was then promoted to Executive Vice President, where he was responsible for development, government relations, undergraduate and graduate admission, intercollegiate athletics, planning, and information technology. Leahy also taught in the Business Leadership Honors Program.

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Contact Information

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

MAILING ADDRESS
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