Last updateThu, 02 Apr 2020 1pm


Hong Kong Protests Continue

HK ProtestsThe citizens of Hong Kong have been protesting the Chinese government since June 2019, when Chief Executive Carrie Lam proposed the ‘extradition law.’

The ‘extradition law’ stated that any crime committed in Hong Kong would be prosecuted in Mainland China.

This proposal sparked massive protests, resulting in the withdrawal of the bill on Sept. 4. Despite the bill’s extraction, protests are ongoing as young citizens fear for their autonomy. 

 Hong Kong has been a semi-autonomous region in China since the 1997 handover, when the United Kingdom relinquished control after 150 years of Western imperialism. Since the transfer of power, China agreed to a transition period where Hong Kong would retain its independence. This deal is known as the “One Country, Two Systems” agreement that will remain intact until 2047. 

Melissa Brzycki, an Assistant Professor of History with expertise in East Asian History, said, “The protests this year roughly coincide with the one hundredth anniversary of the May Fourth Movement of 1919, where students and others from across China protested the terms of World War I, the colonization of parts of China, and their own government's policies and actions.

She continued, "I think there are a lot of parallels there, especially in young people protesting their own government's policies, proposed or otherwise.” 

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First Year Seminar Discontinued

FYS DiscontinuedUniversity Faculty voted to remove First Year Seminar from the General Education Requirements, effective Fall 2020. This decision came as a result of Monmouth’s graduation requirement being lowered from 128 to 120 credits, necessitating a cutback of courses to meet this new minimum.

The decision to discontinue First Year Seminar was relatively devisive last week. Out of the total 239 faculty votes, 142 members voted to remove the course, 75 to retain, and 22 abstained from the vote entirely.

When the decision was carried out to reduce the amount of necessary graduation credits, General Education Requirements such as Technological Literacy, Reasoned Oral Discourse, and ultimately First Year Seminar were considered to be discontinued in order to meet these new demands.

 According to Marina Vujnovic, Ph.D., Chair of the Faculty Council and an Associate Professor of Communication, First Year Seminar was eventually chosen to receive a vote on its ongoing status. “Over the course of the years that faculty taught those courses, there were several ideas and proposals that were brought to attention at the time,” Vujnovic said. “Some called for a revised seminar, as certain faculty felt it didn’t really do what the ‘19C’ intended it to do.”

Referenced internally by Monmouth faculty as document “19C,’ the 2008 Monmouth University Approved General Education Curriculum Reform detailed an outline for the intentions of First Year Seminar. 

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Celebrating Diversity through Hispanic Heritage

Celebrating DiversityMonmouth’s annual Hispanic Heritage Month’s opening ceremonies took place on in Anacon Hall, in the Rebecca Stafford Student Center on Wednesday, Sept. 25. 

The opening ceremony consisted of traditional music and dancing, that began outside the student center on teh patio, opening remarks, keynote speaker, and refreshments for students and faculty. 

In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Monmouth University is hosting a series of events to celebrate Hispanic heritage. 

Activities this month have included “Lift Mentoring Circle: Imposter Syndrome and Missing Home”; “Employees of Color Networking Event”; “Intercultural Trivia Tuesdays: Latinx History Trivia”; and a “Hispanic Heritage Month Display” in the library that will be available for viewing until mid-October.

Judith Remos, Assistant to the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences, who is part of the Committee that organized the event, spoke about the event’s benefits to students. “[Hispanic heritage month] helps the students, especially students of culture, feel like they belong and are included at the institution,” she said.

Monmouth holds the Hispanic heritage event annually, with a variety of guest speakers and artists, depending on their availability or who is working, Remos explained. 

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President Leahy on Drafting a New Strategic Plan

default article imagePresident Patrick Leahy, Ed.D., informed the student government of the formation of a new Strategic Plan for the University last Wednesday, Sept. 25.

Student-senators inquired about how the plan would address tuition, inclusion and safety on campus, and residential living. 

Following the session, The Outlook organized a one-on-one meeting with Leahy to inquire about the Strategic Plan’s role of administration, fiscal sustainability, and its approach to higher education.

The following is a series of questions and answers from that meeting, this Monday, Sept. 30: 

Would you support having more than just two students to serve on the Strategic Planning committee, as well as including students on committees where they are not currently represented by their peers at all?  

“Of course I would consider it; I think we were pretty deliberate about naming two students to the Strategic Plan committee. I think there’s only going to be about 10 or 12 members anyway so we thought it was proportional representation. But, I guess I would be open to it if the student government wants to make a recommendation.”

Would you say that we take a top-down approach to University operations and do you see yourself using this frame of mind as you begin to draft and implement your own Strategic Plan?

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IGU Makes a Return

default article imageThe Institute for Global Understanding (IGU) began as The Global Understanding Project (GUP) in late 2001 as a means for Monmouth faculty and administration to push discussion on global engagement for the campus and beyond. Lauded by faculty and students alike, the institute has undergone an unstable past few years after being slated for hiatus by former Monmouth President Paul R. Brown, Ph. D.

Over time, the institute evolved to host the Global Understanding Convention (GUC), facilitate a successful partnership with the United Nations, and create local programming such as Project BAM, a collaboration between IGU, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Monmouth and Middlesex counties, and Asbury Park High School.

Despite its success and popularity amongst students and faculty alike, the IGU was eventually put on an indefinite hiatus in 2015.

The mystery surrounding the suspension of the IGU has left many Monmouth community members dumbfounded, but new conversations have begun to stir regarding a possible revitalization of the institute.

Nancy Mezey, PhD., Founding Associate Director of the IGU had some thoughts regarding the abrupt hiatus of the institute.

“I believe what happened with the institute, was it being too under-resourced, and the faculty just couldn’t maintain it,” Mezey said. “When President Brown came into the university, he said he wanted a much bigger area of global education which was great and it's what we have now, but it seemed the administration could never really figure out where IGU fit into that plan.”

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Wilson Hosts Panel on Inequality

Wilson InequalityThe annual Conversation and Action series, which explored a range of social and policy issues related to gender inequality, began in Wilson Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 25. 

The two-day event consisted of a dynamic discussion that included diverse perspectives on a current topic of interest to feminist scholars and activists. The theme of this year’s event was Title IX, sexual assault, and college campuses. 

 Jack Ford, an award-winning journalist and former prosecutor, led the discussion.

Panelists included Wagatwe Wanjuki, feminist anti-violence activist, speaker, writer, and digital strategist; Andrew T. Miltenberg, Esq, veteran trial lawyer and due process advocate; Laura Luciano, victim advocate, Associate Director of the Office for Violence Prevention and Victim Assistance; Jordan Draper, Ph.D., Title IX Coordinator and Dean of Students, TCNJ; Jennifer McGovern, Ph.D., MU Assistant Professor of Sociology and NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative; Stephanie Wright, Assistant Director of Student Conduct, Rutgers and former Greek Life Leadership Coordinator, Montclair State University; and, Michael J. Rein, Deputy Chief of University Police, Institutional Planning and Operations and University Public Safety at Rutgers. 

Ford guided the discussion, proposing a hypothetical dilemma constructed from real-life cases of sexual assault and Title IX advocacy. He described a small college campus where a “clearly distraught” woman calls campus police and said, “I think I’ve been assaulted.” 

Rein described how his office at Rutgers would handle a report of assault. The police would try to respond to her location and ask if she was injured. When calm, they would pose tougher questions such as “Do you know who assaulted you? Do you remember any sights or smells?” 

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New Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations

New Director RelationsChris Hellstrom has appointed himself with the Monmouth University community as Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations in the Division of University Advancement.

Hellstrom’s new role will be to plan and accomplish the institutions fundraising program to solidify financial support from businesses. He will control the endowment and finance proposal that will enhance the University’s academic obligations and develop acknowledgment of company and principle sponsorship in conjunction with the Office of Grants and Contracts at the University.

Hellstrom is hoping in the first six months to identify 50 new funders interested in supporting Monmouth University and match them with some of the unique opportunities that Monmouth offers. He also believes this exciting time to start at Monmouth especially with a new president, Dr. Patrick Leahy, who has articulated the process for a new strategic vision for the future of the University. “We have a variety of priorities set by each dean, such as additional funding for our Visiting Writers series, resources for the SIM Lab for our Nursing Department, and support for our financial literacy programs. We have renowned centers of distinction including the Monmouth Polling Institute and the Urban Coast Institute and I will help to support the Institute for Global Understanding and the Institute of Health and Wellness as well as new programs and initiatives for data science and risk management and insurance,” he said.

A native of Colts Neck, New Jersey, Hellstrom earned his B.A. in psychology and his M.A. in political theory from CUNY, Staten Island, as well as a doctorate of Arts in English Literature from St. John’s University (NY).

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"Just Beach/After Sandy" Exhibition Debuts

Just Beach ExhibitionAn art exhibition titled “Just Beachy/After Sandy,” created by Karen Bright, MFA, a Professor of Art, and Amanda Stojanov, an Assistant Professor of Communication, is displayed in DiMattio Gallery located in Rechnitz Hall, where its opening reception took place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20. 

The exhibit is a public participatory art installment that highlights the effects of Hurricane Sandy and shares the stories of residents who were impacted. It consists of four parts: The Drying Station, Nine Feet High, The Climate Shelter, and The Transformer.

 Bright was inspired to make something that would bring people together to share their stories. “I kept hearing Sandy story after Sandy story and I felt that it was kind of forgotten on the national stage, and I felt that people had a lot to talk about even though it was 7 years ago.” 

Bright explained that she personally had questions like, ‘Why didn’t we have more warning time?’ and ‘Did the full moon have anything to do with it?’ Her work has been environmentally themed since the 80s. 

Bright’s “The Drying Station,” contains nearly a century of scientific data for natural phenomena such as high tide levels, wave heights, and wind speeds on the Jersey Shore. That information was interpreted and converted to graphics on beach towels, representative of measurements. 

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Debate Hawks Win at Binghamton

Debate Win BinghamtonThe Monmouth University Debate Hawks had two teams win playoff rounds against George Mason University at the Phyliss Schatz Invitational hosted by SUNY-Binghamton last weekend, Friday, Sept. 20 through Sunday, Sept. 22. 

The tournament included approximately 150 debaters from teams representing 14 universities including: Cornell University, George Mason University, New York University, the U.S. Naval Academy, West Point Military Academy, West Virginia University, Liberty University, University of Rochester, Rutgers, and the New School, among others.  

Two Monmouth teams made it into the playoff rounds on Sunday after competing in six rounds of competition, before defeating two George Mason University teams in the first playoff round: MacKenzie Ricca, a junior political science student, and Matthew Gruhler, a senior political science student; and Payton Collander, a junior criminal justice student, and Anthony Cendagorta, a sophomore sociology student.

After their victories in the playoff rounds, the teams of Ricca and Gruhler, and Collander and Cendagorta went on to debate West Point and Liberty University, respectively, both losing by close margins. The two teams received awards for scoring playoff victories, and were recognized at the award ceremony Sunday afternoon.

“I have been debating since last year, and SUNY-Binghamton was my fourth tournament,” said Gruhler. “This was Mackenzie’s first but at the tournament, she seemed like a seasoned vet due to her sheer determination to practice as much as possible.”

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Study Abroad Fair

Students International ProgramsThe annual Study Abroad Fair, which informs students of global University-sponsored educational programs, was held on the Rebecca Stafford Student Center Patio on Wednesday, Sept. 18. 

Monmouth currently offers five semester-long programs, that were all represented at the event:  London, England at Regent’s University London; Sydney, Australia at Macquarie University; and/or Florence, Italy (offered in fall only) at Lorenzo de Medici; at the Study Abroad Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina; or with the European Study Center in Heidelberg, Germany.

Students are required to take six credits during the semester programs and can fulfill a six-credit GU/CD requirement in the Cádiz, Spain program and the Experiential Education Requirement during both summer programs.

International Studies Abroad (ISA), the global learning-service company that Monmouth partners with for their study abroad program in Buenos Aires, Argentina, was also offering internships abroad. Chris Pennebaker, Associate Director of Internships, said, “We’re highlighting two different options this year: Buenos Aires and internships abroad for students in any career field.” 

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Monmouth Holds Climate Crisis Teach-In

Monmouth Climate CrisisThe Climate Crisis Teach-In, which allowed students and faculty to ask questions and observe professional lectures regarding the state of climate change, took place within Wilson Hall on Friday, Sept. 20.

Nine speakers presented over a three and a half hour period, relating the issue of climate change to multiple topics ranging from the crisis’ impact on plant communities to real estate. The presenters represented different fields of expertise, including science, sociology, ecology and business. 

The Teach-In was live-streamed throughout the entirety of its program, and a light vegetarian lunch was served during brief intermissions between speakers.

Kayla C. Lewis, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor of Physics, gave a lecture, entitled, “Why Climate Models are Trustworthy.” Lewis discussed the accuracy of climate models created decades ago, and how these models reflected a future remarkably similar to the present we live today. 

“The model is not some simple thing,” Lewis explained. “It’s this complicated set of equations describing what's going to happen all over the world. These models did a good job of predicting what would happen in the past. That gives us confidence that they would do a good job predicting what would happen in the future.”

Every lecture was followed by a 10 minute Q&A period for conference attendees before a transition from one speaker to the next. 

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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