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2018 Spring Commencement Speakers Announced

Commencement Speakers 1The speakers at this year’s graduate and undergraduate commencements have been announced.

According to a statement released by President Grey Dimenna, Esq., Jimmy Jam Harris will speak at the undergraduate ceremony, which will be held on Wednesday, May 9, at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ.

Moleen Madziva will speak at the graduate ceremony, which will be held in the OceanFirst Bank Center on campus on May 10.

“We are especially glad to welcome two very accomplished speakers to our undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies this year,” said Dimenna. 

Harris, often known just “Jimmy Jam,” is a world-renowned musician, songwriter, and producer who has jointly written or produced 16 Billboard number-one hits and 26 R&B number one hit songs, according to the statement. Harris will also receive an honorary degree at the ceremony.

Harris is also a board member at the Grammy Museum, an affiliate of Monmouth University.

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Commencement Requirement Questioned

Strict Requirements; Lack of Winter Commencement Lead to Graduation Troubles


Commencement Requirement QuestionedSome University students are questioning a policy that keeps students from walking at spring commencement if they are registered to finish their degree during the summer. 

According to a USA Today article published in 2015, the majority of colleges and universities allow for seniors who have six or less credits remaining to complete their degree to walk at their spring graduations if they were registered to finish their degree in the summer.

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, said that the University once had a policy allowing for those finishing their degree in the summer to walk at the spring graduation; however, it was revoked once an analysis found that many of those who walked were not finishing their degrees. 

According to Nagy, the number of students who did not finish their degree was “in the double digits” and she approximated it at around 15 percent. 

“A significant number of students who participated in commencement didn’t ever actually complete their degree,” Nagy explained. “They would say, ‘Well, I went to commencement.’ Commencement is the ceremonial celebration of a degree, but the completion of your degree is the completion of your degree. They’re two separate and distinct things.” 

“To us, that seemed very high, and it suggested to us from an academic rigor and integrity perspective that we needed to close the gap, so the rule became that you had to be finished to participate in commencement,” Nagy continued.

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Meal Swipe Fraud Leads to Investigation

Students Who Abused Meal Swipes Face Punishments Under the University Code of Conduct


Meal Swipe FraudAt least 24 students have been found fraudulently using meal plans, leading to disciplinary action against those involved. 

According to Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, students have been making copies of bar codes and attaching them to their own identification cards. The forgeries have cost Gourmet Dining Services approximately $30,000, according to an anonymous source with knowledge of the situation. 

Nagy declined to mention specific students, demographics, or details, as the students who have been caught abusing their meal plans are still being sentenced under the University’s Code of Conduct. However, she did explain the general situation. 

“At some point during the spring semester Gourmet Dining had a situation where a student came over to the dining hall and the cashier noticed something off about the ID0 card,” Nagy said, explaining how the situation was first discovered. “What they found was that, in essence, someone had made a copy of the bar code and taken that bar code.” 

“The process is still ongoing in that the investigation itself is complete, the students have been charged under the Code of Conduct, and they’re in various states through that process,” Nagy said. “They’ve had their meetings, decisions are now being made.” 

Gourmet Dining declined to comment on the situation, with the Resident District Manager Chris Ryerson stating that he was not able to discuss the situation or any financial impact that could be had. 

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Burst Pipe Leads to Early-Morning Flooding in Thomas A. Edison Hall

Edison Hall FloodingAn improperly installed copper pipe burst in the recently-renovated Thomas A. Edison Hall at 8:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 11, allowing water to flow from the third floor to the first floor, according to Patti Swannack, the Vice President for Administrative Services.

“The only area that suffered damage and was unusable was the atrium,” said Swannack as she discussed the scope of the damage.

“Some of the classes were moved," Swannack continued. "Some of the classes, if not impacted, continued as scheduled. The classes north and south, e.g. Howard Hall and the northern classrooms and labs, were not affected.”

According to a statement by William Schreiber, Ph.D., Chair of the Chemistry and Physics Department, the pipe that burst was located over a physical and inorganic chemistry lab on the third floor. A lab bench holding computer and specific optical spectroscopy equipment did have water land on it; the computers were not damaged but “it will take a few days to determine the condition of the other equipment.”

Schreiber’s statement also explained that biology labs on the first level had been damaged. However, he said that damage to the building “did not appear to be great.”

“We will be opening the building [Thursday] morning,” said Swannack. “We have tested the lighting, the fire alarm system, removed the wet ceiling, installed dryers and dehumidifiers, and cleaned the furniture, floors, and counter tops.”

PHOTO TAKEN by Mehdi Husaini

Anti-Racism Rally Held on Campus

Anti Racism Rally 2018Graduate students from the Educational Counseling and Leadership program at Monmouth University held an Anti-Racism rally on April 4 to bring awareness to campus about the need for tolerance.

The date itself was symbolic for their cause because it was also the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. King is considered one of the founding fathers of the equality movement, so it was only fitting that the rally’s date hold a connection to him. Originally the rally was set to be held in front of the 9/11 memorial, but weather led to the rally being relocated to Anacon Hall and the halls of the Rebecca Stafford Student Center.

“The goal is to raise anti-racism awareness and one way was to support the initiative of a Multicultural Center that was already in progress by Dr. Nicolle Parsons-Pollard,” explains Vanessa Bernal, one of the graduate students leading the rally. “Other future goals of this project are to support a more diverse enrollment within Monmouth University, provide students with a solution to barriers, and create a culture of equity within the University.”

At the event, students had the opportunity to sign a petition supporting both the Multicultural Center and anti-racism, with the hope to get 1,000 signatures before the end of the semester. As students signed the petition they were given black-and-white ribbons. The ribbons symbolize a solidarity of all races.

Students leading this crusade were encouraged to create an innovative campaign for their Advanced Topics in Race and Racism class. Their semester-long efforts formed the Anti-Racism Advocacy Project (AAP). 

In order to get the project off the ground, eight groups were created that had their own objectives to achieve: Leadership, Outreach, Research, Social Media, Website, Creative, Proofreading/Editing, and PowerPoint.

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Graduate Student Appreciation Week Held

default article imageMonmouth University is celebrating Graduate Student Appreciation Week from April 7 to April 17. 

Darrell Peterson, Associate Vice Provost of Graduate Student Services, and Erica Turtz, his graduate assistant, are responsible for organizing the week-long event. According to Turtz the events that will take place include Grads Give Back, Wellness Day Professional Headshot Photos, Graduate Assistant Reception, Grab & Go Giveaway, Happy Hour, Escape the Puzzle, and De-Stress for Success.  

“We understand that graduate students are very busy, so we wanted to maximize the number of students who would be able to participate by offering a variety of opportunities,” said Peterson.

Grads Give Back took place on April 7 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Lunch Break, a non-profit soup kitchen, food pantry, and clothing donation center in Red Bank. “A group of graduate students (and myself and Darrell) will be volunteering at Lunch Break,” said Turtz. “We may be asked to prepare food, wash dishes, clean tables, shelve food in pantries, and organize clothing.”

On April 8, students participated in Wellness Day at the Graduate Center, which ran from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and was sponsored by the Counseling Student Association. Alanna Cosgrove, the treasurer for the organization, was responsible for organizing the event. According to Cosgrove, the schedule included yoga, chakra bowls, lunch, massage/Reiki, Infinite Possibilities training, and essential oils teaching. 

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Rebecca Stafford Student Center Food Court Closed Due to Water Main Break

Water Main Break in Student Center Repaired by Independent Contractor


Student Center Water Main BreakThe Rebecca Stafford Student Center had a water main break on Wednesday, April 4, which resulted in the facility losing water and food services until Thursday afternoon. 

“The water leak was discovered by Facilities Management employees during the course of their work [on Wednesday]. We were very lucky that they found it before there was major damage,” said Patricia Swannack, Vice President for Administrative Services, “The leak occurred in a vertical pipe that was approximately three feet below concrete.” 

Swannack described how the leak had to be located by breaking up the layers of concrete around the water pipe with the use of jackhammers. The pipe broke at a seam where it had been originally welded to another one over time, while the concrete that had been installed around it, making locating the leak a time-consuming process. Water to the building was shut off at about 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday to prevent damage.

Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement Mary Anne Nagy said that the dining facilities were shut down at about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday night to allow for campus personnel to start repair work. 

“We called in Farrell Construction who has worked on several projects on campus, including the Science Building,” said Swannack. According to her, the amount of concrete surrounding the broken pipe required the use of specialized equipment that the University does not have, meaning that the external contracting company was needed. “We knew that they had larger equipment which we thought would be needed to perform the repair. They responded immediately. They worked until approximately 1:00 a.m. with our in-house plumber and returned at 7:00 a.m. to complete the repair.” 

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Textbook by Vice Provost Second-Most Used Nationwide

default article imageVice Provost for Graduate Studies and Professor of Biology Michael Palladino, Ph.D., is a part of a team of authors that published the twelfth edition of Concepts of Genetics in January 2018.

The book is used in over 250 different American colleges and universities every year, including Monmouth University, making it the second leading textbook in the field of genetics at the undergraduate level. According to Palladino, it is only surpassed in use by one authored by a Nobel Prize laureate.

Palladino was part of a co-authorship team that included lead author William S. Klug, Ph.D., of The College of New  Jersey (TCNJ), Michael Cummings, Ph.D., from the Illinois Institute of Technology, Charlotte Spencer, Ph.D., from the University of Alberta, and Darrell Killian, Ph.D., of Colorado College. The textbook has been in publication since 1983 and Palladino has been contributing since the ninth edition of the text.

“Each of us [on the authorship team] works on different areas of expertise because it simply isn’t possible for any one person to stay current in all topics of genetics,” explained Palladino. “Almost every chapter has overlapping content from each of us and so one of the elements of textbook writing I love is collaborating with my co-authors.”

“Writing a textbook is a completely different beast from writing a primary research article or even a review article because you have to have a really broad sense of where the field is at,” said Cathryn Kubera, Ph.D. She stressed that textbook writing necessitates familiarity with new research and its implications for the field as a whole, while also requiring an author to be able to present the information in a way that makes it useful for learning. 

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Student Employee Appreciation Week 04-11-18

The Office of Academic Foundations – General Education would like to recognize our student employees: Adrianna, Samantha, Ashley, Hooria, and Aleiana for their contributions of positive attitude, willingness, enthusiasm, creativity, and team work in enhancing our office. Thank you for being a part of the AFG Team! Grateful - Dr. Nye, Bea, and Kristina


Administrative Services & Facilities Management Student Employees:

Thank you for the effort and dedication you provide to support our division. Your assistance is greatly appreciated each and every day. Thank you for all you do!

Becaj, Anisa

Bishop, McKenzie

Calderone, Frank

Castillo, Jason

Catano, Pablo

Cespedes, Danisha

Cirigliano, Nicole

Diaz, Ivana

Donahue, Christopher

Dreisbach, Brenda

Galvez, Emelyn

Giraldo Llano, Amalia

Kearney, John

Mali, Andie

Marino, Dominic

Morris, Nicholas

Napoli, Erica

Orzechowski, Kassidy

Padron, Hanah

Prestano, Nicole

Zarate, Johanna

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132 Employers Featured at Annual Career Fair

132 Different Organizations Represented at 2018 Career Fair


MU Career Fair 2018The annual spring career fair hosted a record 132 organizations in the OceanFirst Bank Center.

Students and alumni were both in attendence at the April 4 event, which was open to all years and majors and included businesses from a range of career fields.

The Career Services Department hosted a wide array of organizations and businesses including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Freedom Mortgage Corporation, Sunrise Senior Living, and many other companies. 

Students were able to peruse different tables and displays for each organization and speak with their corresponding representatives about a potential future with their company. Many students in attendance wore business professional clothing and distributed resumes and business cards.

Michael Thomas, Associate Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Director of the Visiting Writer Series, said, “This event is always successful, especially when the students who come in have a specific idea of who they are and what their goals are.”    

Hayley Bray, a senior health studies student, said, “I really enjoyed the event. It is something I planned on attending and didn’t really know what I was going into. I’ve heard of and have seen the event before, but, I ended up walking out with a number of employers I got to connect and network with.”

“I walked away with a lot more than I thought I would have. I got to meet companies I genuinely don’t think I would have met otherwise, or even if I had, I wouldn’t have been as prepared as I was when I walked into the event,” Bray continued.

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Out-of-Date Software Leads to Student Deferment at University Blood Drive

CJBC Software Update Was Delayed Due to Potential Merger


Student Deferment MU Blood DriveMore than two years after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) guidelines were changed to become more welcoming towards lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) donors, particularly gay men, the Central Jersey Blood Center (CJBC) has not updated their systems to allow for such donations, leading to the denial of a Monmouth University student during their on-campus blood drive on April 2. 

In 1983, a ban on blood donations on who the FDA and Red Cross refer to as “men who have sex with men (MSM)” was enacted, indefinitely banning men who had had a same-sex encounter due to concerns surrounding the spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. On December 21, 2015, the guidelines were changed to instead only require MSM donors to have been celibate for one year rather than their entire life. According to the Red Cross, “All U.S. blood collection organizations must follow this federal requirement.” 

However, according to a University student who wishes to remain anonymous and attempted to participate in the blood drive on campus, he was not allowed to donate despite meeting current criteria because CJBC has not updated their system to reflect the new guidelines.  

According to the student he went to the blood drive and filled out the pre-donation questionnaire where he found the outdated question, which asks if the donor has had sexual encounters with a male from 1977 to the current year. He answered yes, since his most recent such encounter had been approximately two years ago, within the eligibility standard for current guidelines. 

A staff member at the blood drive reviewed his answers and asked when the encounter was; after explaining the time frame of events, the staff member went to ask another organizer and then returned saying he was ineligible to donate. 

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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