Dear Members of the Monmouth University Community:
Our community is experiencing grief, confusion, heartbreak, and anger in light of George Floyd’s death. This incident comes on the heels of the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, as well as the racial harassment of Christian Cooper closer to home. All of this has occurred during a time of great loss, anxiety, and uncertainty brought on by an unprecedented pandemic. During these challenging times, I am certain of this: the Monmouth University community stands in solidarity for racial equality and equity.
While our university has – by no means – met our goals for diversity and inclusion, we will never stop striving to build a genuinely fair, just, and supportive community for all of our students. This commitment cannot just consist of rhetoric, but must also be seen in our individual and collective actions. As an institution, we have taken several steps over the past few years towards fulfilling this commitment. Under the leadership of the President’s Advisory Council for Diversity and Inclusion, we have developed the Intercultural Center that has been tasked with creating a more inclusive campus community for all students, faculty, and staff. The Intercultural Center has already led the expansion of diversity programming and training across the campus. And, in my first year as president, I have commissioned a university-wide culture study to help inform needed changes in the years to come. I am also proud to announce that the class of 2024 is our most racially diverse incoming class in university history. We certainly have more work to do, but we are actively making choices to strengthen our commitment to diversity, integrating excellence and access at all levels of the university.
As individuals, we must also make a commitment to step out of our comfort zones and seek understanding across lines of difference. If you are a student who is unsure where to begin, we are fortunate to offer an outstanding education that includes incredible faculty skilled at facilitating critical learning opportunities. I encourage all members of our university to come together as a community, to check in with your peers most impacted by these injustices as allies and not shy away from difficult dialogues, and to continue to build an intellectual community of care, compassion, and inclusion. For any member of the Monmouth University community who is understandably struggling with recent events, I want to remind you that Counseling and Psychological Services is a continually available resource.
Please join me in recommitting Monmouth University to developing a diverse and inclusive community that can be a model for others throughout our region and around the country. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Dr. Zaneta Rago-Craft, Director of the Intercultural Center, at email@example.com;
Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, President