Dear Members of the Monmouth University Community:
We, the president and vice presidents of Monmouth University, recognize that People of Color at all levels of the campus including students, faculty members, and staff colleagues have experienced both interpersonal and institutional racism on our campus. While there are no simple answers to systemic and long-term marginalization that are present in our community, we know that we must be clear about what we value, what we will invest in, and what we are committed to addressing as a university.
As the senior leadership team, we are committed to:
- Ensuring that we become an anti-racist institution.
- Committing both to our own unlearning and to the development of an anti-racist lens both as individuals and as University leaders.
- Focusing on increasing the representation of historically underrepresented minorities at all levels of the University, with special attention to the recruitment of underrepresented faculty members and staff colleagues.
- Investing in the support structures at the University that lend themselves to the retention of historically underrepresented students, faculty members, and staff colleagues.
- Encouraging decentralized anti-racist and anti-oppressive action plans through the current university strategic planning process so that departments on campus can identify aligned and tangible action steps across every corner of the University.
We know that actions speak far more loudly than words, and the statements above will only be true when they are felt by all members of our campus and seen through our collective actions. To that end, we have been in conversation with current students, faculty members, staff colleagues, and alumni to identify initiatives that will help address our most pressing and long-term needs.
Some initiatives that have been completed or recently set in motion include:
- Naming of Dr. Zaneta Rago-Craft to serve as Advisor to the President on Diversity & Inclusion, ensuring that her voice is embedded in University decision making both as a direct report to the President and as a full member of the University Cabinet. Dr. Rago-Craft will continue in her role as Director of the Intercultural Center.
- Completion of a University climate/culture study to ensure that actions regarding improving our culture can be informed henceforth by the best available data, committing to updating this study every three years.
- Creation of a crowd-sourced resource repository via the library website to help all members of the University to better understand race, racism, antiracism, and equity: https://guides.monmouth.edu/RaceRacismPolicing.
- Review of currently available information regarding bias incident definitions, reporting methods, and investigation processes in order to identify more accessible pathways of reporting and more student-centered awareness regarding the protocols in place.
- Inclusion of implicit bias and microaggression training within the first-year transition program for incoming students.
In addition, the senior leadership team will continue to seek the counsel of our campus community by hosting listening sessions with all interested members of the Monmouth community. Called Moments at Monmouth, these sessions will allow us to understand better the experiences and challenges of our students, our faculty members, and our staff colleagues.
The senior leadership team will continue to collect ideas and develop intermediate- and long-term strategies surrounding: representative recruitment, equity hiring, curriculum, mentoring/support services, co-curricular programming, capital investments, training, and financial aid. These strategies – and plans to achieve them – will be included in the strategic planning process that will continue in earnest this fall and, when finished, will govern our University efforts for the next five years.
Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, President
Dr. Rekha Datta, Interim Senior Vice President & Provost
Dr. Edward Christensen, Vice President for Information Management
John Christopher, Vice President and General Counsel
William Craig, Vice President for Finance
Dr. Robert McCaig, Vice President for Enrollment Management
Dr. Marilyn McNeil, Vice President and Director of Athletics
Jonathan Meer, Vice President for University Advancement
Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement