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Fall Reopening Announcement

Dear Monmouth University Community:

With the first day of classes now less than a month away, our team has been preparing extensively for a safe start to the academic year. While we are all looking forward to welcoming students back to campus life, the most recent guidance from the State of New Jersey requires that we adjust our reopening plan to comply with the State’s Stage 2 guidelines. Although we were all hoping for a Stage 3 reopening, Stage 2 offers a safe, incremental pathway for our return to campus, as well as a smooth transition to Stage 3 operations, when permitted by the State.

A Stage 2 reopening plan will affect the student experience in three principal ways:  

Academic Instruction & Support. Under Stage 2 guidelines, the majority of instruction will be online, with exceptions for in-person delivery of coursework that requires labs, clinical, or hands-on instruction, which cannot be readily taught other than in-person. Individual student course schedules will be updated by Thursday, August 13, at the latest. Anticipating the possibility of such an outcome, and to ensure high quality remote delivery, our faculty have been engaged throughout the summer in online instruction preparation focusing on student learners and their academic success. In order to preserve the personalized attention that remains a hallmark of a Monmouth education, many of our classes will be smaller than usual, with our fall undergraduate classes averaging just 18 students per class.

In addition, we have invested significantly in enhanced audio-visual instructional technology to support our faculty in offering interactive and engaging lectures, small group interaction, and active learning through a variety of remote instruction learning platforms such as virtual classrooms and breakout rooms through eCampus, Zoom, and other platforms. Just as in an in-person environment, students will have full opportunity to approach, communicate, and meet with their professors for advising appointments, drop-in consultations, feedback sessions, and office hours. Most of this will be possible remotely and with in-person opportunities as they become available. In an effort to maintain consistency in our learning environment, to provide certainty for students, and to ensure the highest-quality academic experience, Stage 2 guidelines for instruction will continue to apply throughout the fall semester.

All academic support services through the Center for Student Success – including advising, tutoring, and career services – will remain available throughout the semester in a combination of in-person and virtual sessions, which students can access at any time. Department chairs and advisors will be working with students to assist them with their fall schedule and to answer any academic and schedule-related questions. Students will also have access to the library, and we are working on providing additional study spaces around campus for students to safely do their remote course work.

Residential & Campus Life. In a Stage 2 reopening, students are welcome – if they choose – to reside with us in on-campus housing, subject to safety constraints like face-covering protocols, limitations on visitations among residence halls, restrictions on the use of common areas, and other social-distancing measures. Even in Stage 2, we remain committed to delivering a highly personalized education for all our students and understand that engagement outside of the classroom is critical to a meaningful undergraduate experience. Although conditions will be different, students will continue to live independently, participate in clubs and activities, study at the library, and explore new interests—all within walking distance of the beach.

The experience may be different this year, but we fully expect our 117 clubs and organizations to be as active as ever. And, while intercollegiate competition has been canceled for the fall, student-athletes will be permitted to continue their training and development under the supervision of their coaches. In addition, the Offices of Health Services, Disability Services, and Counseling & Psychological Services will be fully operational throughout the course of the semester to support students both in person and remotely.

If, during the course of the fall semester, the State moves to Stage 3, the campus will reopen even more as State-mandated constraints are relaxed. Housing assignments for all students will remain secure for the duration of the academic year, so students will not lose their reserved spaces if they decide not to join us in campus housing this fall. If students choose to return to campus housing in Stage 3, we, of course, will charge students only the pro-rata share of the housing and dining contracts through the end of the semester.  

Whether students choose to live on campus this fall or not, the full suite of student activities and support services will be available to all students, and we will adjust in-person or remote delivery to accommodate the specific needs of individual students.

Dining. In Stage 2, full dining plans will remain available but will be limited to “grab-and-go” options only. Indoor communal dining is not permitted. However, we will make attractive outdoor seating options more readily available in various locations. If the State moves into Stage 3, we will expand our dining operation accordingly to provide safe and physically distanced indoor dining spaces.

In addition, allow me to share some additional information regarding the fall semester:

Travel Quarantine. All students traveling to Monmouth University from one of the 35 states on New Jersey’s travel advisory list must quarantine in-state for 14 days prior to their arrival on campus. Residential students will be accommodated with an early arrival to satisfy their quarantine requirement. In addition, the University can offer quarantine space for students residing off campus on a limited basis. Please contact Dr. Jim Pillar, Associate Vice President for Student Life, at jpillar@monmouth.edu to make arrangements.  

Billing Due Date. In order to ensure that students and their families have complete information available to them before finalizing their billing, we have extended our bill payment deadline to August 19. Additionally, I want to remind students and their families that full refunds for housing are available right up until the day before your scheduled move-in date, and tuition and fees are fully refundable through September 15, one week after the start of classes.

Additional Information. Tonight I will be hosting open calls with incoming and returning students and families to discuss these changes in more detail and to answer any questions regarding our fall opening. Although the 7pm call is now filled, there is plenty of room in the 8:30pm call. Details, including the links to register for the sessions, have been sent in separate communications. If you have questions of any kind in advance of or following that call, please feel free to reach out to us at FallRestart@monmouth.edu. As usual, our team stands ready to assist you in any way possible.  

No matter what challenges lay ahead, Monmouth is a community built on resilience and determination, as evident in the success of our graduates. Since our founding during the depths of the Great Depression, and throughout every subsequent challenge, the ability to overcome adversity has propelled Monmouth forward to ever greater levels of excellence. I am excited to begin the new semester and am eager to welcome the most diverse – and most academically prepared – incoming class of students in Monmouth’s history.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we navigate these challenging times together.

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Fall Reopening Open Call Invitation

Dear Students:

Greetings from Monmouth University! I hope you are well and are enjoying the summer, at least as much as possible during these challenging times.

As I mentioned in my message on July 8, our plan to return to campus in the fall will include a combination of in-person instruction, online courses, and hybrid course delivery. We have been working diligently in recent weeks to adjust our academic schedule to ensure compliance with the health and safety standards set by the State of New Jersey while delivering the best possible academic and campus life experience for our students. We continue to work on the schedule and expect all course assignments to be finalized by this Friday, July 31.

As we approach the finalization of the schedule, we have received many notes, calls, and questions. A few of the more frequently asked questions appear below.

  • Course Delivery. Questions have arisen about the number of classes that have shifted from in-person to hybrid and online delivery. While the course schedule will not be finalized until July 31, we do expect more online classes than initially anticipated as a result of the recent national surge of COVID-19 cases. We are actively exploring safe ways to offer additional opportunities for in-person learning, consistent with New Jersey State guidelines. In an effort to reduce confusion, someone from the University will contact you beginning the week of August 3 to help you understand your schedule and assist in answering any questions you may have. Our goal is to offer as much flexibility as possible to help students toward their preferred academic pathway this fall.
  • Housing. Questions have emerged about housing deposits and contracts. If you planned to live on campus this fall and for any reason change your mind, we will gladly refund your housing deposit and any payments towards room and board right up until the day before your scheduled move-in. And, if you request, we will guarantee your housing for the spring semester, in the same location and with the same roommate (as long as the roommate agrees).
  • Tuition Payments. While the initial tuition payment due date is mid-August, please know that tuition payments for the Fall 2020 semester will be fully refundable through the drop/add period that ends on September 15.

To add further clarity, I will be hosting two open calls next week for incoming and returning students to talk about the path forward and to answer your questions. Incoming students and their families are invited to join me on Wednesday, August 5, at 7 p.m. I will host a separate session for returning students and their families on Thursday, August 6, at 7 p.m.

Registration and log-in details for your call will be sent to you early next week.

I will ask Dr. Rekha Datta, Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Robert McCaig, Vice President for Enrollment Management, and Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, to join the call, too.

If you have any additional questions in the meantime, please feel free to reach out to us at FallRestart@monmouth.edu. My team members and I stand ready to answer your questions as quickly as possible. Again, thank you for your patience as we navigate these challenging times. We look forward to welcoming you back to Monmouth – one way or another – this fall.

Dr. Patrick Leahy

President

Important Administrative Update

Dear Colleagues: 

As you may recall from a previous message to the campus community, Jonathan Meer will be stepping into his new role as the lead development officer for the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music on August 1st. In his place I elected to conduct an internal-only search for an Interim Vice President for Advancement. I envision this person leading the division for the next year while we navigate the many challenges facing the University through this public health crisis. 

The search process is now complete, and I am pleased to announce that Amanda Klaus has accepted the offer of Interim Vice President for University Advancement, beginning August 1, 2020.  

Amanda was selected from a talented pool of internal candidates and is very well-positioned for this important job, which includes leading our efforts around development, alumni relations, stewardship, and community relations. She will also serve as a key member of the President’s Cabinet and as the chief liaison to multiple subcommittees of our Board of Trustees.

As a proud alumna and member of the University Advancement team, Amanda most recently served as the Executive Director for Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving.  During her tenure, she has set goals, strategies, and objectives for engaging our 58,000 alumni network through print and digital communications, events, volunteer opportunities, and personal solicitations, while modernizing the University’s annual giving program.  Her key contributions include the development of the Hawk Network, the Crowdfunding platform, the launch of the Senior Class Giving Campaign, management of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, and securing a seven-figure gift from decorated alumna, Linda Deutsch ’65 in support of student scholarships.  Previously Amanda served as the major gift officer for the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences, securing over $1M in gifts and pledges, aiding in the development of the Dean’s Advisory Council, and helping to identify several  members of the Board of Trustees. 

Amanda’s passion for – and dedication to –  Monmouth extends beyond her work in University Advancement. She has served as co-advisor to the Student Government Association, advisor for the Global Experience Program Trip to Haiti, lead administrator for the President’s Relief Fund, and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.  As a result, she was named the most recent recipient of the Stafford Presidential Award of Excellence.

Prior to Monmouth, Amanda worked in development at the Hospital for Special Surgery and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

I want to thank the members of the internal search committee – Mary Anne Nagy, Robyn Salvo, Jon Roos, and Joe Patten – for their efforts in conducting this search and in identifying such a talented lead candidate.

Please join me in congratulating Amanda on her new position. 

Sincerely,

Pat

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Anti-Racism Commitment

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

Fall 2020 Restart

Dear Members of the Monmouth University Community:

Since early April, members of our Fall Task Forces, drawn from every area of the University, have been developing plans for a variety of scenarios in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. All along, our goal has been to ensure that we can continue to deliver an outstanding education while protecting the health and safety of all members of the University community. These are unprecedented times, and I have greatly appreciated your patience and goodwill as we have managed through them.

At this time, I am pleased to share with you Monmouth University’s plan to return to campus in the fall in a significantly modified in-person format, which includes a combination of in-person instruction, online courses, and hybrid course delivery. This plan allows us the flexibility to prioritize the health and safety of our University community while delivering the best possible academic and campus life experience for our students. The various components of this reopening plan meet – in many cases, exceed – all guidelines issued by the State of New Jersey, which are among the most stringent public health guidelines for higher education in the nation. The full plan and related details will soon be available on our University website, but I’d like to outline some key details here.

General Safeguarding, Screening, and Testing. General health and safety will be a shared commitment between the University and each individual student, faculty member, or staff colleague. A COVID-19 orientation will be required for all members of the University community prior to the start of the fall semester. Masks or other face coverings will be required inside buildings, including in all classrooms, labs, and dining spaces. Individuals may remove their masks outside only when social distancing is possible; otherwise, masks or face coverings must be worn.  Students may remove their masks once safely inside their individual residence hall rooms, but masks are required in all common areas. Hand sanitizers will be readily available in every building, and we will implement enhanced sanitation protocols, including more frequent cleaning of bathrooms, common areas, and classrooms. All students, faculty, and staff will be required to complete a daily questionnaire to identify possible COVID-19 symptoms. Students may be asked to display evidence of having completed the questionnaire prior to entry into the classroom and other designated areas on campus. In addition, temperature checks will be required in order to gain access to certain high-traffic areas, such as Magill Commons, the Guggenheim Library, the Ocean First Bank Center, and the Great Hall. Testing will be readily available by appointment through Health Services for all students who display symptoms of COVID-19 or who have had a direct contact with a known positive COVID-19 person. Students will be required to self-quarantine until the test results are available. Additionally, a 14-day isolation period is required for all individuals who test positive. Students who live within 100 miles of the campus will be encouraged to return home for the quarantine/isolation period. Otherwise, a separate residence hall on the campus will be available to house students in quarantine/isolation.

Academic Calendar. At this point, we will proceed with our planned fall calendar — opening on Tuesday, September 8, and concluding on Tuesday, December 22. We understand that many institutions have already elected to close their campuses at the Thanksgiving holiday. We, of course, will consider such action, if necessary, but we will reserve making a decision on that until November 1 so that it may be informed by the best public health information available at the time. If we send students home at Thanksgiving and complete the semester wholly online, we will refund any unused room and meal plan costs for the remainder of the semester, just as we did during the spring semester.

Instruction, Academic Support, and Internships/Clinicals. Academic instruction and support for the fall semester will include a mix of in-person, hybrid, and online coursework. This mix of delivery methods offers increased flexibility for students, enhanced health and safety protocols for all members of our community, and as much accommodation as possible for socially distanced classes on campus. We have offered training in online delivery to our faculty – including through our Summer Online Academy – to enhance faculty expertise in delivering content remotely. The flexible grading policy from the spring and summer sessions will continue in the fall as a way to support our students through this unsettling time of their academic journeys. The final course schedule will be available by July 31, allowing students to understand fully their learning modalities in advance of the start of the fall semester and providing plenty of opportunity to switch courses, if desired. The Guggenheim Memorial Library and various computer labs will be open and operational, but they will be subject to the same social distancing and capacity limitations as all other buildings on campus. Fall internships and clinical fieldwork will be available upon approval by the student’s faculty advisor and site supervisor. Study Abroad programming will be canceled for the fall semester.

Student Services. All student resources available through the Center for Student Success (including advising and tutoring), Health Services, Disability Services, and Counseling & Psychological Services will be accessible to students through a mix of in-person and remote access.

On-Campus Residential Housing & Dining. We will honor all housing contracts for the fall semester. Students may continue to live together in our residence halls, subject to social distancing guidelines and enhanced cleaning protocols. Consistent with our general safeguarding guidelines, masks or other face coverings will be required in the residence halls at all times, except in a student’s room. Unfortunately, all public lounges in the residence halls will be closed, and no guests or visitors from other residence halls will be permitted, consistent with New Jersey state guidelines. Dining services will be available to all students, featuring a new mobile ordering app that enables students to order their meals in advance. Meals will be ready for takeout, with additional outdoor space available where students can sit and eat. Indoor seating will be available, subject to strict social distancing protocols.

Athletics & Extracurricular Activities. The State of New Jersey has advised colleges and universities to adhere to NCAA and athletic conference guidelines to manage athletic competition. As such, fall athletics at Monmouth are scheduled to compete, consistent with extensive healthcare regulations and competition modifications. Club and intramural sports can continue to compete, subject to strict social distancing requirements and other safety protocols. Other student organizations are free to meet, but they will feature a mix of socially distanced in-person gatherings and remote online meetings.

Events & Visitors. Planned campus events and activities are subject to the prevailing public health guidance. As such, it is unlikely that large-scale events such as Homecoming, the Career Fair, and Family Weekend will go on as scheduled, but we will make final determinations on if or how these activities will take place as we get closer to the scheduled dates. We will significantly curtail the number of visitors to campus and will require all visitors to submit the COVID-19 health questionnaire and comply with campus safety protocols.

Throughout this pandemic, our decisions have beengrounded in public health considerations and directives from local, state, and federal government. At present, the State of New Jersey sits in Stage 2 of Governor Murphy’s reopening plan. All of our plans are contingent upon the State moving safely to Stage 3. Our plan reflects the best available guidance for safely re-opening our campus, and we will continue to act and respond in the context of this emerging guidance. If anything should change here in the State of New Jersey – for example, if we cannot move from Stage 2 to Stage 3 and need to continue remote instruction – we will notify you as soon as possible.

As we move forward together, we will rely upon Monmouth University’s core values, which prioritize a safe learning environment and mutual respect for each member of our community. Successful implementation of our plan is dependent on each one of us accepting the shared responsibility to keep the University community safe and healthy through our individual actions. I thank you in advance for your commitment to each other.

Please be on the lookout for additional information throughout the summer. If you have questions, please feel free to email us at FallRestart@monmouth.edu. My fellow administrators and I stand ready to address your questions and concerns as fully and as quickly as possible.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy

President

Campus Update

Dear Faculty and Staff Members:

As we’ve been discussing on our weekly calls, our Fall Task Forces have been hard at work planning for a safe and responsible campus reopening. The recently released state guidelines for colleges and universities provide a framework of critical standards and safeguarding practices to advance our efforts, and we hope to share our fall plans with you during the week of July 6.

In the meantime, the State of New Jersey has authorized the phased reopening of a variety of campus activities, and I’d like to share a brief update on our plans to restart a limited number of activities next week.

Guggenheim Memorial Library. The library will open for curbside pick-up on Monday, July 6 for students and employees only. Detailed instructions on the curbside pick-up process will be shared with the University community later today under separate cover from Provost Rekha Datta and Kurt Wagner, university librarian.

Summer Research Program. About 30 students have been engaged in the remote Summer Research Program since June 1. We are finalizing plans to safely conduct on-campus research that we hope will begin July 6 or soon thereafter. Additional details are available through the School of Science.

Summer Athletic Camps. The New Jersey Department of Health has approved the University’s plans to offer youth sports camps. On Monday, July 6, Athletics staff will welcome campers to its All Sports Camp, followed by a girls’ lacrosse camp on July 14. Camps will run in morning and afternoon sessions through the month of July.

Athletics. The University has submitted its plans to the State of New Jersey to begin voluntary training sessions for student athletes in our football program in accordance with guidance provided by the NCAA and the Big South Conference. Football student athletes, coaches, and staff members will have a three-day phased arrival on campus beginning on Wednesday, July 8.

I am excited to have some activity back on campus, as well as a limited number of employees to support it. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Sincerely,

Pat

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy
President

Important University Update

Dear Members of the Monmouth University Community:

On this Juneteenth 2020 – a day when we celebrate the end of slavery in the U.S. – we continue to seek ways to foster a genuinely fair, inclusive, and supportive community for all. Through numerous conversations with students, faculty, staff, and alumni over the past few weeks, one thing is clear: we must do more, especially as we prepare to enroll this fall our most diverse incoming class ever.

To that end, our Board of Trustees advanced the University’s commitment to ensuring a diverse and inclusive community by taking the following actions at its spring Board meeting yesterday.

  • Wilson Hall. The Board voted unanimously to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from our marquee building and then voted to rename the building – the Great Hall at Shadow Lawn. Wilson was a controversial politician, who never actually set foot in the current building. Removing his name, and incorporating these earlier names, connects the centerpiece of our campus more accurately to our historical roots and eliminates a symbolic barrier to the important work of creating a truly welcoming and inclusive space in the Great Hall. In support of that goal, we will accelerate our existing plans to reestablish the Great Hall as a true hub of activity for our students, outfitting the main areas with study tables and gathering spaces, opening a coffee bar on the main floor, and generally making it more inviting to students in an effort to build community in the heart of our campus. The Board has also directed the administration to take action to honor the contributions of Julian Abele, one of the first professionally trained African American architects, who was the lead designer of the Great Hall.
  • Diversity Initiatives Fund. The Board also voted unanimously to establish a permanent endowment to support the University’s diversity initiatives, dedicating $3 million in inaugural funds for this purpose. In addition, growing the size of this fund will become a key philanthropic priority for the University’s next fundraising campaign, which will launch in the years ahead. This restricted endowment will support diversity programming and educational initiatives, curricular and co-curricular integration, diverse faculty and staff recruitment, and other related efforts, all aimed at cultivating a welcoming and inclusive campus environment for all members of our University community.

As we have previously made clear, our University has not yet met our goals for diversity and inclusion. These initiatives represent just a few ways that the Board of Trustees can support our ongoing efforts. We know you share our appreciation for the Board’s vital leadership in this area. Expect to hear more from the administration in the weeks ahead as we develop a comprehensive plan with ongoing input from student, faculty, staff, and alumni leadership. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Dr. Patrick Leahy
President

Michael A Plodwick ’82
Chair, Board of Trustees

Monmouth University Stands in Solidarity

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 zragocra@monmouth.edu;

Dr. Rekha Datta, Interim Senior Vice President & Provost, at provost@monmouth.edu; or me directly at president@monmouth.edu. Thank you.

Dr. Patrick F. Leahy, President