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Urban Coast Institute

A Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice

The Urban Coast Institute (UCI) shares Monmouth University’s commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and justice (DEIJ) efforts that ensure everyone on our campus feels welcome and supported. The UCI also recognizes that communities of color and environmental justice communities bear a disproportionate share of the burden of marine pollution, coastal storms and sea level rise, as well as uneven access to and distribution of benefits from the ocean. In order to support an ocean that will thrive and benefit future generations, we need to design more ambitious and inclusive solutions.

The UCI is dedicated to breaking down barriers across areas of inquiry and working with diverse communities to answer pressing questions about marine justice. We embrace opportunities to advance DEIJ on and off campus, and in our ocean science and policy programs.

Recent Activities

  • A multidisciplinary team of Monmouth researchers launched Paradoxical Paradise, an online library of archival materials, GIS maps, podcasts and other multimedia chronicling Asbury Park’s African American history. (August 2021)
  • UCI Communications Director Karl Vilacoba profiled three women at the core of Black in Marine Science’s success for the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal’s “Ocean Stories.” (April 2021)
  • A short documentary created by student London Jones examines the possibility that climate gentrification could one day push minorities from Asbury Park’s West Side community. The project builds on her UCI-supported research discriminatory barriers to beach access in Asbury Park and other New Jersey municipalities. (December 2020)
  • The UCI issued a special call for proposals to support faculty/student research and community-based projects focused on sustainably rebuilding coastal communities and economies after the pandemic while addressing impacts to and needs of our most vulnerable populations. Heidi Lynn Sculthorpe Faculty Enrichment Grants were awarded for projects that will study COVID-19’s impacts on the African American community in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and create Little Free Library installations in low-income coastal communities. (November 2020)
  • Eco Self masksUCI Artist-in-Residence Kimberly Callas’ Discovering the Ecological Self program provides at-risk youth opportunities to take field visits and classroom lessons focused on nature-based topics, explore them from philosophical and cultural perspectives, and create works of art inspired by them.
  • UCI Ocean Policy Fellow Paul G. Gaffney II joined the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Defense Research at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSI). Gaffney, a retired Navy vice admiral, is examining the methods and means necessary to advance research capacity at those institutions. (September 2020)
  • Associate Director Thomas Herrington serves on a national team of researchers focused on understanding climate change’s current and future influence on residential migration from America’s coastal communities. (February 2020)
  • The UCI works to engage a broad range of stakeholders on ocean issues in its role as a facilitator for the Mid-Atlantic Committee on the Ocean (MACO). In 2020, staff assisted MACO in drafting its Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice.
  • As members of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal project team, the UCI is working to develop new maps on the site depicting tribal interests and environmental justice data. The team also regularly provides trainings for users of all needs, including annual sessions designed to instruct New York City public school teachers to use the site as a classroom tool.

Additional Resources