In today’s political climate, many issues raise much contention and division, particularly, race.
Seton Hall’s climate is no different.
Just last year, the Core Curriculum Committee for the college of Arts and Sciences passed a motion calling for a three-credit diversity category to be instituted for all majors.
According to a section of the minutes taken from the meeting last year, it is the intention of the committee that every student in the college has a firm understanding of how “power relations structure society.”
The minutes state that students will start taking classes that center around populations who are typically deemed “impoverished, non-dominant or minority.”
Junior psychology major Briana Wallace said, “I think it is beneficial. In a lot of my classes now, like my research methods class, we talk more about race and how we can make it a more comfortable discussion for us to have. So, I think that any way to make the conversation more relaxed is better.”
Last Friday, the committee met in private once again to discuss the status of the motion.
The Setonian reached out to committee chair Dr. Mark Couch for admittance into the meeting and was denied due to a scheduled vote.
Just two weeks ago a group of about 30 students gathered together on the University’s Green to rally against what they feel is the unjust treatment of people of color at Seton Hall.
The protest was sparked by the University’s decision not to renew the contract of Dr. Karanja Keita Carroll, a former adjunct professor of Africana Studies. Outraged student activists, Aleessa Akegnan, a junior biology major, and Emani Miles, a sophomore political science major took action.
Once the protest was finished, participants emailed a list of demands to the Seton Hall administration. Some of the demands included hiring more faculty of color and adequate funding for the Africana Studies department.
Dr. Rosanne Mirabella, a member of the Core Curriculum Committee said, “It’s encouraging to see students getting together to take action and they have to keep that up. They have to keep working together, speaking truth to power and bringing their desires to the university.”
Earlier in the week, the Division of Personnel and Dr. Tracy Gottlieb, vice president of Student Affairs, held a Real Talk on Race forum where students, faculty and administrators came together to have a conversation about the state of race and racism on campus.
The Africana Studies program at Seton Hall was established in 1970 and is the oldest program in the state. It was created as a result of antiwar and civil rights demonstrations on campus.
Mirabella says that interdisciplinary studies such as Africana Studies and Women and Gender Studies are severely underfunded and have been for years.
“Our starting salaries are $60,000 a year so it is hard to attract faculty of color who are in demand,” Mirabella said.
She continued to explain how Seton Hall salaries are figured on a market based equity. This means that professors who teach in certain professional programs make more than those who work in the humanities.
“That adds to what we are talking about here,” Mirabella said. “Because the people that we need to bring to campus to speak to diversity from a power perspective are usually people from the humanities.”
Brynne Connolly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.