On Feb. 14, the on-campus student activist group the Concerned 44 released a statement on social media accusing Seton Hall administrators of failing to enact the University’s new diversity core properly. The core, which is now a requirement for all incoming Arts and Sciences students, was expected to begin implementation this semester after being approved by the Arts and Sciences faculty in February 2018.
According to the video statement which was posted on the group’s official Instagram page, @SHU_Concerned44, group organizers claimed that the “diversity core has not been implemented, and Spring 2019 students will not be required to fulfill the requirement” which they say is in violation of a verbal promise made by interim Seton Hall president Dr. Mary Meehan on Day 2 of the nine-day October sit-in.
In a statement to The Setonian, Concerned 44 organizer Christian Duran further elaborated on the group’s position.
“The requirement is said to be in place, but is not in actuality,” said Duran. “It has not been communicated to faculty advisers or students, nor introduced into the [Banner Self Service] system or catalog. It is one thing to say that the requirement has been implemented, however, when neither faculty nor students have any idea that it exists and there is nothing concrete to actually show that it does, then the words of the administration are clearly unreliable at best.”
The group also expressed unease at the fact that they haven’t seen confirmation that anything had been signed indicating the core’s implementation.
“At the last faculty meeting for the College of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Peter Shoemaker, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, once again was urging the Provost’s conditions of the requirement undergoing even more examination from outside sources to determine learning outcomes. The excuse of learning outcomes has been used by the provost before, and is what has delayed the requirement’s implementation for the last two years.”
University administrators pushed back against claims that the core has not been fully implemented, though, which conflicts with the narrative of the Concerned 44.
According to Shoemaker, the Executive Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences discussed the diversity core on Feb. 14 and approved an initiative which affirmed that the requirement is in place. The initiative also states that the college will continue to work to ensure that students who entered in January 2019 will receive the proper advising.
Additionally, Shoemaker added that five courses are currently being offered this semester which have been approved for and will count towards the diversity core requirement. Those classes include African-American History II, Meeting the Other, Psychology of Gender, International Psychology and Theories of Deviance and Conformity, all of which are currently listed on Banner Self Service course catalog, though they do not have anything denoting that they help fulfill the diversity requirement. In addition to these five courses, Shoemaker also added that there will be 20 additional courses offered on a rotating basis beginning next semester.
“The college approved this new requirement on Feb. 23, 2018. After the administration gave the green light in an Oct. 25, 2018 memo that was sent to me and to the Concerned 44, the college approved the initial list of courses at our on Nov. 30, 2019 meeting, and began working on the administrative implementation during the first week of December,” said Shoemaker. “I’m always eager to listen to student concerns. Accordingly, Dr. Marianne Lloyd, the chair of the Arts and Sciences faculty, and I have reached out to the Concerned 44 and offered to meet with them to see how we can improve communication with the student body.”
Dr. Marianne Lloyd, Arts & Sciences Chair Pro Tempore, explained that while the core was in fact in place for this semester “the process of rolling out the diversity requirement has made evident some lapses in communication with student services.” Lloyd added that she was pleased that “the requirement is officially underway” and looks forward to working with advisors in the Freshman Studies Department to ensure a more efficient implementation of the core.
Interim Provost Dr. Karen Borroff echoed the sentiments of Dean Shoemaker and Dr. Lloyd, saying that she and President Meehan are both committed to the successful implementation of the core.
Nicholas Kerr can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find him on Twitter @NickKerr99.