Trustees Resolve to Make Stockton Leader in Social Justice Issues

Galloway N.J. _ The Stockton University Board of Trustees has unanimously approved a resolution that reinforces its “Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice at Stockton,” and positions the university to be a leader on these issues.

Board chairman Leo Schoffer said at July 15 meeting that society is confronting two crises, that of the COVID-19 coronavirus and that of social injustice.

leo schoffer“But unlike a virus, there is no vaccine to prevent or medicine to treat (social injustice),” Schoffer said. “That must be addressed through a process of change.”

He said that process includes a recognition of the injustice, education about it and a plan to eradicate it.

“The board believes that Stockton must play its role in this culture shift,” Schoffer said. “We should aspire to be a leader in the community. This is a declaration by the board members of their recognition, intent, and purpose to lead the university in the quest for social change.”

The board members read the resolution into the record, with each board member reading a section.

The resolution includes: review and revise curriculum to include coursework on racial injustice and discrimination within  academic programs and general education; foster an inclusive classroom by incorporating and cultivating an awareness of differing backgrounds; apply best practices to recruit and hire candidates that diversify the faculty, staff and leadership; incorporate contributions to equity, diversity and inclusion in reappointment, tenure and promotion practices, in compliance with institutional standards; foster a campus free of racism that allows all persons to thrive; and requests the president consider forming a committee to determine whether a location-based name of the university, consistent with the founder’s original intentions, should be pursued.

The resolution also states that the board respects the right of freedom of speech, but “strongly condemns as unacceptable the display of flags or symbols that incite or promote hatred against any identifiable group.”

Board member Michael Jacobson said the resolution represents “how the board feels and should be wholeheartedly supported by the university.”

Board member Nancy Davis said she wants Stockton to be a shining light on the issues.

Student trustee Nadira Anderson and alternate Tyler Rodriguez said they were happy that student voices were being heard.

“I am happy that this upholds Stockton’s commitment to Students First and I enthusiastically vote yes,” Anderson said.

President Harvey Kesselman called the resolution one of the most historic in the university’s history.

“It is time we address this in a systematic way in every aspect of the university,” Kesselman said.

In other business, the board confirmed tuition and fees for 2020-21.

Tuition and fees will be $7,164 per semester, or $14,328 per year, a $297 or 2% increase from 2019-20. The increase also applies to graduate and part-time per-credit tuition and fees.

Kesselman said the increase follows Stockton’s long-term plan to keep tuition and fees affordable while maintaining and enhancing programs, services, and facilities.

Stockton’s tuition and fees have remained at or below the state average among the state’s public colleges and universities, while Stockton’s state funding has historically been the lowest per student among the state public colleges. The Legislature and Gov. Phil Murphy had allocated additional funds this year to Stockton to help cover the discrepancy, but those funds, along with other traditional state funding, have been frozen during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand the state’s need to reserve its funding, but we, too have an obligation to meet the needs of our students, which in some ways are even greater during the current health crisis,” Kesselman said. “When we welcome students back, we want to assure them and their families that we have taken extra precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to continue to provide our services through multiple delivery methods, both on and off campus.”

The trustees also approved Steven Hampton, Professor, Doctoral Studies Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Daytona Beach Campus, as a member of the National Aviation Research and Technology Park for a three-year term through July 2023.

Student Samuel Payamps was named the student representative for a two-year term on the Stockton Affiliated Services Board of Directors.

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Diane D’Amico
Director of News and Media Relations
Galloway, N.J. 08205