Hands of different skin colors raised up.


Office for Social Justice and Diversity

May 29, 2020

Greeting Montclair State Family,

In one breath, collectively as a community, we can breathe a sigh of relief that amidst an ongoing global crisis, we have completed a challenging semester. Yet, in another breath, we suffer with much heartache trying to make sense of what is going on in the world. There are no words to explain away and/or understand why we have recently lost four individuals to needless violence. There is nothing that can undo why they are no longer with us and/or lessen the pain many experienced as they witnessed their final moments captured on video.

It continues to be a challenging time in our nation for multiple communities. The challenges brought on by COVID-19 have caused fear, anxiety and stress in many communities impacting Black and Latino communities in the greatest numbers. Communities of Color, particularly the Black community, have continued to experience ongoing racialized trauma. The OSJD acknowledges that Black lives matter; they are valued and appreciated. Similarly, Xenophobia has fueled physical and verbal attacks on our nation’s Asian and Asian American communities. Stigmatization against certain groups during the crisis resulted in vilifying and blaming groups as the cause of the Coronavirus. These are national issues, and for many, these concerns affect us at a personal and community level.

The Office for Social Justice and Diversity (OSJD), asserts acts of hate must be called out and as a community we should take steps to help our community heal. We acknowledge these acts of hate are a resurgence of “othering” that has existed for generations. We continue to be confronted by systemic oppression and racism which impacts all of us, and it is a reminder of the suffering many experience in their personal lives and/or through shared experiences.

What You Can Do Right Now

Join us in a moment of reflection, prayer, or silence to remember the importance of their lives – four human beings deserving of love and respect.

  • Ahmaud Arbery, 25-year old, Brunswick, GA
  • Breonna Taylor, 26-year old, Louisville, KY
  • George Floyd, 46-year old, Minneapolis, MN
  • Tony McDade, 38-year old, Tallahassee, FL

Call to Action

The OSJD is committed to actively addressing national issues and community healing through collaborative efforts and digital activism. We can each do our part every day to work earnestly and heal the wounds created by racial and ethnic bias with the goal of building an equitable and just society for all. Everyone has the right to learn, grow and flourish in a world that does not violate their safety, dignity and humanity. Here is how you can help.

  • Speak out and participate in online activism and use your voice in dialogue with others, e.g., Facebook, chat rooms, Instagram and in your local community.
  • Read a book or watch a video and schedule a community discussion.
  • Extend yourself to others in your community who might be suffering in silence. Give them a call, send a text of concern or video chat. Help them get connected to resources.
  • Call and write your state legislator for law and policy reform.
  • Self-Care is Important
  • Take a moment for yourself and plan time away from the news – a time each day to shutter the noise of the day and recharge.
  • Download an app such as HEADSPACE OR CALM and use their free resources.

The staff in the Office for Social Justice and Diversity are here if you need to talk or share ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out 973.655.5114 or email us at diversity@montclair.edu.

African American Caucus

June 17, 2020

Dear Campus MSU Community:

The Executive Board of the Montclair State University African American Caucus (AAC) hopes this message finds you safe and well. In recent weeks, our country has witnessed several violent incidents between law enforcement and American citizens, many of which have resulted in the death of African Americans. The AAC stands in solidarity with citizens around the world: BLACK LIVES MATTER. The outcry from the public over the deaths of George Floyd Jr., Breonna Taylor, and Rayshard Brooks has set a movement in motion not to be ignored. Protesters from every ethnicity, age, and walk of life have joined the march for equality and humanity. We honor every man, woman, and child that has sacrificed their time and personal safety to have their voices heard, particularly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While racial injustice towards the African American community has occurred in this country for over 400 years, the recent events have culminated into one resounding statement: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

As members of the university community, it is our responsibility to advance knowledge and humanity, in hopes of breaking barriers and moving everyone toward an appreciation and acceptance of diversity. African Americans are in the fabric of American society and their contributions have helped shape this country into the powerful nation that it has become. Please visit http://montclair.libguides.com/racism for a list of resources on race, racism, and anti-racism (books, articles, materials for children, etc.) that will be beneficial to everyone.

The year 2020 will go down in history as a significant year. We are living in unprecedented times and we have reached a turning point. We have heard the outcries about racial inequality from people in this country and around the world. Sweeping changes are now in motion in the areas of police reform in almost every state. There is hope for our future, and we encourage everyone to face the fear and uncertainty of tomorrow with the strength of our past, knowing that we have endured worse and we still rise. As we celebrate Juneteenth on Friday, let’s reflect on what we can do to move the agenda for racial equality forward and truly make America the land of freedom and opportunity. In the words of James Weldon Johnson, LET US MARCH ON TILL VICTORY IS WON.


  • Michael Allen, President
  • Christopher Cottle, Vice President
  • Denise O’Shea, Recording Secretary
  • Nadine Verna, Corresponding Secretary
  • Tatia Haywood, Treasurer
  • Kate E. Temoney, Parliamentarian
  • Felicia Hines, Member-at-Large
College of Education and Human Services

June 10, 2020

Message to the College of Education and Human Services Community on Responses to Systemic Racism

It is incumbent on those of us who care about equity and justice to speak and act against racism and white supremacy—and that has never been more obvious than now, given the current expressions of pain and outrage evident in the numerous protests in this country in recent days.

Once again, the U.S. is experiencing an explosion of anger and despair over the all-too-familiar violence against Black and Brown communities and individuals in this country. The pattern of violence against people of color, which is then answered by protests that do not lead to change, has become a “normal” part of our experience.  And this is a tragic and terrifying reality.  As Charles Blow wrote in his column in the May 31 New York Times, “Oppression and pain…breed despair,” and “despair has an incredible power to initiate destruction.” We are seeing the truth of this playing out across the U.S.

In our own academic community, we are feeling pain about the recent horrific murders of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, Ahmaud Arbery by two white neighbors in Georgia, and Breonna Taylor by Louisville police—among so many others throughout U.S. history. Our Black colleagues, students, staff, faculty, and community partners, especially, are experiencing a very personal pain, anguish, and grief. It is important for those of us who are not Black or Brown to acknowledge this and for all of us to re-commit to acting against racism, white supremacy, and racial oppression.

Our College mission to work to create a healthier, better educated, more just society has never been more relevant than now. In addition to the recent malicious murders of Black Americans, the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately affecting Black and Brown people and poor people.  Those who are not deemed worthy of $15/hour wages are now seen as “essential” to making food and other services available to those of us who have the privilege of staying at home.  And the economic impact of the pandemic is pushing people who live paycheck-to-paycheck into poverty and leaving many without food or housing. This will mean that, for many of them, further education will undoubtedly be a luxury they cannot afford.

What we do—educating people—is of utmost importance. Education can promote critical thinking, reflection, analysis, and an understanding of the value of human diversity. And people who choose to focus their work in education and human services, like all of us in the College of Education and Human Services, have important roles to play in fostering these qualities in our students as they prepare for their careers in education and human services. I trust that all of us in our CEHS community will redouble our efforts to live up to our mission.

As a College, we are committed to taking concrete actions to fight racism. The Advancing Equity and Justice in CEHS Task Force is leading efforts to enact the Education Deans for Justice and Equity (EDJE) Framework in our continuing exploration of ways to confront and push back against the inequities in our own community that uphold systemic racism. The Critical Urban Education Speaker Series seeks to develop participants’ racial and political analysis of social and cultural issues influencing urban schools and communities. The most recent event, on June 1, led by Shawn Ginright, San Francisco State University Professor, was called Healing America’s Racial Divisions in the Era of Coronavirus. The Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Project hosts events and initiatives dedicated to eradicating racism and prejudice. Through EdPrepLab, a group of CEHS faculty and staff are conducting an Inquiry Project in partnership with UCLA and UC Berkeley to prepare and sustain anti-racist, socially just teachers and leaders. These initiatives and others in the College are tackling racism and white supremacy head-on.

Education alone does not eradicate racism and white supremacy. It is embedded in all our institutions and in our daily lives. I ask that all of us, as a College and as individuals, stand with Black and Brown people and communities. I ask that we take steps to deepen our understanding of the roles we can play in ending systemic racism and that we commit to being intentional in taking actions to do just that.

Tamara Lucas
Dean, College of Education and Human Services

Counseling and Psychological Services

June 2, 2020

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) joins the rest of the Montclair State University community in expressing our grief, sorrow and compassion to those who have been impacted by the race based tragedies that have been occurring across our country. These tragedies reflect a longstanding and entrenched history of systemic racial injustice that we condemn and are dedicated to addressing. While these tragedies can be traumatizing for all of us, we recognize that they may be especially injurious to members of our Black and African-American community. In the aftermath of experiencing or witnessing trauma, it is normal to experience a range of feelings and emotions, such as shock, fear, sadness, anger, helplessness or guilt. As a mental health service, CAPS is committed to affirming and providing care for all of our students who have been directly or vicariously impacted by trauma. We encourage you to contact our office if you (or someone you know) would like support with coping and healing. CAPS provides a host of drop in support groups in which recognizing and coping with racialized trauma may be discussed. These virtual drop in groups include COPING 101 (Tuesdays 3-4 pm), Mosaic Women (Wednesdays 1-2 p.m.) and Connecting Across Cultures (Thursdays 2-3 p.m.). For a one-on-one consultation, please drop-in to Let’s TeleTalk, offered four days a week. We hope you join us there for dialogue, support and strength.

In solidarity,

CAPS Staff

Greek Life

June 9, 2020

Hello Montclair State Greek Community,

The tragic events involving the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and Ahmaud Arbery are not the first of their kind. Racist hate crimes like these have been happening in the United States for over four hundred years. We are not the first generation to stand up against this hate, but we must be persistent and intentional in our efforts until we eradicate prejudice and discrimination from our society. We have seen you using your voices, showing up, and making a difference. We’re not surprised. This is who our Greek community is. You show up time and again, and we know you will continue to do so. We are proud of the reflection that has been done, the resources that have been shared, and the healthy dialogue that we have seen. The solidarity that has been shown is remarkable and sets a strong foundation for moving forward as a community. Keep up this good work.

As a community that prides ourselves in being diverse, we need to do better as a whole to support our peers. We must look at the ways that racism has played a role in the history of fraternities and sororities. Some of our own sub-councils nationally began as racially exclusive. Some of our organizations are historically white. We implore you to do some research if you don’t know if your organization was ever racially-exclusive. While we have come a long way in some aspects, it is important that we acknowledge the fact that many of our organizations without a mission-based cultural affiliation are still predominantly white. All of this not to shame anyone, but to shed some light on the uncomfortable truths that have always been in front of us. We challenge you to do better for our organizations and community, now and for the future.

With that in mind, we have to recognize that these injustices do not cease to exist with an amendment to our bylaws or handbooks. We must continue having these conversations, educating each other with care, checking our privileges and biases, and supporting each other. Nearly every organization chartered within the Greek Council posted an anti-racist and/or Black Lives Matter statement or image on their social media. This is not the end of the work. For many organizations and individuals, it is the beginning. We are here to help and support you on this path.

Challenge yourself to do better. Challenge your siblings to do better. Do whatever you need to do to fight racism, whether that is educating yourself, educating others, sharing art, protesting, donating, calling your representatives, and/or signing petitions. Listen to each other. You are encouraged to look at the practices of your organization from recruitment to meetings to your constitution and bylaws to day-to-day operations and interactions. We cannot address what we do not acknowledge. We know there are many positive and productive conversations happening and you are working to educate each other–keep going! Our community will be stronger and healthier because of each of you and the work you’re doing. At the bottom of this email are resources for learning about race, privilege, and caring for your mental health.

On behalf of the Montclair State University Office of Greek Life and the Greek Council Leadership Team, we condemn racism in all its forms, overt and normalized. We will be working to deliver training sessions to address what we as Greeks can do to promote inclusivity and allyship within our community. We will also be evaluating the policies of the Office of Greek Life and of the Greek Council to move towards more inclusive and equitable language and practices. Above all else, the office is here to support you. On July 1, the 2020-2021 Greek Council Leadership Team takes office. Until then, please reach out to us to discuss your ideas, thoughts, or needs in relation to recent events or any other matters.

Emily Miske

Julie Fleming

Montclair State University Board of Trustees

June 16, 2020

The death of George Floyd has highlighted the magnitude of the systemic racism and injustice felt by the Black community and sparked a worldwide movement. One cannot have viewed the tragic video and the passionate demonstrations without being deeply moved. Like many members of the MSU community, -students, faculty, staff and alumni-, I support efforts to bring social justice issues to the forefront, not just for the sake of discussion, but to have a truly lasting impact.

These are unprecedented times. Our students have lost loved ones, are experiencing financial insecurity, and are questioning what their future will look like in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The African American community has experienced this to an even greater extent due to health and economic inequalities, which coinciding with blatant displays of abuse of power and violence, have greatly increased their levels of anxiety and frustration.

For all of these reasons, the University and the Board of Trustees acknowledge Montclair State University’s critical role in educating and preparing citizens of the 21st century by promoting social justice, civic engagement, multicultural literacy, and recognition and celebration of diversity.

Dr. Francis Cuss, Chair, Montclair State University Board of Trustees

President’s Commission on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity

June 23, 2020

Statement on Social Justice and Equality

The University’s statement on Equal Employment Opportunity, Affirmative Action & Diversity states “Montclair State is a vibrant community that is committed to providing a working and learning environment that is inclusive, free of discrimination and harassment, and is welcoming to persons from all racial, ethnic, social and cultural backgrounds.”

For over 40 years the President’s Commission on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity and Diversity has supported these ideals knowing that diversity is vital to the fabric of our University and to each member of our community.

The recent events resulting in the senseless loss of life of several African American men and women due to some law enforcement personnel and citizens should touch all our hearts and lives and call us to action. We support each member of the campus community and the communities at large as they use the power of their voices to condemn the hatred of racism and bring long overdue awareness to the inequalities suffered by our brothers and sisters of color. Change happens only when we all work together for the respect and ability to live our lives freely and without fear.

The Commission is committed to continue our work with our campus partners to empower all members of the campus community to promote an atmosphere of civility, where we can support, appreciate and celebrate the importance of diversity.

We encourage the campus community to view President Cole’s Black Lives Matter video statement.

University College

June 10, 2020

Message to the University College Community

We hope you are well as we finish out our thirteenth week of quarantine following the move to this new, virtual reality. We are all still struggling with anxiety and fear for our loved ones in the midst of this global health crisis that has disproportionately taken the lives of those in marginalized communities.

Now, we face more feelings of stress, anguish, fear and frustration associated with the attacks, and untimely and unjust deaths of Ahmaud Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade (a Black Trans-Man) and George Floyd. These callous acts of hate are perpetuated by a history of systematic and institutionalized racism that still permeates many of our institutions today and are now being brought to light by the widespread use of technology and social media.

We at University College believe that Black Lives Matter. As a community, we must stand together with the oppressed. We must embark on the complicated work of delivering justice for all the victims of violence, racism and oppression.

Everyone feels and heals from grief differently. Whether you are lending your voice to the movement, focusing on self-care, or both, we have outlined some resources that can be useful during this time.

How to Get Involved

  • Register to Vote: The New Jersey State Primary is Tuesday, July 7.
    The deadline to register to vote in the NJ State Primary is Tuesday, June 16.
  • Complete the U.S. Census: Learn more about the Census, how to complete your form and more.
  • Make a Donation: There is no donation too small to help others.
    • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
    • Black Lives Matter
    • George Floyd Memorial Fund
    • Justice for Breonna Taylor Fund
    • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
    • Demand Change from Your Community: See how many policies your community has enacted against police violence and take action now.
  • Use Social Media to Educate and Empower: Learn more about the movement through the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

Take Care of Yourself!

Take a moment for yourself and plan time away from the news and “the noise” (this includes heavy conversations, social media, etc.) – plan a time each day to rest and recharge.

  • Download a self-care app, like Headspace or Calm and use their free resources.
  • Reach out to campus partners for additional support.
  • Office of Social Justice & Diversity (OSJD): 973-655-5114 or diversity@montclair.edu
  • Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS): 973-655-5211
    • CAPS is providing additional virtual drop-in sessions in response. Get More Information.

University College is committed to ensuring that the voices and stories of the oppressed are
heard and included in our curriculum and programming, and that you feel valued in our spaces.

In solidarity,

The University College Team