On Feb. 7, Rowan University’s NAACP President and the Total Justice Chief of Staff Jasmine Jones held a Black Students Matter Rally in front of Rowan’s Chamberlain Student Center at 11 a.m.
At the rally, Jasmine Jones, a senior with a double major in law and justice and sociology, was accompanied by her father Terence Jones, the founder and executive director of Total Justice— a nonprofit fighting for those wrongly accused or convicted by law enforcement. Both individuals spoke at the rally, calling out to Rowan and Rowan University’s Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI).
Jones shared her experiences with discrimination on campus. On one occasion, Jones was called a racial slur by a white student in her own dorm room. The white student, who remains unnamed, was reported by Jones herself. Another student, also anonymous, heard the white student actively call Jones a racial slur and reported the incident to Rowan’s DEI, who briefly met with the student. This student who reported the situation to Rowan’s DEI was later targeted by the same white student who made comments against their sexuality. However, no actions were taken by the DEI to remedy the situation.
According to Rowan’s DEI division mission statement located on their website, their goal is to “facilitate Rowan’s efforts to be the leading university committed to addressing persistent issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion that result in positive outcomes for students, faculty and staff.”
Terence Jones filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for further information regarding acts of discrimination on campus. From June 2019 to November 2021, there have been nearly 80 reports of student discrimination, harassment and retaliation.
“Complaints related to race from June 1, 2019, to November 16, 2021, include 53/78 involved race. Seventy-eight of 78 contacts and/or follow up was made to [the] complainant. Thirteen of 78 complainants did not respond to follow-up. Nine of [the] 78 Complainant affirmatively declined to pursue the complaint. Fifty-six of 78 complaints were investigated,” Joe Cardona, vice president of university relations, said in an email. “Nineteen of 78 investigations are still pending. Seventeen of 78 allegations of discrimination/bias were unsubstantiated. Twenty-five of 78 complaints resulted in some resolution/action by [the] university (Includes counseling, non-renewal of contract, educational sanction, mediation, discussion with Dean of Students).”
On Feb. 8, Rowan Announcer sent a public email to all students providing more information on the topic.
“In the student’s concerns expressed yesterday [Feb. 7, 2022], there were claims that the university is falling short on its responsibilities of addressing bias and discrimination cases,” the email read. “Part of the challenge of this work is that many times cases are resolved, but due to confidentiality laws, the institution is permitted to share only general outcomes with those making the original complaint—a situation that understandably can leave some in the community frustrated and disappointed because they may not see what they consider closure.”
To conclude the email, the Rowan Announcer said, “No matter how challenging this work is, we are committed to creating an environment where individuals can be confident their complaints will lead to action. We will make progress together, working with groups both large and small.”
Individuals are encouraged to report any incident of discrimination, harassment and retaliation to Rowan’s DEI. Information can be found on their website or at (856) 256-5830. To remain anonymous, call the 24-hour Alert line at (855) 431-9967. For emergency reports, call Rowan University Department of Public Safety at (856) 256-4922.
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