As some of you may have heard or read, a few weeks ago, the Newman Catholic Center at MSU was the victim of a bias act, that is currently being investigated by the City of Clifton NJ Police Department. The Student Leaders of the Newman Catholic Campus Ministry released the following statement which was sent to the entire University Community.
I am extremely proud of our eboard members for the way they responded to this difficult experience:
To the Campus Community of Montclair State University:
We are writing in regards to the bias incident that occurred at the Newman Catholic Center on November 6, 2008. As the executive board of Newman Catholic Campus Ministry, we feel it is imperative that we bring to your attention our concerns regarding this incident on behalf of the Catholic community of Montclair State University.
The Newman Catholic Campus Ministry’s mission is to help the Catholic students of Montclair State University develop their identity as Catholic-Christians, and to have the opportunities to share and speak about their faith with peers. As a Class II organization of the Student Government Association, we do this in a variety of ways. Most importantly we celebrate Mass on campus on Sunday evenings and offer daily Mass and rosary. We create opportunities for social outreach: a Bone Marrow Donor Drive, Canned Food Drives, Toys for Tots program, and Action against Hunger project. We also offer faith-growing activities such as: Bible studies, Lock-Ins, Retreats, Inter-faith dialogues, and Faith Sharing. Furthermore, we have many social opportunities for fellowship, which help to foster lasting relationships between our members.
The bias crime that took place on November 6 involving a used condom placed on the doorknob of the Newman Catholic Center was a direct attack on our Catholic beliefs and teachings, as well as an attack on a student’s residence and our place of worship. As Catholics, we value life and in turn do not believe in the use of contraceptives. In saying this, it is obvious that placing such an item on the doorknob of our place of worship is extremely offensive and outright disgusting.
As students of Montclair State University, we are often told of the University’s openness and acceptance of diversity. However, the cavalier reactions of many people on this campus–including both students and staff–have led us to believe otherwise. Many have laughed off the attack, dubbing it a prank and thereby diminishing the gravity of the incident. Some have even used the incident as a means to further mock and demean our faith, criticizing the Catholic church for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with this issue. The fact remains that to a Catholic student on this campus, what happened was an attack on our belief system, and to laugh it off is to belie the very ideas–of diversity, of acceptance–on which this university is founded.
As students and leaders of Newman Catholic Campus Ministry we are saddened that such an incident has placed us in this situation, but grateful to have the opportunity to bring our concerns regarding the incident to the greater campus community. We realize that each student on this campus is a unique individual and it is our hope that as we bring this issue to each of you, we can learn to appreciate our differences and stand beside one another to truly create the diversity our campus prides itself in.
We thank you for your time and consideration,
Newman Catholic Campus Ministry Executive Board
Matthew Boyle, President
Kelly Karcher, Vice President
Veronica Haegele, Treasurer
Chelsea Pullion, Recording Secretary
Prudence Welch, Corresponding Secretary
Larry Muscat, Public Relations
Brittany Tobjy, Retreat Director