An unknown person tried to make a statement about race at the College when he or she recently glued small circular mirrors over the faces of students on the newly re-rendered signs outside the construction site for the new library.
After about a week, however, the mirrors were removed from the sign.
The action came just a few weeks after the College placed stickers of minority students on the sign to reflect racial diversity on campus.
Jerusalem Howard, director of Equity and Diversity, whose office was responsible for the addition of the minority students stickers on the sign, said he did not consider the placement of the mirrors on the sign as vandalism and seeks no punitive actions against the person responsible for the action.
“I would like to contact this person to harness their creativity,” Howard said, “and ask them to sit on a taskforce to address inclusion as it relates to signage on campus.” Once created, this taskforce will be part of the Human Relations Advisory Council.
Pat Coleman-Boatwright, director of College and Community Relations, said she isn’t aware of any ongoing investigations on the matter. “It could be considered vandalism, but there was not a lot of malicious intent, just someone making a statement.”
“I think it was an interesting, creative commentary on how people see each other on campus,” Coleman-Boatwright said. “We need to recognize there are different faces on this campus.”
“I think it was a creative way to poke fun at the situation,” Steven Hirt, sophomore art major, said. “I know I laughed at the mirrors when I heard about it. Since needing to re-render part of the picture was an attempt to represent the true profile of the student body, why not take it a step further in actually reflecting what the students look like.”
“I definitely think it was an act of vandalism,” Vincent Gironda, sophomore accounting major, said. “Whether they were trying to send out a positive or negative message doesn’t matter. They still defaced property that wasn’t theirs and, to me, that’s vandalism.”
Howard explained that representing diversity on campus is very important because “TCNJ is about preparing leaders for the future, and they must be able to deal with different people after college.” According to him, “We must go beyond the accepted, and challenge ourselves to understand and respect different perspectives.”
Howard also said representing diversity at the College is in accordance with the College’s “Core Beliefs.”
According to the College’s Web site, one of these beliefs is that “the College’s social, cultural and intellectual life is enriched and enlivened by diversity.”
The sign outside the library construction site will be part of a new exhibit in Brower Student Center.
This exhibit, created by the office of Equity and Diversity, is called the Monthly Student Organization Cultural Exhibit.According to Howard, this program “allows diverse student organizations the opportunity to provide a weeklong celebration of their uniqueness to the student body by displaying information in the student center.”
The exhibit will be on display in January.
A new survey has also been created to gauge student and faculty opinion on diversity and inclusiveness on campus.
This and other information regarding diversity on campus is available at tcnj.edu/~include.