SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - After more than a week of protests, the Concerned 44 and Seton Hall University (SHU) administrators have yet to reach agreement on all issues, but some progress towards resolution has been made, according to statements from university officials and student organizers.
The "Concerned 44" are a group of students who stated they are "advocating for the marginalized student body at Seton Hall University." The Concerned 44 "are deeply dissatisfied with the way students of color have been treated and represented and we are holding the administration accountable."
On Oct. 30, SHU's Interim President Mary J. Meehan sent a letter to the campus community stating that the "University’s leadership has been meeting on an ongoing basis with the Concerned 44 student protestors during the past week to address their concerns and offer realistic solutions. To date, the Concerned 44 have rejected all our proposed solutions."
On Oct. 31, the Concerned 44 posted on Twitter that it had been "8 days & 192 hours of us sitting and sleeping in Presidents Hall at Seton Hall University." The same day, SHU administration issued a statement that University leadership had met with representatives of the Concerned 44, and had discussed the group's concerns regarding curriculum, diversity and inclusion and that "the Administration, Faculty Senate and Student Government Association are committed to working together to implement a number of new diversity and inclusion initiatives."
On Nov. 2, Meehan issued another letter to the SHU community, which stated that the "Concerned 44 has concluded its peaceful sit-in of Presidents Hall," and that "the University is committed to an ongoing dialogue." The letter stated that University leadership would meet with representatives of the Concerned 44 "to clearly define the plan moving forward to create a more inclusive community at Seton Hall."
One of the student leaders of the Concerned 44 stated in a message to TAPinto SOMA on Nov. 2 that they "would be meeting with the administration next week to discuss their response to our demands and address continuing issues in a lack of commitment to a diverse curriculum."
On Nov. 3, the Concerned 44 posted to their Instagram account that "The University has met 3 out of 5 of our demands so we have decided to put the sit-ins on hold during the negotiation period. However, we will continue demonstration if the university does not comply. We would like to thank you all for the continual support, & will continue to fight this fight!"