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COMMENTARY: McGinty is committed to Rutgers community

An article that appeared in the Daily Targum on Monday, April 23, discussed a recent online petition demanding that Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Felicia McGinty not participate in the upcoming Rites of Passage Ceremony, organized by the Paul Robeson Cultural Center (PRCC) and scheduled for May 9. 

The Cultural Centers at Rutgers University—New Brunswick aim to provide a rich sense of community, engagement and leadership development for historically underrepresented college students. One of the many ways we achieve these goals is by providing annual programs such as the annual Rites of Passage Ceremony, a pre-commencement event organized by the PRCC in close partnership with the Center for Latino Arts and Culture (CLAC) and other offices. Established in 1992, the Rites of Passage Ceremony recognizes the accomplishments of hundreds of Black and Latinx students for their ability to persist to and through college. We pride ourselves in providing a memorable celebration for our students and their families that visibly engages Rutgers leadership, faculty and staff. 

As directors of the PRCC and the CLAC (part of the Cultural Center Collaborative), we want to acknowledge the substantial contributions that Dr. McGinty has made as Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs to foster greater access, equity and opportunity for students of color at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. 

Some examples include: 

1) Substantially increasing cultural center funding,

2) Spearheading divisional support for the Scarlet and Black initiative,

3) Underwriting signature Cultural Center Collaborative events, such as the C4 Welcome Back Block Party, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (MLK) Week and the Rites of Passage Ceremony,

4) Relocating the CLAC to a larger facility after years of being in an undersized space and 

5) Revitalizing the PRCC with new staff and an improved facility. 

All of these examples point to McGinty’s steadfast commitment to students of color. Moreover, her proven leadership has initiated, helped build and sustained increased culturally competent and evidence-based practices within the Division of Student Affairs. The CLAC, PRCC and other units serving historically underrepresented students on campus have been notable beneficiaries of her leadership. 

We encourage students to seek opportunities to learn how integral McGinty and her leadership has been to the professional growth of the Division of Student Affairs and to Rutgers’ deepening commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. 

Moving forward, let us continue to identify positive and constructive ways for our communities to grow together under the institution’s inclusive values that are fundamental to being a Scarlet Knight.

David E. Jones and Carlos Fernandez are the directors of the Paul Robeson Cultural Center and the Center for Latino Arts & Culture, respectively. 

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