‘Black Students Matter’ rally calls out discrimination at Rowan University

Rowan University students gather outside the Chamberlin Student Center criticize the administration for ignoring racial slurs and unequal treatment directed at Black students

Rowan University students gather outside the Chamberlin Student Center criticize the administration for ignoring racial slurs and unequal treatment directed at Black students. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Jasmine Jones had just transferred to Rowan University as a sophomore two years ago when she says she experienced racial intimidation.

“A white student referred to my group of friends that I was with … with the N-word,” she said.

Jones, who is Black and now a senior law and justice major, also said the white student tried to incite a violent reaction from her. “I refused,” she said.

Rowan University student Jasmin Jones speaks about an incident in her dorm where white students used a racial slur against her and her friends. She said there were no consequences for the white students
Rowan University student Jasmin Jones speaks about an incident in her dorm where white students used a racial slur against her and her friends. She said there were no consequences for the white students. (Emma Lee/WHYY)
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She said she reported the incident to university officials, but after several interviews, some of which included her father, she was ultimately informed by Monise Princilus, an associate vice president in the university’s division of diversity, equity, and inclusion, that the incident did not warrant an investigation.

“They did not even investigate the situation, which is problematic for me,” she said, adding that it pushed her to be more involved on campus, eventually becoming president of Rowan’s chapter of the NAACP. Her organization sponsored a “Black Students Matter” rally on Thursday on the Glassboro campus, which drew an estimated 200 people.

“The main purpose and goal for this rally is just to raise awareness of instances like mine,” she said. “[The] administration has some notion that there is no problem on campus and they’re blind to it, so we need to wake them up and let them know what’s going on.”

Her father is Terence Jones, founder and executive director of the Total Justice Project, a nonprofit that advocates for changes to the criminal justice system. Jasmin Jones is chief of staff for the organization. He sat in on his daughter’s interviews with university officials, which he described as a traumatic experience for her, having to relive the incident each time.

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“It got to the point where I just got tired,” he said. “After maybe the sixth interview, [I] said, ‘Hey, you’re not going to interview her anymore.”

Terrence Jones (left), founder and executive director of Total Justice Project, speaks to students at Rowan University, where his daughter is a student
Terrence Jones (left), founder and executive director of Total Justice Project, speaks to students at Rowan University, where his daughter is a student. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Terence Jones said he started to file complaints with the university.

“They came to the conclusion that my daughter’s complaint was substantiated,” he said. “But that’s almost two years later.”

Terence Jones added that this is not the only discrimination incident on campus.

“Students that I interviewed talked about other racial things like with the police and stuff like that with stop and frisk,” he said. “They felt like they were being racially profiled.”

University spokesman Joe Cardona said he could not speak specifically to Jones’ case, but he conceded that “things were disjointed” in the past.

“It depended on if you maybe reported it to one place, it might not have made it all the way through the system,” he said.

Black students rally at Rowan University, where they say the administration has turned a deaf ear to their complaints of racist incidents
Black students rally at Rowan University, where they say the administration has turned a deaf ear to their complaints of racist incidents. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Cardona said the university takes every discrimination incident very seriously and the reporting system has improved in recent years.

“Although we’ve been working with many student groups over the last couple of years, and more particularly in the last year, on a range of issues, we welcome this,” Cardona added.

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