RU-N Debate Team Hosts Student Leaders Colloquium on Race and Diversity in Higher Education


The Rutgers University-Newark Debate Team held a public debate about Race & Diversity in Higher Education on May 9, 2016 at Rutgers Law School. The topic was “In response to recent controversies about diversity at institutions of higher education, what do student groups believe is the cause of the problems surrounding diversity among University faculty and admissions, and what might student groups do to contribute to a solution?”

Panelists were members of student organizations and included:

  • Saad Admani – a junior at Rutgers SPAA and President of the Rutgers University-Newark Muslim Students Association.
  • Christina D'Amato – a 2L at Rutgers Law School, an Immigrant Rights Fellow, a member of the E-Board for the Immigrant Rights Collective, the Association of Black Law Students, and the International Law Society, and associate editor for the Rutgers Law Record.
  • Alaina Thomas – a second-year dual JD/MSW student, a Marsha Wenk Public Interest Fellow at Rutgers Law School, co-chair of the National Lawyers’ Guild, co-chair of the Minority Student Program Community Outreach Committee, and a second-year representative of the Immigrant Rights Collective.
  • Michelle Kogolo – a senior at RU-N (Philosophy major) who has served as President of The Black Organization of Students (BOS) and currently serves as Vice President of the Rutgers University-Newark Pre-Law Society.
  • Jay Stephens – a 3L at Rutgers Law School who currently serves as the Student Bar Association President for this academic school year.
  • Nathan Anthony Ford – a First-Year Evening Student at Rutgers Law School and a member of Association of Black Law Students.
  • Devane Murphy – a third year student at Rutgers SPAA who currently serves as the captain of the RU-N Debate team while also coaching at various high schools throughout the city of Newark.
  • Rahimah Faiq – President of the Student Government Association.
  • Zamar Khan – Co- President of RU Pride.

Moderating the debate was Nicole Nave, a junior at Rutgers SPAA, who is currently part of the national traveling debate team and the debate coach at University High School.

Topics of race and diversity in higher education were discussed during the debate including faculty diversity, University symbols and their significance, tuition assistance, and how women or LBGTQ groups fit in at the university. There were plenty of civil disagreements that produced a very lively discussion. Overall, it was an excellent opportunity for members of campus to show off their advocacy skills. A link with the video of the event can be found here.

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