February 25, 2021

Dear William Paterson Community,

On Friday, February 19, 2021 a Student Government Association Leadership Academy training was targeted by a racist, sexist, and bigoted Zoom-bombing, which is a form of targeted harassment by outsiders who hijack virtual events or meetings.   
We are deeply disturbed by, and strongly condemn, these hateful acts, and we want us all to acknowledge the harm done to the 12 students in the Zoom call, as well as the harm to all LGBTQIA, women, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in our community, who are often wounded by experiences of racism, sexual violence, and bigotry. 
Our offices will be working with University Police, the Office of Information Technology, and the Division of Student Development to investigate these hate-fueled attacks with the seriousness that they deserve. This is an active and ongoing investigation. It appears that these attacks are not unique to William Paterson but are part of a broader, coordinated activity that has impacted at least three other New Jersey universities and many others, nationally.  It is important for us to remain vigilant and practice safety measures when promoting virtual events, as incidents like these may reoccur before the perpetrators are identified. If you would like to report a zoom-bombing incident, please utilize the Student Complaint reporting system.
University Resources:
  • Information Technology has provided Best Practices for Securing Your Zoom Meetings guide for in-depth detail on how to best secure your Zoom meetings and prevent these types of incidents. In addition, do not share a Zoom meeting link on a publicly-viewable website or through social media channels. Pioneer Life provides security features to access events with log-in credentials. You can also click and download events directly to your calendar. 
  • The Bridge (Virtual) Student Support Group – A confidential space to talk about racial trauma, micro-aggressions, and systemic barriers meets every Wednesdays from 1 -2 p.m. This group welcomes all students who are affected with psychological racial trauma, and is facilitated by Ayana DaSilva, LCSW from the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center. Further details are available on Pioneer Life.
  • Courageous Conversation: Bigotry and Hate in 2021: Examining the impact of Zoom-Bombings. Facilitated by the Center for Diversity & Inclusion, and the Black Cultural Center staff; Tuesday, March 2, 2021 from 2 -3 p.m. Further details on Pioneer Life. 
  • The Counseling, Health and Wellness Center offers immediate assistance 24 hours-a-day through the access line at 973-720-2257.
  • The Center for Diversity and Inclusion and the Women’s Center continue to provide programs and materials for students seeking safe spaces to talk about their experiences.  Students can contact Dr. Librada Sanchez, Director of the Women’s Center at 973.720.2586 and at; or Yolany Gonell, Director of Student Diversity& Inclusion at to schedule one-on-one appointments to receive support and advice. 
We hope we will all come together as a community to protect ourselves and each other from any and all forms of racism and sexism, and make William Paterson a more just and equitable institution.
Richard J. Helldobler, Ph.D.
Yolany Gonell
Director, Student Diversity & Inclusion