Over the years, student activism has shaped the culture of Rutgers in many ways.
Following first-year student Tyler Clementi’s suicide on September 22, 2010, mourners held a candlelight vigil at Rutgers–New Brunswick. The university, which reinvigorated its efforts to promote tolerance and understanding, has long supported the LGBTQA community through organizations like the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities. The Tyler Clementi Center was created to share information about, and for, college students coming of age in the digital era.
The Protest of Protests
In 1969, amid mounting racial tension in Newark, members of the Black Organization of Students took over Rutgers–Newark’s Conklin Hall on February 24, demanding more minority representation and triggering protests elsewhere at Rutgers. In time, the university began recruiting more African-American students, faculty, and staff. The protesters’ legacy is a much more diverse Rutgers. See video.
Hell No, We Won't Go
In 2010, Governor Christie initiated two higher education studies, which recommended that some units of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey be integrated into Rutgers. The proposals also called for merging Rutgers–Camden with Rowan University—prompting widespread and sustained protest. The Save Rutgers–Camden campaign culminated with the Board of Trustees voting in favor of retaining Rutgers–Camden.
The Night Is Ours
Take Back the Night, an international movement to raise awareness about gender-based violence and women’s safety, originated in San Francisco in 1973 and made its way across the country to Douglass College in the late 1970s. Today, students remain vigilant about domestic violence and sexual assault by holding awareness rallies and marches each April to mark the annual event.
Eve of Disruption
By 1965, anger over the war in Vietnam hit Rutgers. At an October teach-in, an argument ended in a slap fight. In 1969, Rutgers took part in the national Moratorium to End the War in Vietnam. A year later, demonstrators occupied Old Queens during a two-day sit-in. And in 1972, days of antiwar demonstrations culminated in a blaze that damaged the Army ROTC building at Rutgers–New Brunswick. See video.