February 24, 1969
Rutgers Diversity
was born ...

 

Conklin Hall Takeover

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Digital Documents
4oth Anniversary Calendar
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"That Monday morning, I arrived on campus for my first class. What do I hear but one white student hurriedly telling another,” The black students, the black students, they’ve  taken over Conklin Hall.” I spent the rest of the day there...marching, chanting and adjusting to the dirty looks.”

-excerpt from a 69’ Liberator’s narrative.

 

Rutgers - Newark
Rutgers University Libraries
John Cotton Dana Library
Digital Preservation Initiative

 

THE LIBERATION OF CONKLIN HALL - SLIDE SHOW

"We Only Know What We Can Remember"

 

Conklin Hall Takeover

 

Feb. 13, 1969:

Rutgers-Newark Black Organization of Students, known as BOS, submits a list of demands to Malcolm Talbott the campus’ top administrator. The demands include enrolling more minority  students and hiring more minority professors. Though Newark’s population is largely African American, the state university’s Newark campus is 95% white.

 

Feb. 24, 1969:

Frustrated by the administration’s continued rejection of their demands, members of BOS march into the campus’ main classroom building at 6:30am, kicked out the security guard and chain the doors. Stocked with food and water, nearly two dozen protesters say they will remain in Conklin hall until their demands are met. They unfurl a banner from the roof declaring the building “Liberation Hall.”

When Rutgers Diversity

 

Feb. 25, 1969:

While protesters and counter protesters rally and clash outside Conklin Hall, Rutgers administrators negotiate with BOS leaders. Rutgers President Mason Gross resists calls from lawmakers to bring in police to force the “Negro militants” to leave the building.

 

Feb. 26, 1969:

As negotiations continue, students on Rutgers New Brunswick and Camden campuses hold their own protests in support of the Newark takeover. In Newark, a group of white ECC students tries to use a telephone pole to ram the barricaded doors bu are stopped short of the entrance by peacemakers who move the telephone away.

 

Feb. 27, 1969:

In the early morning hours, Rutgers President agrees to increase black enrollment and institute other changes to make the state university more welcoming to minority students. At 5:45am, the students end their 72 hour occupation.

Was Born…...

 

March 6, 1969:

Rutgers-Newark professors vote 95-40 to reject the agreement university officials made with the protesters concerned the changes would lower admission standards. Other faculty were upset the university submitted to the demands without consulting faculty.

 

March 8, 1969:

BOS leaders hold a news conference announcing the university reneged on the agreement vowing more protests will follow.  The state Board of Education urges Rutgers and other state colleges to amend admission standards to enroll more minorities.

 

March 14, 1969:

At an emotional 8 hour meeting, the Rutgers Board of Governors establish a new and pioneering program to admit economically disadvantaged high school graduates in Newark, New Brunswick and Camden.

 

40 Years later:

Rutgers—Newark is the most diverse university in America for the past 12 years

Source: Newark Star Ledger 2004

 

“The Conklin Hall takeover really looms in my mind as the watershed event that transformed this campus to what it is today. Those courageous young men and women couldn't possibly have imagined the chain of events that they would set into motion, or the transformation that they would bring about through their efforts to correct a profound injustice on this campus. “
- Chancellor Steven Diner