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35 Years After Conklin Hall Takeover:
Events at Dana Library

As part of Rutgers-Newark's continuing observance of the 35th anniversary of the 1969 takeover of Conklin Hall, the John Cotton Dana Library will host a March 31 symposium, "The Relevance of the Conklin Hall Takeover to the Hip-Hop Generation." The panel will contrast a student overview of life at Rutgers-Newark today, with a detailed look back at how it was during the Conklin Hall takeover by the Black Organization of Students and sympathetic supporters, which came at the height of nationwide student activism. The program will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the Dana Room. It is open to the public free of charge.

The panel will be divided into two parts. At 2:30 p.m., current Rutgers students will reflect on issues that affect their collegiate lives, including the new diversity of the post-civil rights movement era, the future of student activism on campus, the new realities of campus culture and the most important legacies of the era of student activism at Rutgers, of which Conklin was the most significant event. Co-moderators for this session are Clement A. Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor and Professor of History at Rutgers-Newark, and Rutgers-Newark social work major Tynesha McHarris, who also is a member of the student activist network "Beyond Campus."

At 3:30 p.m., former Rutgers-Newark students will reflect on turbulent events of 1969, how their lives were affected by those events, their views of contemporary student activism, and the role of activism in academic citizenship. Invited panelists include Joe Brown, Harrison Snell, Michael Immerso, Ivy Davis, Vivian Sanks King, Robert Curvin, Richard Roper, Robert Braun, Paula Borenstein, Alice Dobosh, and Joel Myron. Moderator for this panel will be Cary Booker, associate dean, Rutgers Academic Foundations.

A visual remembrance of the Conklin Hall takeover - an exhibition of photos, fliers and memorabilia memorializing the takeover and the Rutgers-Newark student activism of the late 1960s-early 1970s -- will open in the lobby of Dana Library that day. The exhibition will remain on view until April 30, and then will be donated to the Dana Library Archives. Michael Immerso, a cultural historian and one of the R-N student activists from February 1969, is curating the exhibition, which will be open to the public free of charge.

BOS occupied Conklin Hall for 72 hours, beginning Feb. 24, 1969, to protest the scarcity of black students, black faculty and minority-oriented academic programs on campus, and to demand changes, both on the Newark campus and in the entire University. The occupation helped trigger a chain of events that altered Rutgers, through initiatives such as the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF), the Academic Foundations department, and new recruitment policies that increased the diversity of the student body and faculty.

The March 31 program is supported by the Rutgers-Newark Office of the Provost, and organized by the Institute on Ethnicity, Culture, and the Modern Experience; the John Cotton Dana Library; the Organization of Black Faculty and Staff, and the Black Organization of Students.

For information, contact Lori Barcliff Baptista, barcliff@andromeda.rutgers.edu, or Clement Alexander Price, caprice@andromeda.rutgers.edu.



Posted March 23, 2004