Protestors seek 'revolutionary' birthday
Holding signs and chanting together, Rutgers students protested an event kicking off the University's 250th anniversary celebration.
“Our Rutgers Revolution” was created to show Rutgers what revolutionary “truly looks like,” by creating awareness about injustices that have occurred and are still occurring in the university and demanding action from the administration.
Various student organizations participated, standing in solidarity against Rutgers' administration to fight for their voices to be heard. Organizations included Rutgers Fossil Fuel Divestment, Native American Cultural Center, Latino Student Council, United Black Council and the Asian Student Council, among other groups.
Their posters listed demands including free higher education, $15 minimum wage and disappointment in the Big Ten.
Students spoke about issues including a lack of equal representation for all races, the University being built by slave-owners on Lenape tribe land and tuition being invested in athletics rather than education or the salary of professors.
Alec Roth, a School of Environmental and Biological sciences senior and Kerry Dyke, a Mason Gross School of the Arts first-year student, both represented Rutgers Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign.
They were fighting for the Board of Trustees to divest from fossil fuels companies and reinvest in clean energy companies.
Monica Torres, a School of Arts and Sciences junior and a Rutgers' Native American Cultural Association member, was fighting for the representation of Native Americans. There are only 21 at Rutgers.
Julissa Mercado, a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said Rutgers is a public university that supposedly supports diversity, but is not interested in the issues students are fighting for.
She said Rutgers is functioning as a bureaucracy and University President Robert L. Barchi is treating it as a business.
Chancellor Richard L. Edwards wrote a letter published in the Targum and emailed to students acknowledging the University's early slaveholder benefactors and said a committee will be formed to study the history of enslaved and disenfranchised people at the University.
But Greg Briskin, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said students are still not being heard.
“We received an email acknowledging (about) how the University was built by slave-owners and on Lenape land but nothing is being done about the issues today and how the University is affecting people right now,” he said.