RU LGBTQA HISTORY

In February of 1988, the former President of Rutgers University, Edward J. Bloustein, created the President’s Select Committee for Lesbian-Gay Concerns which addressed the issues of homosexual students as well as University faculty members. In 1988, the Select Committee for Lesbian and Gay Concerns assembled and presented specific courses of action the university could take to seriously mitigate the injustices directed towards homosexuals on campus.

The first objective of the Select Committee for Lesbian and Gay Concerns was to establish an Office for Gay and Lesbian Concerns with a minimum of a one full-time staff member, which would monitor the implementation of policies aimed at creating an environment free of fear, violence, or harassment.

In Fall 2005, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs renamed and restructured the former Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian Gay Concerns. This unit became the Office for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities (SJE).

During the Fall 2009 semester, the Office for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities relocated from Bartlett Street to a new space on Livingston Campus in Tillett Hall, where it was rebranded as the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities Resource Center.

Rutgers University LGBTQA History Timeline

1969 Sophomore Lionel Cuffie establishes the Rutgers Student Homophile League on the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick. It was the first openly homosexual organization in New Jersey and one of the oldest organizations on a college campus nationwide. Over time, the league evolved into the Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance of Rutgers University (BiGLARU) and is now known as the Queer Student Alliance (QSA)
1970 The League sets up office in the Rutgers Student Center and holds weekly meetings on the College Avenue campus and discussion groups and socials on the Busch and Douglass campuses.
1974 Rutgers holds its first Blue Jeans Day to raise awareness about gay and lesbian issues among the student population.
1976 The School of Law-Newark organizes the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus to represent LGBT interests and raise awareness on campus. The caucus also encourages the study of law affecting the LGBT community.
1981 Rutgers adopts policies prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, amending anti-discrimination policies first adopted in 1974.
1988 President Edward J. Bloustein establishes the President’s Select Committee for Lesbian-Gay Concerns and directs the New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden provosts to identify a student affairs staff member to assume responsibility for lesbian and gay concerns. These liaisons were responsible for protecting the interests of lesbians and gay men, and later bisexual and transgender individuals, at Rutgers.
1989 David Nichols and Morris J. Kafka-Hozschlag publishes “The Rutgers University Lesbian/Gay Alliance, 1969-1989: The First Twenty Five Years,” a special issue of The Journal of the Rutgers University Libraries.
1991 Organized in conjunction with Princeton University, Rutgers hosts the Fifth Annual Lesbian and Gay Studies Conference.
1992 Rutgers creates the Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian and Gay Concerns, under the direction of Cheryl Clarke, on the New Brunswick Campus.
1996 The University Senate votes to include “gender identity and expression” in Rutgers’ non-discrimination policy.
1998 The university hosts its first Rainbow Graduation Celebration to honor the achievements of LBGT students, and presents the first Lionel Cuffie Award for Activism and Excellence. The award is given each year at Rainbow Graduation to a Rutgers student who embraces the activism and human dignity that marked Cuffie’s life.
2005 Vice President for Student Affairs Gregory Blimling establishes the Gender Identity Taskforce to assist the three Rutgers campuses in creating more welcoming environments for LGBT students.
The Office of Diverse Community Affairs and Lesbian and Gay Concerns is renamed the Office for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities on the New Brunswick Campus.
2006 The Gender Identity Taskforce issues a report with recommendations for short- and long-term changes.
2008 The Rutgers non-discrimination policy is updated to include transgender individuals.
The Office for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities hires Jenny Kurtz to coordinate and consolidate university efforts to enhance the quality of life for LGBT students on the New Brunswick Campus.
2009 On the New Brunswick Campus, the Office for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities expands training workshops on gender identity to departments across the university and moves its office from Bartlett Street on the College Avenue Campus to larger quarters in Tillett Hall on the Livingston Campus. The Office is renamed the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities.
With the help of alumnus Bill Matthews, Rutgers registers its first official LGBTQA alumni group, RUBiGLATA. Partnering with the Rutgers University Foundation and the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities, RUBiGLATA establishes the Rutgers LGBT Leadership Scholarship.
2010 Rutgers awards its first LGBT Leadership Scholarships to two undergraduate students.
Demarest Hall on the New Brunswick Campus becomes the first residence hall to have a multi-stall gender-neutral restroom.
In September, the suicides of several LGBTQ youth—including Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi—spark a national conversation about the ongoing challenges facing LGBTQ youth.
On the New Brunswick Campus, the Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities partner with the Asian American Cultural Center to establish BRIDGE, a weekly dialogue for LGBTQ and ally identified Asian American students to discuss LGBTQ issues in Asian and Pacific Islander American communities.
2011 Rutgers starts the academic year with three new housing initiatives in place: an LGBTQA roommate matching option for first-year students, a gender neutral housing option for upper-class students, and Rainbow Perspectives, a special interest section for students interested in LGBTQA issues.
The LGBTQ and Diversity Resource Center hires Maren Greathouse to coordinate and consolidate university efforts to enhance the quality of life for LGBT students on the Newark Campus.
On the Camden Campus, Rutgers University begins implementing Safe Zone trainings to increase LGBTQ awareness and allyship out of the Office of the Deans of Students.
2012 The Center for Social Justice Education and LGBT Communities hires Zaneta Rago to help further expand education and programs for the New Brunswick Campus.
Rutgers begins the new academic year with a score of 5 out of 5 from Campus Pride’s Campus Climate Index, a national assessment tool on campus climate for LGBTQ students.
The Institute for Research on Women, on the New Brunswick Campus, hosts a year-long seminar on “Trans Studies: Beyond Hetero/Homo Normativities.”
2013 In collaboration with The Tyler Clementi Foundation, Rutgers University establishes the Tyler Clementi Center, which is dedicated to sharing knowledge about young people making the transition to college and coming of age in the digital era.
Campus Pride and The Huffington Post include Rutgers University in its list of “Top 25 LGBT-Friendly Colleges in the Country.”
For the first time since its inception, LGBT Leadership Scholarships are awarded to students from all three Rutgers campuses.
2014 The Tyler Clementi Center facilitates a conversation among leading scholars on the future of LGBTQ Studies at membership schools in the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago.