In the wake of the Newark Rebellion in 1967, and similar social unrest sweeping the nation, Rutgers Law School created the Minority Student Program (MSP) in 1968 – a first-of-its kind effort to diversify the legal profession.
MSP marked what historians called, “The beginning of a serious and long overdue effort to racially diversify the Newark-based law school and the legal profession.”
Fifty years later, the results of this groundbreaking program – which has expanded to include students of economic disadvantage from any background – have been extraordinary.
This April, Rutgers Law School celebrates the 50th anniversary of MSP and is inviting students, faculty, administrators, alumni, and supporters to come back to Newark, the birthplace of the program, for a daylong symposium and evening gala.
Rutgers Law’s MSP has helped hundreds of men and women of color, or from disadvantaged backgrounds, build accomplished careers in the law --including senators, judges, civil and constitutional rights activists, corporate officers, and more.
The program’s impact has been felt widely, whether in the fields of social justice, corporate legal practice, politics, the judiciary, or academia.
The day will begin at 11 a.m. at the renovated former law school building at 15 Washington St. in Newark, where Rhasheda Douglas and Yvette Bravo-Weber, MSP deans in Camden and Newark, will lead a panel of current students talking about their backgrounds and the current program. In addition, former MSP deans will recall the challenges they and MSP faced during their tenure. Professors from both locations will speak about their work as engaged scholarship in important issues of social justice. Rutgers Law Professor David Troutt will conclude the colloquium with what the faculty committee has learned in its review and possible directions the program might take going forward. The colloquium will adjourn at 5 p.m. A bus will run from Camden for current students, faculty and staff.
The event then moves to the Robert Treat Hotel. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m., with a program including the annual student awards and the elected student speaker, and a keynote address by Vincent Warren ’93, executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Then plenty of live music and dancing.
All current members of the Rutgers Law community, including faculty, staff and students, are invited. The cost, which ranges from the regular price of $175, down to $150 for those employed in government or non-profit organizations, to $40 for students and current Rutgers faculty and staff, includes luncheon, gala cocktails, dinner, and souvenirs. Registration is online, using this link: ralumni.com/MSP50, and should be completed by March 23.
The Minority Student Program now has 2,500 alumni, people who may well not have had the opportunity to pursue a legal career without this program. Rutgers Law alumni have diversified the legal profession in New Jersey and beyond. Come participate as we look back, analyze, and prepare for the next 50 years!