Minority Student Program (MSP) students at Rutgers Law School in Newark will have the chance to gain valuable experience during the summer at the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice (NJISJ), thanks to the new Professor Alfred A. Slocum Social Justice Internship Fund, launched this year by Oliver Quinn RLAW ’75, chair of the Rutgers University-Newark Advisory Board, former MSP dean, and former member of the Board of NJISJ.
The internship fund is named for Professor Alfred Slocum RLAW ’70, who, while a student, was a spokesperson for the rights of people of color and other minorities at the law school, and was a member of the committee that led to the creation of the Minority Student Program, 52 years ago.
He taught at Rutgers Law an associate professor of law from 1973 until his retirement in 2001, interrupted by two public service positions—as executive director of the ABA’s Council on Legal Education Opportunity and as New Jersey public advocate and defender under Governor Thomas Kean from 1985 until 1990. He died in 2018 and was memorialized at a ceremony at the law school in spring 2019.
The internship bearing his name will pay $5,000 stipends for two Newark MSP students each summer who will work at the NJISJ. The Institute employs a range of advocacy tools, including research, analysis, legislative strategies and litigation to create just, vibrant and healthy urban communities.
The Institute also has close ties to Rutgers Law School: Professor Douglas Eakeley chairs its Board of Trustees, which includes Professor Elise Boddie, former Dean John J. Farmer, Jr, former MSP Dean Nina Mitchell Wells, and alumni Patricia Nachtigal RLAW ’76, Michael D. Francis RLAW ’70, and B. John Pendleton RLAW ’84.
Rutgers Law students will participate in the Institute’s established summer program, which will provide meaningful research and education opportunities for the Slocum Scholars, who will finish the summer with a writing sample that will help them obtain jobs after law school.
The internship fund was announced by Quinn, who is the fund’s first donor and is spearheading fundraising for the fund. He reflected on Professor Slocum’s impact, “We knew him as a professor who believed in us and accepted nothing but the best his students could offer . . . Many of us benefitted from Professor Slocum’s teaching, counseling and caring both as law students and during our careers.”
Oliver Quinn, RLAW '75
Rutgers Law School co-dean David Lopez, the Alfred Slocum Scholar, said it is fitting that Rutgers Law students should be able to gain valuable summer internship experience named after Slocum, a pioneer for minority rights, “He exemplified the values of diversity and scholarship we continue to offer at Rutgers Law and was an inspiration, paving the way for many students to get a legal education.”
Both Quinn and Lopez plan that as the fund grows, the goal is to place additional MSP students at other social justice institutions, including the Center for Constitutional Rights, where MSP alumnus Vincent Warren RLAW ’93 serves as the executive director.