WATCH: Bon Jovi Debuts New Song at Rutgers-Camden Graduation

Jersey-born rocker Bon Jovi was presented an honorary doctorate of letters this week at the Rutgers-Camden graduation at Susquehanna Bank Center. The gesture recognizes his career as an entertainer and work to raise money for the causes of homelessness and poverty.

During his commencement address, he pulled out his guitar and broke into song, a new ditty he wrote for the occasion called “Reunion.” It includes some inspiring lyrics, telling the graduating class of around 293 to do things like “write your song,” and “start your own revolution”–you know, take-life-by-the-balls kind of stuff. Give it a listen in the Twitter video up top and below. Or watch the full video here.

(h/t 6ABC)


Q&A: Rutgers Law Prof Who Says Pedophilia Is Not a Crime


Margo Kaplan is not very popular today. In the Monday edition of the New York Times, the Rutgers-Camden law professor, an NYU and Harvard graduate, takes to the op-ed pages to argue that we’ve got it all wrong when it comes to pedophilia. She writes that pedophiles don’t necessarily turn out to be child molesters and that pedophilia is not a choice, i.e. a pedophile might be born that way. We reached her in her office in Camden to discuss.

pedophilia-not-a-crime-rutgers-margo-kaplanYou really lit up the comments section of the op-ed page today.
Yes, but I have to be honest. I am getting more emails of support than I ever expected. I’m shocked. I expected to get maybe 95% negative emails, but I’ve gotten so many positive ones. The online comments, though, are pretty uniformly negative, and a lot of people haven’t even read the article. Read more »

Paralyzed Rutgers Player Will Speak at Commencement

Rutgers graduation planning has become an embarrassment to the university. First, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was invited to speak — but she backed out after protests from students and faculty. Then paralyzed Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand said he had been invited to speak, then uninvited in favor of former New Jersey Gov. Thomas Kean.

Read more »

Eric LeGrand, Paralyzed Ex-Rutgers Football Player, ‘Hurt’ by Commencement Decision

UPDATE: Rutgers has released a statement from president Robert Barchi:

“Eric LeGrand will speak at our Commencement and personally receive his degree from me as a representative of the Class of 2014.

It was never our intention that Eric would be the only speaker. We have resolved that miscommunication and are delighted to have him participate.

ORIGINAL: Eric LeGrand is a football player from Middlesex County in New Jersey who played defensive tackle for Rutgers. In 2010, he was paralyzed from the neck down while playing for the Scarlet Knights. He’s since gone on to become a motivational speaker while continuing his rehabilitation.

On Saturday, he says, he was offered a chance to become Rutgers’ commencement speaker. The university had selected Condoleezza Rice to give the commencement speech, but after protests from students and professors — she worked in the Bush administration during the Iraq War, two unpopular things on college campuses — Rice pulled out of the speech.

So Rutgers needed a replacement, and it selected Eric LeGrand. On Monday, he called to confirm the situation. And he says the school decided to go in a different direction.

Read more »

Rutgers-Camden Names New Chancellor

Phoebe Haddon,  the dean of the University of Maryland law school, has been named the new chancellor at Rutgers-Camden. She’ll start her term in New Jersey on July 1. (AP)

Rutgers Profs Protest Condi Rice As Graduation Speaker

At NewsWorks, Chris Satullo notes that profs at Rutgers’ New Brunswick and Newark campuses are protesting the decision to host Condoleezza Rice, George W. Bush’s national security advisor and secretary of state, as this year’s commencement speaker.

H. Bruce Franklin, an English prof on the Newark campus, put this point pungently (maybe a little too pungently): “What we’re doing is awarding an honorary degree and having a commencement speech from someone who is a war criminal.”

Mr. Franklin and I could probably agree that during the Iraq War the United States did things that violated our constitutional values, as well as Christian morals and common sense. And, yes, Condi Rice was in high office while that went on.

Unhappy that Rice is speaking?  Arrange a teach-in on the conduct of the Iraq and Afghanistan war; come up with a plan for a dignified protest at commencement, something that  will make the point without spoiling the day for grads and their families.

Rice is still expected to speak at the May 18 ceremony in Piscataway.

The 2013 Rutgers/LEAP Alfredo Santiago Endowed Scholarship Fundraising Gala

From left: Chef Michele Pastorello, Quinton Aaron, actor from The Blind Side, Sara Manzano-Díaz, director of the U.S. Department of Labor's Women's Bureau, Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, LEAP founder and board chair, and the honorable Nelson Diaz.

From left: Chef Michele Pastorello, Quinton Aaron, actor from The Blind Side, Sara Manzano-Díaz, director of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau, Gloria Bonilla-Santiago, LEAP founder and board chair, and the honorable Nelson Diaz.

On Friday, December 13th, at the Curtis Center, the Rutgers/LEAP Alfredo Santiago Endowed Scholarship held its fundraising gala. The gala is an annual event that raises money to support graduates of LEAP Academy University Charter School who are attending Rutgers University. The scholarship was established in 1999 by CLC Director Dr. Gloria Bonilla-Santiago in loving memory of her husband Alfredo Santiago and with the goal of increasing the number of children in Camden who attend college. Each year the gala raises thousands of dollars for the scholarship through corporate and individual donations, ticket sales and proceeds from a silent auction.

More of HughE Dillon’s photos after the jump »

Rutgers-Camden Law School Penalized

Rutgers-Camden Law School, which already suffers from a bit of reputational lag, won’t be looking much better after today’s news. The school has been fined $25,000 for admitting students who take tests other than the LSAT to get in.

Between 2006 and 2012, the law school admitted dozens of students who took tests other than the LSAT. In 2009, the bar association sent a memo to all accredited law schools clarifying its policy requiring the LSAT, except with prior arrangement.

But Rutgers-Camden continued to admit students who did well on other tests…Over the six years, students accepted with non-LSAT tests made up an average of 6.7 percent of the first-year class, the bar association said.

The school says it did so in part to accommodate applicants who applied after it was too late to take the LSATs. [Inquirer]

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