Rutgers University is rewriting the opening lines of its 140-year-old alma mater, “On the Banks of the Old Raritan,” to be gender-neutral, following years of debate and complaints that the lyrics were sexist.
The first verse, which begins “My father sent me to old Rutgers/ And resolv’d that I should be a man,” will change to “From far and near we came to Rutgers/ And resolved to learn all that we can.” The university’s Glee Club will give the new lyrics their official debut on Saturday, during a football game against the University of Arkansas. Rutgers officials said the Glee Club had the right to change the lyrics without a campus vote.
Patrick Gardner, the university’s director of choral activities and author of the new lyrics, said the song had been the subject of debate for many years. He said, “50 percent of the student body shouldn’t have to sing they want to become a man.”Return to Top