Rutgers Finally Changes School Song Lyrics to Acknowledge Women Exist


In 1972, Rutgers University admitted its first women. Now, forty-one years later, the University has finally gotten around to changing the lyrics of the school’s alma mater so it’s not all about going to Rutgers and becoming a man because your dad told you to. Uh, yay? I guess?

The New York Times reports that until just this week, the school’s alma mater kicked off with the following lines of text,

My father sent me to old Rutgers
And resolved that I should be a man.

According to the Times, female Rutgers students used to cope with the gendered lyrics by adding “OR WOMAN” to the end of the second line, but that’s clunky and oddly reminiscent of that bit from Monty Python’s Life of Brian where the People’s Front of Judea debates who has the right to have babies. Well, goodbye clunkiness, hello new hotness; in place of the problematic lines are the following,

From far and near we came to Rutgers,
and resolved to learn all that we can.

The Times cites other schools that have changed male-gendered school songs — Dartmouth, Princeton, Davidson College, West Point, Penn State — but (again) missing from the list was my alma mater, the University of Notre Dame.

Like Rutgers, Notre Dame began admitting women in the 1970’s, but unlike Rutgers, priests are in charge at ND and so the place remains to this day an emotionally stunted sausagefest with a fight song that begins with the line “Rally sons of Notre Dame” and ends with the line “while her loyal sons are marching onward to victory.” When I was an undergrad there (about — ugh — a decade ago now), women of ND would hat tip ourselves by pumping our fists in the air at mention of the word “HER” in the last line of the Victory March, even though the “her” in question was supposed to be the Virgin Mary. You know, Jesus’s mom.

I remember occasional grumbling about the stupidity of declaring “HER SONS” were marching to victory when Notre Dame has not won a men’s national championship in any sport since 1988 (since then, women’s soccer has won 3 national championships, women’s basketball has won once, and the combined men’s and women’s fencing team has won four times), but no one really, honestly thought that the school would do anything about it even though it would be super easy to change the lyrics to “While her loyal sons and daughters march onto victory.”

Oh well. At least it makes me feel less bad about never donating to the alumni fund.


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