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hybrid panel hosted in gallagher room. In person panelists holding archive book and zoom panelists in background

One of the Largest Pre-Stonewall Protests Happened Here in 1968

When nearly 200 Bucks County Community College students walked out of classes on May 9, 1968 to protest the administration’s 11th-hour cancellation of a gay rights speaker they’d hired, they didn’t know they were making history. For more than 50 years, the event was nearly forgotten. That is until recently, when a scholar of LGBTQ history found a few mentions in local newspapers about the protest, and contacted the college library to see if there was any coverage by the student newspaper. Deep in the stacks of the County Collegian archives at the college’s Newtown Campus, librarians found several weeks’ worth of articles chronicling the protest and the subsequent fallout. And that’s when historian Marc Stein documented the event as one of the largest gay rights protests prior to the Stonewall Inn uprising in 1969. Stein, a professor at San Francisco State University who has published several books and articles on LGBTQ history, presented his unique research at “Bucks Looks Back: Gay Rights History Made Here,” a forum held Monday, May 9, the 54th anniversary of the protest, at the Newtown Campus and on video conference. “This is an important episode in pre-Stonewall LGBT history, as well as an important episode in the history of higher education and student activism,” Stein noted, speaking on Zoom. “It shows us evidence of changing and conflicting attitudes about homosexuality in the 1960s, especially among young people.” Indeed, Ralph Sassi Jr., a Levittown native who was student government president in 1968, said he approved the request by the cultural affairs committee to hire Richard Leitch, a New York City gay rights activist who had made headlines for challenging the city’s ban on serving homosexuals in bars.   “I felt that my job was to represent all of the needs of the students, from whatever was needed to learn and to broaden the educational experience,” said Sassi, speaking on Zoom from his home in San Diego. “I didn’t think anything of having this speaker come.” But outraged community members thought otherwise, and, bowing to that pressure, founding college president Dr. Charles Rollins canceled Leitch’s lecture just three hours before it was to take place. That led to an hours-long rally in the Tyler Hall courtyard, where Sassi led a peaceful demonstration and discussion with Rollins and the students. The importance of that protest resonates today. “What’s particularly important to note about this event is the power of our students,” said Associate Provost Kelly Kelleway at the opening of the forum. “It was our student body who stood up and showed us this way forward. It was our student body who led us down the path to where we are today. “Today, this college exists to not only improve lives and opportunities for our students and community, but to expand minds in the truest sense of the word,” added Kelleway. “And 54 years ago today, our students perhaps lit a spark to help us get there.” Other panelists included Professor Martin Sutton, who has been teaching at the college since it opened in 1965; Professor Max Probst, who has advised the Open Door Club for LGBTQ+ students and allies; and Monica Kuna, the Director of Libraries who played a pivotal role in helping Stein discover the event’s historical significance. Stein’s research is published as an online digital exhibit in “’Where Perversion is Taught:’ The Untold History of a Gay Rights Demonstration at Bucks County Community College in 1968” on OutHistory.org. The event will also be included in “Out on Campus: A History of LGBTQ+ Activism at Pennsylvania Colleges and Universities,” a traveling and online digital exhibit by the Pennsylvania LGBT History Network coming in September. It will also be added to the digital exhibit at CentralPaLGBTHistory.org.   The Bucks County Community College forum was presented by the college’s Office of Community and Government Relations and DEI Programs, and cosponsored by the Open Door Club. For more information, contact Jean Dolan at jean.dolan@bucks.edu or 215-968-8094.

Centurions Baseball Team Heads to Small College World Series

The Bucks County Community College Centurions baseball team has been chosen as the 7th seed in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association Small College World Series. Bucks will play the 10th seed, Bryant & Stratton College-Albany, on Monday, May 16 when the tournament opens in DuBois, Pa. It’s the first time that Bucks has been invited to the tournament, and the first baseball team invited from the new Eastern States Athletic Conference (ESAC). "This is a fantastic opportunity for our baseball program, our student athletes and coaches, and Bucks County Community College," said Matt Cipriano, the college’s director of student life and athletic programs. "We can’t wait to cheer them on!" The Centurions received the invitation after they won their first ESAC conference championship by defeating Central Penn 14 - 5 on May 5 at Newtown, Pa. Josh McGee, a freshman out of Long Island, N.Y. (Connetquot High School), batted in five runs and Dalton Turner, a freshman from Langhorne (Neshaminy High School), knocked in four to power the team to victory. Both shared player-of-the-game honors for their offensive performances. The Centurions are led by head coach C.J. Brancato and assistant coach Andre Lihotz. The team finished the regular season with a record of 26-21-1. The USCAA Small College World Series takes place May 16 –19 in DuBois, Pa.   Games will be live streamed.  For more information, visit the USCAA Championships webpage.  Bucks County Community College sports are Division II, non-athletic scholarship and compete in the USCAA. Bucks offers six intercollegiate sports in the USCAA in addition to eight club sports. To learn more, visit bucks.edu/athletics.  

Start Smart at Bucks County Community College

7/28/21

Since you’re reading this right now, you’re likely already thinking about college and what that journey will look like. Maybe you’re still in high school or a recent grad. Perhaps you’re a parent doing some incognito research to give your child a “gentle reminder” to think about their future. Or maybe you’ve been at a job for a few years and are now ready to work towards your degree. No matter what your student story is, we at Bucks County Community College are here to help you start smart. Now that sounds great, but I’m sure you’re wondering what “start smart” actually means. To put it simply, it means to achieve all of your academic goals through an affordable, quality education, which we are proud to offer you here at Bucks. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are 4 reasons why beginning your academic career at Bucks is a smart decision: SAVE $$$ You don’t have to pay top dollar for a quality education. Period. Our tuition rates can save you THOUSANDS over the course of your degree. TRANSFER WITH EASE Have your sights set on a bachelor’s degree? We can help get you there. We have more than 25 admission agreements with local colleges + universities that allow the credits you take here to be seamlessly transferred, and you can continue your studies without skipping a beat. TAKE CLASSES NO MATTER WHERE YOU ARE Don’t live in Bucks County? No problem! We offer a variety of remote learning course options that you can access wherever you are, including dozens of degrees and certificate programs that can be completed 100% online. YOU'RE NEVER JUST A NUMBER We know it’s a cliché, but it’s true here at Bucks. Whether you’re taking in-person, online, hybrid, or hy-flex courses, our small class and campus sizes allow you to develop strong relationships with your professors, our staff, and your classmates. Whether you need some extra help with your math homework, are confused about your financial aid package, require accommodations, or have questions about anything at all, we’re here for you.  Ready to start smart at Bucks? Our admissions team is happy to help get you started and answer any questions! Click here for more info or email admissions@bucks.edu.


girl in cap and gown holding diploma and flag Commencement

Commencement

Bucks holds a commencement ceremony every spring in May. Eligible graduates from that year are welcomed to walk in the ceremony. Details about commencement are announced during the Spring semester.

Commencement