Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.03.01
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to email@example.com
1. OutInColumbus.com – Campus Pride Announces National Voice & Action Leadership Awards Recognizing College Student Leaders
2. The Heights (Boston College) – Perez Awarded for Campus Involvement
3. QNotes Online (Columbia, SC) - Queer issues symposium to be held; New student, staff resource
4. Emory Magazine - Passing the Torch: First directors of centers for women and LGBT community make way
5. Associated Press - Pa. bishop scolds school over gay-rights speaker
6. The Daily Orange (Syracuse University, NY) – Opinion: University should be receptive to needs of transgender students
7. The Daily Colonial (George Washington U, DC) - Frank Rallies LGBT Community at College Dems Event
8. The Dallas Voice – UTA prof leads online petition drive against anti-gay schools
9. Inside Higher Ed – Quick Takes: Bishop and Misericordia Clash on Gay Rights Speaker
10. The Daily Texan (UT-Austin, TX) – Event rallies support for domestic partner benefits
11. Chi Town Daily News (Chicago, IL) – Controversial Westboro church plans U of C protests
12. The University Daily Kansan – Panel to discuss transgender issues
13. Comox Valley Record (British Columbia, Canada) – College host for lecture
14. Gay & Lesbian Times – Beyond the Briefs: SDSU prevails over anti-gay student groups
15. PennLive.com – Gay-Straight Alliance student summit in progress at Dickinson College
16. Chicago Tribune – Dominican University students to counter anti-gay church
17. The Flat Hat (College of William & Mary, VA) – Beyond the 'Burg: Gay student kicked out of ROTC
18. The Star-Ledger, NJ.com – Montclair State students protest bias incidents, report says
1. Out In Columbus, February 18, 2009
Out In America Cities Network, PO Box 164063, Columbus, OH 43216
Campus Pride Announces National Voice & Action Leadership Awards Recognizing College Student Leaders
By OIA Newswire
Charlotte, NC – Campus Pride announced the recipients of its Voice & Action National Leadership Awards this weekend at the Midwest LGBT and Ally College Conference, the nation's largest college conference for LGBT and ally student leaders, hosted at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN.
Three students: Justin Hager from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Celso Perez from Boston College and Shawna Scott from University of Georgia were chosen this year for the prestigious honor. The honorary recognition highlights the extraordinary contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and ally young adult leaders at colleges and universities across the United States.
"Campus Pride is proud to recognize these young adults and the work that is being done at colleges and universities throughout the country. Seldom do we recognize young people who are indeed changing hearts and minds and leading the way today for the future of equality. The Voice & Action Award finally gives visible national recognition where it has long been overdue," said Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director of Campus Pride.
The first recipient Celso Perez, a senior at Boston College, has traveled to Geneva, Switzerland to be an intern at UNAIDS developing relevant technical and policy resources for the UNAIDS prevention website. In addition, the second recipient Shawna Scott, a senior at Univ. of Georgia, pushed for an initiative and received support from the University President to implement two policies that would add sexual orientation to the comprehensive non-discrimination policy as well as provide students faculty, and staff with soft domestic partner benefits. Lastly, the third recipient Justin Hager, a senior at University of Wisconsin-Madison, was an enlistee in the Soulforce Right to Serve campaign opposing "Don't Ask Don't Tell" as well as being the Wisconsin coordinator, national fundraising liaison, and media liaison for the Equality Ride – a two month coach bus tour visiting college campuses which openly discriminate against LGBT people.
"The talent and commitment to the movement shown by all the applicants is the reason Campus Pride developed this national honor," said Christopher Bylone, the head of the selection process and Campus Pride Q Team Coordinator. "These three young adults have gone above the call of duty expected of any student leader in our movement."
According to Bylone, the three recipients were chosen from nearly thirty diverse, quality applicants from college campuses across the country. Each applicant completed an extensive process in the Fall of 2008 to be considered for the award including letters from peer leaders and faculty. The selection committee included student leaders, higher education professionals, corporate leaders and social justice advocates. Two of the recipients, Hager and Perez, were in attendance at the Midwest LGBT and Ally College Conference where they formally received the Voice & Action Award. The remaining student leader recipient, Scott, will receive the honor at the Northeast LGBT and Ally College Conference this April.
The Campus Pride national recognition included a free registration to attend the regional student conference of their choice. The award was made possible this year by corporate sponsors Cargill and Ernst & Young, LLC. In addition, each recipient received a free artist or speaker from OUTmedia, (www.outmedia.org) to bring to his/her campus the following academic year 2009-10. Artists and speakers included LZ Granderson, Team Gina, Vidur Kapur, Jason Stuart, Marga Gomez, Ari Gold, Eddie Sarfaty and Emanuel Xavier. OUTmedia is nationally known for its work in the arts as a queer cultural activist organization and social enterprise promoting LGBT and ally visibility.
"OUTmedia is proud to support Campus Pride and to have our diverse roster of speakers and artists pay tribute to young adult leaders in this special way. Our artists and speakers believe in promoting inclusion and multiculturalism – recognizing all aspects of our community," said Shelly Weiss, founder/owner of OUTmedia.
Windmeyer, said the Voice & Action National Leadership Award is meant to underscore the mission of Campus Pride – "to develop, support and give voice and action in building future LGBT and ally leaders." The award is bestowed upon individuals who use their "voice" to speak up and who take "action" to make a positive difference. Every academic year in the Spring, Campus Pride plans to honor outstanding young adult college students in each region of the country with the Voice & Action National Leadership Award.
To learn more about Campus Pride and to read profiles on each Voice & Action Award recipient, please visit online at www.campuspride.org/voiceandaction.asp or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Believe In -- Campus Pride is the leading national nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) for student leaders and campus organizations working to create safer, more LGBT-friendly colleges and universities. It exists to give "voice and action" in building future LGBT and ally leaders. More info online at www.campuspride.org.
2. The Heights, February 23, 2009
Boston College, McElroy 113, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
Perez Awarded for Campus Involvement
By Julia Wilson
Celso Perez, co-president of GLBTQ Leadership Council (GLC) and A&S '09, was recently awarded the Voice and Action National Leadership Award from Campus Pride, a national nonprofit organization for GLBTQ and ally student leaders on college campuses.
The first annual award recognized three students nationwide out of a pool of nearly 30 applicants for outstanding student activism.
Perez, Justin Hager, and Shawna Scott all received a free registration to attend the regional student conference of their choice and a free artist or speaker from OUTmedia, a queer cultural activist organization, to bring to their respective campuses in the 2009-2010 academic year.
"This is the first year that we created the award," Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, said. "There are no other national awards that recognize young college students who are doing LGBT work on campuses. Other than our organization, there are no other national organizations that focus on college campuses as its mission. We focus on young student leaders because they're the future of the movement. Instead of investing in changing a politician's mind, we're investing our dollars in our future leaders who will ultimately deliver equality for everyone."
Windmeyer identified a central, unifying goal for all GLBTQ and ally student leaders: to create a safe learning environment for all students on college campuses.
"Celso is seen by his peers and faculty as someone who has contributed to college life in a way that has really brought people together within the campus community, forged partnerships and relationships, and role modeled what an LGBT and ally leader should be," Windmeyer said.
"Ultimately the issue boils down to one and that is: 'Do LGBT students find support on campus?'" Windmeyer said. "The mission of the campus is to deliver an academic education in a safe and welcoming learning environment. The main thing is for LGBT students and allies to feel that type of safety. That could come from an LGBT group or from having programs and educational workshops."
"I was encouraged by administration and faculty to apply," Perez said. "I'm grateful for the process for getting me to reflect in a formal manner on my last two years [as GLC president]." John McDargh, associate professor of theology, and Mark Miceli, assistant dean of student development, were among the faculty members who submitted recommendations to Campus Pride on Perez's behalf.
In his recommendation, McDargh recognized Perez as the first campus leader he has felt deserved recognition as "a compelling model of a gay student activist, particularly for other students who, like those at Boston College, are struggling to create a more inclusive and supportive campus environment on denominational college campuses that historically have been indifferent or hostile to their sexual minorities."
Perez recognized the unique advantages of working as a student leader on a college campus. "We can talk about ideas at a university where things may be more pragmatic in the 'real world,'" Perez said. "We can debate openly because we are in an academic setting and take time to analyze different perspectives. It is a critical age for a lot of us to challenge ourselves in a way that's hard to do when you're at home. It takes a certain responsibility to educate and challenge ourselves and engage these questions."
3. QNotes Online, February 21, 2009
PO Box 221841, Charlotte, NC 28222
Queer issues symposium to be held; New student, staff resource
By QNotes Staff
Queer issues symposium to be held
COLUMBIA — The GLBTQ Professional Development Organization of the University of South Carolina will host a series of colloquia at the school on current research highlighting queer issues. The events will be conducted by USC faculty and staff.
The next symposium will be held on March 5 in Davis Hall, room 209 at 5 p.m. and will feature research by Dr. Edmon Tucker, assistant professor in the College of Social Work.
Tucker’s presentation will focus on a study examining the attitudes and characteristics of individuals who verbally harassed or physically attacked others they perceived as being LGBT. Tucker holds a jurisdoctorate from Southern Methodist University School of Law and Ph.D. from Florida International University School of Social Work. His primary research has focused reducing the risks of HIV and other STD contractions among substance-abusing adolescents.
The first USC GLBTQ Professionals colloquium, “Queering South Carolina’s History,” was held on Feb. 5, 2009 and featured research conducted by Santi Thompson. Thompson, staff for the University of South Carolina Libraries, spoke about significant legal cases involving LGBT individuals in South Carolina.
The last colloquium in the series, “The Sexual Health of Sexual Minority Women in South Carolina,” will highlight research by Dr. Lisa Lindley, faculty at the Arnold School of Public Health, and will be held Apr. 2.
The GLBTQ Professionals meet on the first Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. For meeting topics and locations, contact Fiona McDevitt at Fimcde@gmail.com or 803-777-8248.
New student, staff resource
COLUMBIA — A new resource for LGBT students, faculty and staff has been launched at the University of South Carolina.
The new LGBTQ at Carolina website includes extensive resource lists pointing students and staff to LGBT and LGBT-friendly resources on campus, in the community and statewide.
Visit the site at www.sa.sc.edu/lgbtq.
4. Emory Magazine, Winter 2009
Emory Creative Group, 1762 Clifton Road, Plaza 1000, Atlanta, Georgia 30322
Passing the Torch: First directors of centers for women and LGBT community make way
By Paige P. Parvin 96G
The early 1990s saw the beginnings of two vibrant new resources on the University campus—the Center for Women at Emory (CWE) and the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Life. Born of a marriage between community need and administrative foresight, these progressive initiatives have taken concrete shape as warm, lively centers of activity for women and LGBT students, faculty, and staff.
Some fifteen years later, Emory is experiencing the end of an epoch as the first directors of both offices retire.
Ali Crown 85C already had served in various roles (including student) at Emory for more than ten years when she was appointed director of the Center for Women at Emory, then called the Women’s Center, in 1991. A longtime women’s advocate, particularly in the arena of reproductive rights, Crown had been on the President’s Commission for the Status of Women since 1980. “Ever since I arrived on campus I’ve been rabble-rousing for women,” she told Emory Magazine in 2003.
Under Crown’s leadership, the center became a firmly established source of support, social networking, intellectual exchange, and inspiration for women across the University. Its offerings span a wide range, from the Nursing Nest, where mothers can find a cozy corner, to counseling services, professional advocacy, health information, support groups, referrals, and an extensive library.
Signature programs include the Mary Lynn Morgan Annual Lectureship on Women in the Health Professions; Telling Our Stories; the Unsung Heroine awards; financial seminars for women; a Women’s Health and Wellness lunch and learn series; and Conversations on Mid- and Late-Life Transitions.
“Because I am the first director,” Crown says, “it has been not just my responsibility, but my privilege, to set the tone and culture for the center.”
Last fall, that responsibility fell to Dona Yarbrough, who assumed directorship of the CWE in September. Yarbrough came to Emory from Tufts University, where she served as director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center and a lecturer in women’s studies. Prior to working at Tufts, she worked in the women’s center at the University of Virginia, where she also earned an MA and PhD in English.
Yarbrough was impressed with Emory from the start. “There are so many enormous things going on here that make it a very exciting place to be,” she told the CWE newsletter, Women’s News and Narratives, when she arrived.
Like the Center for Women, Emory’s Office of LGBT Life has grown from earnest roots into a flourishing center of programs, events, and services for LGBT community members. Saralyn Chesnut 94PhD, a doctoral candidate in the Institute for Liberal Arts at the time, joined in the catalytic 1992 march on the Quad when a group of students rallied to protest the administration’s handling of a gay harassment case. A few months later, she took leadership of the new office, one of the first of its kind in the South.
“When this job came along, it was the perfect combination of academia and activism,” Chesnut says. “It was a chance to make a difference here and also teach on a college campus.”
And make a difference it did. Within a year of Chesnut’s appointment, sexual orientation was added to Emory’s Equal Opportunity Policy (EOP); in 1995, she was instrumental in the University’s decision to offer domestic partner benefits to employees. Chesnut also helped create the annual Pride Banquet, the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the Safe Space program, and Emory’s participation in National Coming Out Day. More recently, she joined the President’s Commission on LGBT Concerns in successfully advocating for the EOP to be revised to protect transgender people.
“I’m just really happy to have had the opportunity to be a part of making change. And I think Emory will keep moving in the right direction,” says Chesnut, who will continue to teach American and Women’s Studies courses as adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts.
For the Office of LGBT Life, the right direction will be guided by Michael Shutt, assistant dean for Campus Life and the office’s new director. Shutt came to Emory from the University of Georgia, where he was director of the LGBT Resource Center from 2005 to 2008. As the founding director of the center, Shutt, much like Chesnut, helped guide UGA to a new nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policy, domestic partner benefits, and a Safe Space program for the LGBT community. Shutt earned his PhD from UGA in student affairs administration.
“I am excited to be at an institution of higher education with a relatively longstanding commitment to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities,” Shutt says. “When the office opened, Emory joined nine other colleges and universities in providing support services for the LGBTQ communities and it was the first in the South. Today, Emory is listed among the top one hundred most inclusive universities in The Advocate College Guide for LGBT Students and has earned 4.5 of 5 stars in the LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index, a national benchmarking tool launched in 2008 by a nonprofit organization called Campus Pride. Being a leader in this work is exciting and challenging. It is exciting because there is obvious support for the work our office engages in on a daily basis, but a major challenge is not becoming complacent, as there is still much work to be done.”
5. Associated Press, February 24, 2009
450 W. 33rd St., New York, NY 10001
Pa. bishop scolds school over gay-rights speaker
SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A Roman Catholic bishop in northeastern Pennsylvania wants a Catholic university to close a multicultural center because it hosted a visit by a gay-rights advocate.
Scranton Bishop Joseph Martino says Misericordia (miz-ur-ih-KOR'-dee-uh) University shouldn't have sanctioned a Feb. 17 visit by author Keith Boykin. He says viewpoints that contradict Catholic teaching should not be presented "under the guise of 'diversity.'"
The school's Diversity Institute describes itself as an educational resource center that promotes multicultural understanding.
The school said in a statement Tuesday that it "welcomes the opportunity" to discuss the matter with Martino.
6. The Daily Orange, February 24, 2009
744 Ostrom Ave., Syracuse, NY 13210
University should be receptive to needs of transgender students
By The Daily Orange Editorial Board
The goals of the Transgender Task Force to make transgender students feel more comfortable in residence halls and university buildings are ambitious and certainly not unreasonable. Providing gender-neutral bathrooms, housing alternatives and health services help for transgender students is something Syracuse University should take into consideration, particularly when planning future residence halls and buildings.
Transgender students should be able to feel comfortable where they live, and not feel like other people will be judging them or wondering why they're in a certain bathroom. The Transgender Task Force knows the challenges that face these students and the university should take these concerns into consideration.
Having one gender-neutral bathroom per residence hall or university building does not seem unreasonable. "Family" bathrooms that can be used by either gender already exist in plenty of public buildings and are not unusual.
Syracuse should also be ready to meet the needs of these students when it comes to housing and health services, just as they would with students who want to live in a substance-free community or a student who has diabetes. There are programs and services provided by the university for these students - why shouldn't transgender students also have university resources to rely on?
As the Transgender Task Force moves forward with its plans, the university should be open to their concerns and work with the students in making them feel comfortable.
7. The Daily Colonial, February 25, 2009
2121 I Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20052
Frank Rallies LGBT Community at College Dems Event
By Michael Moffett
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) called members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community to action Monday night when he spoke to students at an event held by the College Democrats.
Since becoming the first openly gay representative in 1987, Frank has advocated to increase equality for the LGBT community in the same positive, yet stern tone he speaks with in Congress. His message came especially close to home for Todd Belok ’12, the openly gay student who was involved in the recent GW controversy when he was dismissed from the NROTC.
“He’s been through everything. It’s really cool to see how he’s dealt with everything. He’s very realistic,” he said in an interview.
The third floor room of Marvin Center was full for Frank’s address. However, the College Democrats gave priority seating to members first, leaving several students unable to attend the event after the room filled to maximum capacity.
“We are fighting, but when I started, we were fighting for the right to hold a job,” he said.
While he spoke of progress achieved thus far, he warned those gathered to not become complacent: “The time has come for us to be more demanding,” Frank said. You should ask everyone you know to call their congressman and senator, and say, ‘Vote with us.’”
Frank, 68, said he saw hope in the Obama administration to support the LGBTQ cause, and the president would bring the community closer to gaining legal equality. “I don’t have a radical, homosexual agenda. I just want us to get jobs, join the military, and get married,” he said.
Several times, the congressmen appealed to the logic of those in attendance at one point comparing LGBTQ progress to football.
“Progress is when you start on your own 10 (yard line), and end up on the other guy’s 5 (yard line). That’s where we are now,” Frank said.
However, he mentioned times when logic did not work both ways: “Marches and demonstrations make you feel good… but we’re lucky if we don’t just piss people off and they hurt us.”
Frank’s solution to achieving equality would require more than just protesting, as he said success in healthy living rested on the same key element- being honest about who they are.
“It’s like…try being Jewish and don’t tell anyone. They’re going to know,” he said.
Frank also did not shy away from calling out his opponents on full LGBTQ rights either. “They always argue it (equality) will be disruptive, but it never is,” he said.
“Had the CA referendum been a year later,” Frank added in reference to Proposition 8, “we would have won it.”
Representative Frank’s message resounded well with his GW audience. “I found the congressman to be charming, intelligent, and humorous,” said Maeve Duggan ‘11.
“I liked how positive he was about bringing people to our side of the issue,” said Corey Lewin ’12. “I thought it was awesome, and I absolutely 100 percent agree.”
The congressmen’s partner Jim Ready, 39, was also present at the event, although he did not speak.
8. The Dallas Voice, February 24, 2009
4145 Travis, Third Floor, Dallas, Texas 75204
UTA prof leads online petition drive against anti-gay schools
By John Wright
Charles Hermes, a visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, is leading an online petition drive urging the American Philosophical Association to take a stronger stand against schools that prohibit homosexual acts, according to this report from The Chronicle of Higher Education. The petition, which can be found here, has about 1,000 signatures and urges the APA to prohibit schools that discriminate based on sexual orientation from posting open jobs with the organization’s placement service. Interestingly, Hermes is not gay, but he launched the campaign after a school to which he was applying demanded that he sign a “statement of faith” saying the school “will not condone acts that Scripture forbids,” including homosexuality, according to this blog post.
“To avoid offending those Christians who love their neighbors, and who leave the judging for God, I will hereafter refer to statements like these as statements of discrimination instead of statements of faith,” Hermes wrote.
Now that’s what I call an ally!
9. Inside Higher Ed, February 25, 2009
1320 18th Street NW, Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20036
Quick Takes: Bishop and Misericordia Clash on Gay Rights Speaker
The Rev. Joseph Martino, bishop of Scranton, on Tuesday asked Misericordia University to specify how sexuality is taught at the institution, and whether those teachings are consistent with Roman Catholic teaching. The statement followed an appearance at the university by Keith Boykin, an advocate for gay rights. The bishop had asked that the talk be called off, and he is now asking the university to "seriously consider" abolishing its Diversity Institute, which invited Boykin. "The Bishop’s rationale is that students should learn respect for all races and cultures, but that viewpoints that are in direct opposition to Catholic teaching should not be presented under the guise of 'diversity,' " said a statement from the bishop. "Doing so within a formal structure sanctioned by the institution gives the impression that these viewpoints are acceptable, or that all morality is relative." The university issued a statement indicating that it would be happy to meet with Bishop Martino, and that Misericordia is "committed deeply to its Catholic mission."
10. The Daily Texan, February 23, 2009
The Daily Texan, P.O. Box D, Austin, TX 78713
Event rallies support for domestic partner benefits
By Lena Price
Seventy-four percent of universities across the nation, including all Ivy League institutions, offer health care benefits to the partners of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender faculty and staff. UT is in the minority of schools that does not.
In an attempt to rally support for domestic partner benefits for UT staff and faculty, the Pride and Equity Faculty Staff Association hosted the Texas Equity Conference on Saturday at the AT&T Conference Center.
The event called attention to the 70-page document the organization recently published detailing the potential benefits of offering domestic partner benefits at UT.
“Recruitment and retention efforts have been thwarted as a result of not having this,” said association chairwoman Lynne Milburn.
Representatives from nine Texas universities attended the conference to investigate the process of obtaining benefits for faculty and staff at their schools. About 50 people attended the conference.
“Because we have representatives from nine different state universities in Texas, we’re wanting to create a ground swell,” Milburn said. “We’re hoping that eventually, all the presidents from each of these universities say, ‘This is really hurting the state of Texas in terms of competitiveness.’”
IT manager Brooke Woodruff, one of three people representing Texas A&M University and a member of a GLBT group in College Station, said her organization sent a proposal for a benefits program to A&M administration about two years ago.
“We think that it’s probably on a lawyer’s desk somewhere under a lot of paper,” Woodruff said. “So I would say we’re as far away from achieving anything we’d like as the Gobi Desert is from here.”
State Rep. Elliott Naishtat , D-Austin, spoke on one of four panels that addressed potential legislative impact. Earlier this month, Naishtat proposed House Bill 861, which would amend the Texas Insurance Code to allow universities to provide benefits to domestic partners in addition to spouses and dependents.
“These universities’ commitment to the families of faculty and staff as evidenced by the offering of health insurance benefits to spouses and dependents is clear,” Naishtat said.
“What’s missing is the University of Texas’ and Texas A&M’s commitment to all families. Providing domestic partner benefits to faculty and staff is one way to demonstrate that diversity is truly a value of this state.”
Although the conference was geared primarily toward faculty and staff, a few students attended.
“We can’t do this without our students,” Milburn said. “Next year that will be one of our primary goals, how to integrate and work with students toward this effort.”
Government sophomore Katie Wanamaker, co-director of the Queer Student Alliance, said her organization will host a conference in April to promote the adoption of domestic partner benefits at UT.
“It’s important that students are represented here,” Wanamaker said. “The quality of diversity of staff has a large impact on them.”
Liz Seaton, managing attorney for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, delivered the conference’s keynote address. She emphasized the fact that universities are closer to achieving their goals then they have ever been.
“Equality is on the horizon,” Seaton said. “You can feel it in the air now. We just have to work hard in order to reach it.”
11. Chi Town Daily News, February 23, 2009
800 W. Huron, Suite 3E, Chicago, IL 60642
Controversial Westboro church plans U of C protests
By Peter Sachs
Members of the controversial Westboro Baptist Church are planning three protests in Hyde Park next month, raising the ire of some University of Chicago students.
The Topeka, Kan.-based church plans to protest at the university, as well as at the nearby Chicago Theological Seminary and the university’s law school, according to a schedule on its Web site.
The church has drawn sharp criticism nationwide for protesting at the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq and most recently for picketing at a memorial for people killed in a plane crash in Buffalo, N.Y.
Westboro’s members often picket with brightly colored slights bearing slogans like “God Hates Fags” and target groups that support gay rights. The church argues that disasters like plane crashes and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks are God’s punishment for a nation living in sin.
The group is targeting several so-called evils at its March 9 protests in Chicago. Among them, according to the church's Website: that Theodore Jennings, the founder of the Chicago Theological Seminary, believes Jesus was a homosexual.
And at the University of Chicago itself, the group will argue its contention that President Obama is the Antichrist and misinformed students when he taught at the law school.
U of C students, including freshman Anthony Pence, say they will mount a counterprotest. Pence says he wanted to demonstrate aganst Westboro Baptist Church ever since he saw them at a military funeral in Cincinnati several years ago.
Pence says he was surprised when he saw why the group was coming to Chicago.
“I just laughed. What else can you do?” Pence says. “I mean, these people aren’t thinking clearly. I don’t know how to react when a person says stuff like that. It’s completely irrational.”
After a meeting tonight, Pence hopes to have more concrete plans about the counterprotest. So far, a Facebook.com group on the topic has garnered 600 members and he’s received e-mails from students at Northwestern University and DePaul University who plan to bring groups down to Hyde Park to join the counter-protest.
“We’ve received a wide range of support on campus from college Republicans, college Democrats, to the gay and lesbian community on campus,” Pence says.
Protesting against the church is important, Dan Hartsough, a freshman, says, because while the views of its members are extreme, many people in America share some of those beliefs.
“The very idea that their ideas are somehow disconnected from society ... is very false,” Hartsough says. “They are definitely more extreme from a lot of other groups but in many ways that’s just because they don’t have a filter.”
A spokeswoman for the church was traveling this morning and could not be reached for comment.
Daily News Staff Writer Peter Sachs covers higher education. He can be reached at 773.362.5002, ext. 18
12. The University Daily Kansan, February 24, 2009
111 Stauffer-Flint Hall, 1435 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045
Panel to discuss transgender issues
By David Ugarte
Four transgender people will share their experiences at a panel discussion Wednesday night. “Tranny Talk,” hosted by Queers and Allies, is being held in observance of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s “Transaction Day” this Friday. The day and the panel are meant to encourage dialogue about gender, gender roles and gender identities to advocate safe, inclusive schools for all students.
Jayne Henson, junior and panelist for the event, said the panel was meant to educate students and community members on the importance of transgender rights and issues.
“This panel is important to me because I am transgender and have personally felt the effects of transphobia, which I believe is the direct result of ignorance,” Henson said. “I think the best way to combat this and help put an end to it is through education and giving people a face and a voice to go along with the term ‘transgender.’ ”
Henson said the panel would give audience members the opportunity to hear the stories of transgender people from Kansas and also to have an interactive dialogue with them.
Ryan Campbell, Olathe senior and executive director of Queers and Allies, said gender identity affected everyone and said it was important for individuals to be able to critically consider the expectations of society.
“We hope to de-mystify the word ‘transgender’ for the audience. Our aim is to educate people who may have had little exposure to the conversation of gender identity,” Campbell said. “There continues to be considerable inequality for the queer community, but the transgender population has it the worst. As a gay man, I want to see the gap bridged, and opportunities such as this panel are necessary for equality to occur.”
Cage Letchworth, Lenexa freshman, said he was speaking at the panel because he believed society didn’t accept transgender people.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have been born into my loving family. Not every tranny out there is being supported the way I have been, so I want to be there for them, because I can’t imagine going through this without the people that came before me and sat on panels and offered me their support,” Letchworth said.
Henson said the panel was also meant to raise awareness about Queers and Allies’ efforts to add gender identity and expression to the University’s nondiscrimination policy. Henson said adding gender identity and expression to the policy would help ensure all transgender people at the University could go about their lives on campus with the same rights and protection given to other minorities.
Letchworth said people should be interested in the panel because the ways people challenge gender is not something many people feel comfortable talking about. He said it was important for people to hear about the struggles of transgender people, similar to the struggles of racial minorities and the struggles of humanity in general.
“The more we understand each other, the better we can all work together to make this world a better place to live,” he said.
— Edited by Melissa Johnson
13. Comox Valley Record, February 24, 2009
765 McPhee Avenue, Courtenay, BC V9N
College host for lecture
North Island College and the Department of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University are presenting a free lecture called Messages from Silenced Youth: Homophobia and Transphobia in B.C. High Schools.
The lecture will be given by Dr. Brian Burtch on Feb. 27 from noon to 1 p.m., in the Stan Hagen Theatre at NIC’s Comox Valley campus.
Drawing on data collected by Becky Haskell for her master of arts thesis in criminology, Burtch will review small group discussions and interviews with 16 lesbian, gay and bisexual youth who have recently left British Columbia high schools.
He will discuss participants’ assertions that school curricula generally promote homophobic and transphobic harassment and add to the silencing of many queer youth.
Burtch is a professor in the School of Criminology and associate member of the Department of Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University.
— North Island College
14. Gay & Lesbian Times, February 26, 2009
P.O. Box 34624, San Diego, CA 92163
Beyond the Briefs: SDSU prevails over anti-gay student groups
By Robert DeKoven
On Feb. 6, a local federal judge held that San Diego State University (SDSU) does not have to provide student-supported facilities and services to student groups that discriminate on the basis of religion.
The case began in 2005, but it languished in a local federal court for almost four years while Judge Larry Alan Burns, a George W. Bush appointee, awaited the results of other similar cases. Consequently, it received little media attention, especially given the hoopla surrounding the firefighters’ case. Yet, overall, Judge Burns’ ruling is far more significant than the firefighters’ verdict
The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), which supports all the anti-gay litigation, aims to challenge college campus nondiscrimination policies. The goal is that religious groups gain access to state funds to produce religious tracts, obtain office space and use student-union facilities to hold religious services. In short, ADF seeks to do what the Constitution forbids: move the church onto state property.
ADF wants to turn SDSU’s Aztec Center, funded completely by student fees, into the “Fundamentalist Christian Spiritual Retreat,” with dozens of religious groups from a variety of denominations occupying conference rooms for prayer services. And it was in this context, in 2005, that a religious student organization applied for on-campus recognition at San Diego State University. The group, Every Nation Campus Ministries at San Diego State University (ENCM), had been a campus presence for some time and had agreed to abide by the California State University policy prohibiting student groups from engaging in bias based, among other things, on religion or sexual orientation. Indeed, such a bias was never apparent, as no non-Christian or GLBT students had sought elective office with ENCM.
Nevertheless, when the group submitted its constitution to SDSU, it restricted membership to “Christians who have professed their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ” and declared that each officer and member must sign an oath endorsing ENCM’s “statement of faith,” which prohibited membership to “individuals who believe they are innately homosexual, or advocate the viewpoint that homosexuality is a natural part of God’s created order.”
Consequently, SDSU denied ENCM recognition in October 2005. ENCM then sued the CSU system, claiming the nondiscrimination policy violated its right to freedom of expressive association.
Judge Burns ruled that the state may restrict benefits (subsidies) to groups that discriminate on the basis of religion.
Ironically, he cited a case involving the city of Berkeley, in which the California Supreme Court denied continued subsidies to the Sea Scouts (associated with Boy Scouts of America) because of its anti-gay policies. It held that Sea Scouts, just like ENCM does, can engage in discriminatory conduct, but cannot expect the state to subsidize it.
Burns also ruled that ENCM is not prevented from using public space at SDSU, just as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and other discriminatory groups are not prohibited on campus. However, he said the state does not have to subsidize such groups because their policies have the effect of excluding anyone who does not fall within the purview of their particular beliefs.
More intriguing however, were Judge Burns’ views on ENCM’s policy prohibiting “openly gay” folks. Burns bought ENCM’s view that it does not “discriminate against all gays per se,” only those who view being gay as natural, which of course is nearly all of us. Judge Burns noted that “a practicing homosexual would not be prevented from becoming a member of ENCM so long as he or she viewed homosexual conduct as transgressive of natural law and wanted ENCM’s tenets of sexual morality to sink in.”
He warned, though, that religious groups simply cannot “dodge compliance with nondiscrimination policies, or anti-discrimination law more generally, merely by rebranding an identity requirement as a belief requirement.” Similarly, he noted that the club could not get around discriminating against non-Christians by simply requiring members to “believe a laundry list of things about Jesus Christ and the Bible.”
Of course, this is much like saying the KKK accepts blacks as members so long as they view themselves as inferior to whites and want to become racists. That’s how absurd this part of the judgment is. Because creating a belief system that is wholly contrary to one’s sexual orientation is exactly the same as excluding the entire group.
Robert DeKoven is a professor at California Western School of Law.
15. PennLive.com, February 26, 2009
2405 Park Drive, Suite 201, Harrisburg, PA, 17110
Gay-Straight Alliance student summit in progress at Dickinson College
By Rick Seltzer, Of The Patriot-News
The LGBT Center Coalition of Central Pennsylvania and Dickinson College are holding a Gay-Straight Alliance Student Leadership Summit today at the college in Carlisle. Approximately 160 high school and college students from across Central Pennsylvania are attending along with faculty members from their schools.
The summit is broken into a series of workshops designed to help high school and college students who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning their own sexuality, and those who support them. The workshops included "Allies & Advocacy" sessions, panel discussions on religion and sexuality, and a workshop on HIV.
"Central Pennsylvania is a challenging place for LGBTQ youth," said Louis Marven, the director of administration and youth services at the LGBT Center Coalition. "We want to work toward being a culture where sexual preference, gender identity and expression are valued as components of diversity."
This is the second year the LGBT Center Coalition, which is based in Harrisburg, has held a student leadership summit. Harrisburg Area Community College hosted it last year.
"We became involved because we felt that we needed to advocate and be seen as an important resource for the LGBT community," said Paula Lima, the director of the Office of Diversity Initiatives at Dickinson College.
The summit is scheduled to end at 3:15 today.
16. Chicago Tribune, February 27, 2009
435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611
Dominican University students to counter anti-gay church
By James Kimberly
In a video promoting a weekend performance of "The Laramie Project," Dominican University junior Kendall Monaghan describes the difficulty of portraying a member of the vehemently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church and shouting their hateful chants.
"We just felt horrible saying that, because that would never be something that we would say," said Monaghan of Elmhurst in the video on Dominican's Web site.
When Monaghan takes the stage of Martin Recital Hall at the west suburban River Forest school on Sunday, members of the Westboro congregation will be outside practicing their own unique proselytism.
Dominican, a small Catholic university, did not anticipate controversy when it decided to stage "The Laramie Project," a play about how Laramie, Wyo., was affected by the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard.
The play was selected because "it supports the mission of creating a more just and humane society," said Leslie Rodriguez, managing director of the school's performing arts center.
The school learned a month ago that members of Westboro Baptist intended to travel from Topeka, Kan., to protest the performance.
Dominican students intend to counter with a protest of their own, said MaDonna Thelen, director of service learning at the school.
"The students felt a need to express their solidarity and their standing against what Westboro stands for," Thelen said. "It was the students that decided a silent, non-verbal protest would be the best way."
Thelen will talk to students Sunday about protest methods used by Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. The students intend to remain silent and not speak to the Westboro protesters.
River Forest police and the university have established separate protest areas for each group, and they will be separated by about 50 yards, said university spokeswoman Jessica Mackinnon.
17. The Flat Hat, February 27, 2009
W&M Campus Center, PO Box 8795, Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
Beyond the 'Burg: Gay student kicked out of ROTC
By Ameya Jammi
The Naval ROTC program at George Washington University recently dismissed a midshipman for engaging in homosexual conduct. University policy states that discrimination cannot be allowed by groups with the university’s label, but the NROTC defended its decision by citing the federal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
The individual in question, GWU freshman Todd Belok, was seen kissing his boyfriend at a fraternity party by a fellow midshipman, freshman Dave Perry, as well as his squad leader Nick Trimis.
Perry and Trimis bypassed standard procedure by directly approaching Lt. Kathleen Meeuf, assistant professor of naval science. A few weeks later, Belok was called in by a commanding officer.
“They told me I could drop out or do a Performance Review Board, a PRB, which is a non-judicial review board. I decided to do the PRB so I could try to fight it,” Belok said to The GW Hatchet, the university’s student newspaper.
Belok was dismissed in December.
According to The GW Hatchet, Captain Brian Gawne noted in the final report that Belok was a high achieving member of the NROTC but “[not dismissing Belok] would be purely self-serving and neglectful of my responsibility to uphold policies instituted by our civilian leadership.”
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy bans homosexual conduct to protect service members from uncomfortable situations. According to The New York Times, over 11,000 service members have been dismissed since 1993 due to the policy.
GWU spokeswoman Terry Schario said that since university policy clashed with federal law in this situation, federal law would be upheld.
According to The GW Hatchet, if a university does not comply with the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, federal funding can be withdrawn
Belok is currently working with the Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network to petition the Obama administration and Congress to change the law.
“I don’t have any resentment against my battalion or the Navy,” Belok said to The Hoya, Georgetown University’s student newspaper. “After all, they just carried out a Defense Department policy. I cannot rejoin the Navy unless the current policy changes, and I’m focused on lobbying Congress to ensure that happens.”
18. The Star-Ledger, February 26, 2009
1 Star-Ledger Plaza, Newark, NJ 07102
Montclair State students protest bias incidents, report says
By The Star-Ledger Continuous News Desk
More than 50 Montclair State University students came to a public forum Monday night to discuss two bias incidents last week against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Center located on campus, according to a report on Baristanet.com.
The report said according to Esmilda Abreu, director of equality and diversity at MSU, the word "fag" was written on the door of the LGBT Center last week, and then a note was left quoting Leviticus from the bible and "God and MSU hate fags. Get out of our campus."
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