Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.08.02
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Journal Star - Community columnist: Following God’s will in stand on GLBT rights
2. Journal Star - Obituaries: Louis Crompton
3. Bay Area Reporter - Gay studies expert Louis Crompton dies
4. The Record - Transsexual says college failed to address harassment
5. Star Bulletin - UH center to incorporate gender tolerance policy
6. Inside Higher Ed - Shifting Benefits
7. Bay Area Reporter - Gay professor Simon Karlinsky dies
8. Out & About Newspaper - New Vanderbilt HIV study targets gay men
9. Hartford Courant - Opinion: Do Gay Rights Trump Religion?
10. Vanderbilt University’s News Network - Spencer to direct Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center
11. Honolulu Advertiser - Swift discipline urged over coach's 'hurtful language'
12. Honolulu Advertiser - UH details actions against McMackin
13. Honolulu Advertiser - UH coach McMackin suspended, takes pay cut
14. Honolulu Advertiser - WAC will announce Monday what action it will take against McMackin
1. Journal Star, July 24, 2009
926 P Street, Lincoln, NE 68508
Community columnist: Following God’s will in stand on GLBT rights
By Lisa PytlikZillig
I've been talking with people about gay rights and religious beliefs. And, as you know, I recently got a note saying:
"God vs. civil rights? It can't work. God will always win ... "
This statement reminded me that those of my family and friends who vote against gay rights laws don't see it as a matter of God vs. civil rights. They typically don't see it as having to do with civil rights at all. More central to them, I think, are their moral beliefs and their beliefs in you.
It also reminded me of common ground that I, a gay advocate, share with these family and friends: All of us, in spite of our differing beliefs about what you want, are still trying to do what we believe you want. We are all trying to follow your will.
I guess the main difference is, unlike many of my Christian brothers and sisters, I don't believe you forbid people of the same gender from loving each other, committing to each other, and expressing that love and commitment through sex and marriage.
In fact, I believe that you already have blessed many same-sex relationships, which in your eyes are spiritual marriages, and that you have extended your blessing without waiting for permission from either the government or churches. And, as I've said before, I think you are calling people like me, those in the majority who are relatively unaffected by gay rights issues, to stand up for those in the minority who are affected.
The question is, how did I get here? How does anyone like me, raised in predominantly Christian surroundings, go from believing homosexuality is a sin to believing that, not only is it not a sin, but that you are calling me to stand up for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people?
Lord, you know I didn't want this battle. You called my attention to it numerous times over many years. Early on you made me aware that same-sex lifemates, no matter how long they were together, could be denied hospital visits, survivorship rights and the right to sue the perpetrator if their lifemate was killed by a crime. Even worse, their children could be denied their right to stay with their surviving parent, or could be left in poverty if they had a stay-at-home parent and the bread-winning parent died. But I ignored the feeling that I should do something. I told myself I wasn't an activist. That these issues didn't affect me. And anyway, I was busy.
So, you brought more people into my life. People who could provide plenty of evidence that true, mature, sacrificial love occurs between same-gender couples in the same way that it occurs between different-gender couples. People who would tell me about the thousands of dollars (over $7,000 in one case) they had to spend in order to have legal documents drawn up that allow them just a small fraction of hundreds of state rights but none of the 1,138 federal rights, responsibilities and protections that automatically come with a $15 Nebraska marriage license.
Feeling caught in the middle between the injustices you kept revealing to me, and the more traditional Christian beliefs surrounding me, I eventually did feel that I had to stop ignoring the issue and try to make some sense of it.
In addition to the various secular arguments, I read about different Biblical viewpoints, including "The Gay Christian Great Debate" provided by
gaychristian.net, and numerous books. But those perspectives only convinced me further that good people on both sides of this debate authentically, honestly and reasonably disagree about what you want.
So, Lord, even to this day, I humbly recognize that without presuming to be you, no one on either side of the debate can rule out that they might be wrong about what you think. But that controversy stands in stark contrast to the fact that you clearly, without a doubt, call us to love one another - and to love each other regardless of what genders we are attracted to.
I know that some people resolve this in their minds by saying, "love the sinner, hate the sin," or by saying that they don't condemn gay people, they only condemn gay behavior. But our current culture and laws do the opposite. Current laws don't stop same-sex sexual behavior or extend love to GLBTs. But they do succeed in condemning GLBTs to life as second-class citizens who fear for their families and are denied benefits and protections that I and my family take for granted.
Lord, the conviction that you are calling me and others to take a stand for GLBT civil rights is strong, and so that's what I'm doing. In love, faith and obedience, your will, not mine, be done. Amen.
Lisa PytlikZillig is a researcher at the University of Nebraska.
2. Journal Star, July 19, 2009
926 P Street, Lincoln, NE 68508
Obituaries: Louis Crompton
Louis Crompton, an internationally noted scholar of nineteenth-century British literature and pioneer of gay studies, died at age 84 in El Cerrito, Calif. on July 11, 2009. Born in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada, on April 5, 1925, he was the son of Clarence Crompton, Master Mariner, and Mabel Crompton. He graduated from the University of Toronto with an M.A. in mathematics in 1948, and from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in English in 1954. After teaching mathematics at the University of British Columbia and English at the University of Toronto, he joined the English department at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1955, retiring in 1989. In 1959 he taught as visiting professor at the University of Chicago and in 1961 at the University of California at Berkeley. He especially enjoyed teaching graduate students and mentoring candidates for the doctorate. His work in the early days of the gay movement has been included in a soon-to-be released documentary film, Before Homosexuals, directed by John Scagliotti.
Crompton had an international reputation as a Shavian scholar. In 1966 he was awarded the Frank H. Woods Foundation Fellowship to do research on Bernard Shaw at the British Museum. His book on Shaw's plays, Shaw the Dramatist, won him the national Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism for 1969.
In 1970 his pioneering course in gay studies, the second in the nation, became an issue in that year's state elections; one legislator not averse to controversy introduced a bill banning the teaching about homosexuality at any state college. The bill failed.
Crompton served as faculty adviser for the Gay Action Group, the first gay student organization at UNL. For twenty years he advised its successor, the Gay/Lesbian Student Association and helped found UNL's Homophobia Awareness Committee, started by faculty, staff, and students to improve the climate for gay and lesbian people on campus. He was a long-time member of UNL's Committee on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns and in 2003 received the Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contributions to the GLBT Community.
In 1974 Crompton co-founded the Gay and Lesbian Caucus of the Modern Language Association which attracted a large membership. In 1985 the University of California Press published his Byron and Greek Love which was widely and favorably reviewed on both sides of the Atlantic. UNL honored his scholarship in 1986 by conferring on him the Award for Outstanding Research and Creative Activity. His last book, Homosexuality and Civilization, published by the Harvard University Press, covered 2500 years of world history and was awarded the Bonnie Zimmerman and Vern L. Bullough prize of the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality award for 2003.
Crompton is survived by his husband, Luis Diaz-Perdomo, El Cerrito, Calif.; his brother, Gordon Crompton; sister-in-law, Marion Crompton; and his nephew, Robert Crompton, St. Catharines, Ontario; and by his niece, Nancy Crompton, New Westminister, British Columbia.
Memorials, which are tax deductible contributions, may be made online at www.nufoundation.org/crompton or sent to the University of Nebraska Foundation, 1010 Lincoln Mall Suite 300, Lincoln, NE 68508. Checks should be drawn to the University of Nebraska Foundation and directed to the Louis Crompton Scholarship Fund. A Memorial Service will be held in early September in Lincoln. Arrangements by Roper and Sons Funeral Services. Condolences or personal reflections may be sent online at www.roperandsons.com
3. Bay Area Reporter, July 30, 2009
395 Ninth Street, San Francisco CA 94103
Gay studies expert Louis Crompton dies
By Cynthia Laird
East Bay resident and gay studies expert Louis Crompton, Ph.D., died in El Cerrito, California on July 11. He was 84.
The cause of death was cancer, said his partner, Luis Diaz-Perdomo.
Mr. Crompton was born in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada, on April 5, 1925. He was the son of Clarence Crompton, master mariner, and Mabel Crompton. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a master's degree in mathematics in 1948, and from the University of Chicago with a Ph.D. in English in 1954. After teaching mathematics at the University of British Columbia and English at the University of Toronto, he joined the English department at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 1955, retiring in 1989. In 1959 he taught as visiting professor at the University of Chicago and in 1961 at the University of California at Berkeley. He especially enjoyed teaching graduate students and mentoring candidates for the doctorate.
His fields of specialization included 19th century British literature and gay studies. In 1966 he was awarded the Frank H. Woods Foundation Fellowship to do research on Bernard Shaw at the British Museum. His book on Shaw's plays won him the national Phi Beta Kappa Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism for 1969. In 1970 his pioneering course in gay studies became an issue in that year's state elections; one legislator not averse to controversy introduced a bill banning the teaching about homosexuality at any state college. The bill failed.
In 1974 Mr. Crompton founded the Gay and Lesbian Caucus for the Modern Languages, which attracted a large membership. In 1985 the University of California Press published his Byron and Greek Love , which was widely reviewed on both sides of the Atlantic. His last book, Homosexuality and Civilization , published by the Harvard University Press, covered 2,500 years of Western history and was awarded the Bonnie Zimmerman and Vern L. Bullough prize of the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality award for 2003.
Diaz-Perdomo said that there would be a documentary coming out next year in which Mr. Crompton participated.
In addition to his partner, Mr. Crompton is survived by his brother Gordon Crompton, sister-in-law Marion Crompton, and his nephew Robert Crompton of St. Catharines, Ontario, and by his niece Nancy Crompton, New Westminister, British Columbia.
Memorial donations can be made to the Louis Crompton Scholarship Fund for GLBT Students, 1010 Lincoln Mall, Suite 300, Lincoln, Nebraska 65808.
4. The Record, July 27, 2009
Transsexual says college failed to address harassment
By Cherri Greeno
KITCHENER — Janet Merner hasn’t had an easy life. As a transsexual, she says she’s been teased, denied jobs and, most recently, forced to quit school because of constant harassment.
Now, she’s had enough.
“I’m a regular person,” said Merner, 40, as she protested outside Conestoga College Monday morning.
As a woman living in a man’s body, Merner — who just recently changed her name from Philip to Janet — drew lots of stares from fellow students last year. She says she was called horrible names and, at one point, challenged to a fight. Although the harassment was upsetting, what hurt Merner the most was that the college did nothing to stop it, she says.
“Basically, I couldn’t come to class anymore,” she said. “I felt like garbage.”
She says she quit during the second semester and contemplated suicide.
She sent an email to the college, accusing them of condoning the harassment by doing nothing to stop it. She wants the college to better educate students on transgendered issues and change its policy so that students who harass other students will face serious consequences.
“The college doesn’t do anything to protect transsexuals against these people,” she said. “I want to be able to go to this school and walk safely in the hallways.”
Mike Dinning, vice president of student affairs at the college, said reports of harassment at the school are taken “very, very seriously.”
He said security was made aware of one incident last year that involved Merner and that it was dealt with in an appropriate manner.
Dinning also said the college has a Respect program that focuses on educating students on courtesy and civility to make the college a welcoming place for all students.
“That’s an indication that the college wants to be an inclusive environment,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can. We’re not saying we’re a perfect place.”
The college also added a gender-neutral washroom for students who don’t feel comfortable going into a male or female washroom.
Merner said she would consider returning to the college if she felt safe. After all, she realizes the need for an education.
She has tried — and failed — many times to get jobs but says people laugh her off. Right now, she runs a small computer technician company — Onsite Computer Service and Sales.
“I’m a regular person. I want to get a job. I want to work. I want to earn a living in the world,” she says.
Dinning has offered to meet with Merner at any location she chooses to discuss the issue. Merner said she would rather discuss the matter via email.
She plans to continue her protest until the end of August.
5. Star Bulletin, July 28, 2009
500 Ala Moana Blvd. #7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813
UH center to incorporate gender tolerance policy
By Craig Gima
A planned $38 million expansion of the Campus Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa is the first project that will be reviewed under a new policy that prohibits discrimination based on "gender identity and expression."
The Board of Regents adopted the policy at its June meeting. UH joins more than 260 colleges and universities that have added the category to their policies to prevent harassment and affirm the university's "commitment to tolerance and respect for gender diversity," the university said in a news release.
The university is reviewing plans for the new fitness and recreation center expansion at the Campus Center to make sure it includes "family-friendly" or unisex bathrooms and locker rooms, said Brian Minaai, UH vice president for capital improvements.
Other new buildings and renovations will be reviewed to make sure they conform with the policy, he said.
The precise approach has not yet been determined, but could include, in addition to men's rooms and women's rooms, a third, more private facility, perhaps with a diaper changing table.
The UH Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action is also reviewing and coming up with guidelines for unisex facilities in all campus buildings to resolve privacy and safety issues.
The term "gender identity and expression" refers to transgender, transsexual or other persons whose gender identity is different from the sex they are born with or whose personal characteristics, dress or behavior do not conform to social norms about gender.
In addition to including "gender identity and expression" as a protected category, the board also approved technical changes including updating the term "handicap" to "disability," changing "veteran status" to "status as a covered veteran," and changing "sexual harassment" to "discriminatory harassment, including sexual harassment."
Cameron Miyamoto, coordinator of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trangender Student Services Office, said the university has been working on the policy for about five years.
It has the support of the UH Commission on the Status of Women, the UH Commission on Disability Access, the UH-Manoa Commission on Diversity and the Council of Senior Student Affairs Officers.
Miyamoto said the board's action is not related to a lawsuit last year by a gay couple who said they were denied family housing.
The suit was settled when the university revised its family housing policy to include domestic partners and domestic partners with children.
6. Inside Higher Ed, July 29, 2009
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
By Scott Jaschik
Colleges paid more for employee health coverage in 2008-9 -- and so did employees who are usually required to contribute a share of those costs. The increased costs for colleges outpaced those of the employees, especially those with family coverage.
These are some of the findings from the annual survey on benefits conducted by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources. While some increased costs are expected, this year's totals may be more painful both to individuals (many of whom are making do without raises or with furloughs that effectively cut salaries) and to institutions (many of which are taking in less money than in previous years).
At the same time, the survey noted expanded coverage for same-sex domestic partners of college employees, which may soon be offered by at least half of colleges, according to the survey.
Here are the key figures for overall changes in costs of health insurance: (click link to see chart)
Andy Brantley, president and CEO of CUPA-HR, said that the numbers are "a wake-up call that we need real health care reform." Brantley said that it is commendable that colleges and universities are paying as much as they are for employee coverage, but that the pressures on institutional budgets are real, and that the system needs to change.
Right now, he noted, the changes that are taking place beyond pure premium costs involve attempts by institutions to manage costs and to shift types of health coverage that they offer -- and Brantley predicted more such efforts if health care continues to become more expensive. The survey found that in the last three years, only 36 percent of institutions have conducted studies of the types of diseases prevalent among their employees.
Brantley said that such studies can lead to options that do not take away from the quality of care. For example, if a college finds many employees using a particularly expensive drug for which a comparable generic is available, this information can help the institution focus attention on using the less expensive alternative. In a sign of institutional commitment to promoting health, 52 percent of colleges in the survey said that they have a wellness program. But a relatively small proportion -- 17 percent -- know the percentage of employees using the services.
One trend documented in the survey that may concern many employees is the increase in "consumer driven" health insurance plans by colleges. These typically involve employees setting up tax-free accounts to pay for some care, and then high deductibles for major medical expenses. This year, 17 percent of colleges were offering the plans, up from 11 percent two years ago. Brantley said that a few years prior, hardly any colleges were using the plans.
Domestic Partner Benefits
This year, as has been the case for the last three years, more colleges are offering health benefits for domestic partners of employees. For same sex partners, the percentage increased to 46 percent from 42 percent a year ago. For opposite sex partners, the percentage increase to 37 percent from 34 percent a year ago.
The CUPA-HR survey would not count as domestic partners gay and lesbian married couples in the states that recognize such marriages. As a result, the data suggest that close to half or perhaps half of colleges may now be offering health insurance for the partners of at least some gay employees.
Brantley predicted that the percentage of colleges offering benefits for same-sex partners would continue to increase, and said that institutions view this as a competitive issue. "I think that more and more institutions see that as an essential benefit they need to provide to be competitive," he said. "As key faculty and staff are reviewing their employment options around the country, that is one of the things that many potential employees are reviewing in terms of the culture."
7. Bay Area Reporter, July 30, 2009
395 Ninth Street, San Francisco CA 94103
Gay professor Simon Karlinsky dies
By Cynthia Laird
Simon Karlinsky, an openly gay distinguished professor in the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on the history of homosexuality in Russia, died July 5 due to congestive heart failure. He was 84.
Mr. Karlinsky's death was announced by his husband, Peter Carleton. The couple lived in Kensignton.
For more than 30 years Mr. Karlinsky taught at UC Berkeley. He was an author and editor of books on Gogol, Nabokov and Chekov, and an internationally known expert on the history of homosexuality in Russia.
He was born on September 22, 1924 in the city of Harbin, a Russian cultural outpost in Manchuria (now China).
With numerous books and articles to his credit, Mr. Karlinsky is best known as the author or editor of books concerning major Russian writers, mostly of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Edmund White, in the Washington Post Book World, called Professor Karlinsky's Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol (1976) "a brilliant new biography that will long be prized for its illuminating psychological insights into Gogol's actions, its informative readings of his fiction and drama, and its own stylistic grace and vivacity." Praising Mr. Karlinsky's editing of Dear Bunny, Dear Volodya: The Nabokov-Wilson Letters, 1940-1971 (1979), John Updike wrote in the New Yorker , "Both the correspondents, tireless devotees of linguistic fine points, would have relished their editor's scrupulous rigor."
Mr. Karlinsky was the collaborator on translation with Michael Henry Heim of Letters of Anton Chekhov (1973) to which he also contributed the introduction and commentary. He was the author of two books on the poet Marina Tsvetaeva (1966, 1985), Russian Drama from its Beginnings to the Age of Pushkin (1985), and several other books.
Additionally, Mr. Karlinsky was a contributor to such publications as the New York Times Book Review, the Nation, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, Saturday Review, Russian Review, Slavic Review, and East European Review.
To a nascent gay audience, Mr. Karlinsky was a pioneering writer of mold-breaking articles for publications spawned by the gay rights movement. For Christopher Street Gay Sunshine, and the Advocate he wrote on such topics as Russian gay literature and history from the 11th century onward, pre-Soviet gay life, the impact of the October Revolution on gay literature and culture, Diaghilev, Tchaichovsky, Gogol, and the persecution of the out Russian poet Gennady Trifonov. His biography of Gogol was the first to address the homosexuality of the famed Russian writer, and its impact on his work.
Mr. Karlinsky emigrated from Manchuria, arriving in the United States in October 1938. He attended Belmont High School in Los Angeles, and joined the U.S. Army in 1943 and was liaison interpreter for the U. S. Department of State in Germany, 1945-50; translator-interpreter in the Control Council for Germany, 1946-48; and liaison officer for the U.S. Command in Berlin, 1952-57. During that time, he met gay Russian soldiers who piqued his interest in gay life both before and during the Soviet regime.
He attended Los Angeles City College, cole Normale de Musique (Paris), Berlin Hochschule fr Musik, and the University of California at Berkeley where he received a B.A. in 1960. He was a Woodrow Wilson fellow at Harvard University where he earned his M.A in 1961. He returned to UC Berkeley where he received his Ph.D. in Slavic Languages and Literatures in 1964.
Mr. Karlinsky joined the faculty of the Slavic Languages and Literatures Department at UC Berkeley in 1964 and remained there for 26 years, when he was named professor emeritus in 1991. He was a visiting associate professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Harvard in 1966, and was the recipient of Guggenheim Fellowships in 1969-70 and 1978.
Mr. Karlinsky is survived by his husband. The couple were companions since 1974, and were married in a small private ceremony in Oakland at the Alameda County Recorder's office last October. He is also survived by cousins in Alabama, Florida, New York, and San Francisco.
8. Out & About Newspaper, July 31, 2009
617 Hart Lane, Nashville, TN 37216
New Vanderbilt HIV study targets gay men
By Kristin Keiper
Gay men were the first American's to contract HIV in the early 1980's, and from there rumors developed and spread for years that it was a disease of and from gay men. While those myths have been dispelled in recent years, now men who sleep with men being given a chance to help find a vaccine for HIV through Vanderbilt University's HIV Vaccine Program.
For the past 21 years, scientists in Vanderbilt University's HIV Vaccine Program have been working toward stopping the spread of the global disease. Led by Kyle Rybczyk, FNP, RN, program coordinator, they are a part of an international network known as the HIV Vaccine Trials Network and their latest study, which opened late last month, is turning its focus to men who have sex with men (MSM) - a demographic that is disproportionately affected by the disease.
“The gay male demographic was the hardest hit in the very beginning," Rybczyk said. "It’s interesting that there is now an opportunity for men who aren’t infected with HIV to make an impact.”
The study, called HVTN 505, is being conducted nationwide and will track 1,350 men for up to five years. Vanderbilt was the first site to enroll a participant in the study and must enroll a total of 100 MSM in the next few months.
“Part of the excitement for this study—for any field of research, really—is to get the first subject enrolled, because that really starts the momentum for all the sites, and Vanderbilt was the first site to get someone enrolled in the study, which surprised our entire network,” Rybsyck said. “We need lots of men to call in, this is not a small project for us, or for the network. It’s one of the biggest things we’ve done, which adds both excitement and challenge.”
The study requires little on the part of each participant. The first step is an education session to learn how the study works.
Rybczyk said a common question asked is whether or not it is possible to get HIV from the vaccine. The answer is 'no.'
“There’s no chance of getting infected from the vaccine," Rybczyk said. "In blood tests, we can absolutely tell the difference between whether you become HIV -infected or whether you have antibodies from the vaccine."
The initial appointment includes no commitment, no forms to be signed or blood drawn. The study policy precludes a potential participant from being educated and having their screening the same day.
“All potential participants go home and have to think about the commitment and what it means," Rybczyk said. "We don’t want anyone to enroll because they feel pressure. We’re not out to just fill the numbers, we’re out to better the world. So, it’s a very non-threatening, easy, one-on-one session to go over information about the trial."
After deciding to enroll, candidates are screened to ensure they meet the requirements for the study. If approved, they share their medical history and undergo a physical exam before receiving their first vaccination. From there, regular appointments are scheduled for blood draws and questionnaires, very similar to doctor’s appointments.
The HVTN 505 study requires most visits - about 12 to 15 - in the first twelve months. Afterwards, there is a long-term period of follow-up to gain data, with visits scheduled in three-month intervals for up to five years.
Rbyszyck said interested participants shouldn’t be swayed by the long-term commitment. Patient data can easily be transferred to another research cite, if the patient move to another cite city and would receive an NIAID card that provides direct access to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“We and the NIH have become very adept over the years at setting up tests for past participants who’ve moved to locations where there aren’t study sites who need to be HIV-tested,” Rybczyk said. “We don’t leave them hanging. We take care of our volunteers.”
Rybczyk said this isn't expected to be the study that stops the spread of HIV, but he said it is a vital step in reaching that goal.
“It’s a very exciting study, but we’re very frank about this - It won’t be the study that makes us say, ‘Yes! We’ve found it. We can now end HIV,’" Rybczyk said. “It is a step in the process, but it is the first major study that we’ve done solely in men who have sex with men, and we look forward to the data we can learn in that population."
9. Hartford Courant, July 26, 2009
285 Broad Street, Hartford, CT 06115
Opinion: Do Gay Rights Trump Religion?
By Robert Anthony Moranto
We shouldn't have to choose between gay rights and religious liberties.
The media often report on the very real pain of same-sex couples unable to validate their relationships through marriage. But reporters almost never discuss the full implications of same-sex marriage, or the underlying aims of some of its supporters.
Privately, many of my fellow professors argue that a religiously affiliated college or university should receive no government funding for student loans or faculty research until gay and lesbian couples can wed at the campus chapel, synagogue or mosque.
I was reminded of this recently when the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a lower court ruling that the University of California could deny recognition to a Christian student group that did not allow its members to engage in "unrepentant homosexual conduct." This is just one of a number of recent court and bureaucratic decisions forcing faith-based institutions to embrace gay rights, no matter their sacred beliefs.
Yeshiva University was ordered to allow same-sex couples in its married dormitory. In Boston, Catholic Charities ended adoptions after the state supreme court forced it to place children with gay and lesbian couples. In short, many intellectuals not only want to permit same-sex marriage; they want to stigmatize religious dissenters as either bigots or fools.
Recently, such secular intolerance made me a conscientious objector in this particular culture war. At a political science conference, I had the temerity to argue that, rather than refusing to hold our conventions in states without same-sex marriage, we professors should tolerate a wide range of views. Given the reaction, I'm just glad I don't need a grant from any of the professors who heard it.
I can't support intolerance of religion. As President Barack Obama might put it, I am a red-state American with gay friends who deserve the right to marry (and divorce). But I also spent many years teaching in a blue state at Villanova University, where the Augustinian Brothers worship an awesome God, who does not allow hatred. Even so, Catholic intellectuals make reasonable claims that children benefit from the monogamous union of a man and woman, who together provide strength and diverse perspectives through their gender differences.
Legitimate concerns about the effect of same-sex marriage on children are not yet resolved by social science, as my friend Richard Redding, who does not oppose gay marriage, points out in his recent Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy article reviewing all of the research on same-sex parenting.
Moreover, same-sex marriage opponents have a point when they argue that on this issue, race-based civil rights approaches should not apply. Race is so uncertain a concept that some scholars deny its objective existence, while gender and sexual orientation are central to our humanity. Same-sex marriage is therefore a far greater social change than interracial marriage, so it is not necessarily bigoted to argue that reform should be gradual.
But just because many of my friends who oppose same-sex marriage are decent people with reasonable views, that does not mean they are right. I cannot understand how a friend's same-sex union threatens my heterosexual marriage. And if social science finds that on average, gay and lesbian parenting does not work quite as well as straight parenting, what of it? Do we really want a government powerful enough to decree that only ideal parents can raise children?
To take this to extremes, should President Obama lose custody of his daughters because he smokes? Research suggests that marriage generally, gay or straight, is likely better for children than the instability associated with out-of-wedlock birth.
For me, the reasonable compromise would recognize same-sex marriage in the public sphere, while leaving space for faith-based institutions, including schools, colleges and social services agencies, to opt out of practices that contradict their faith. Last month, New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch signed a same-sex marriage bill only after a religious exemption was added.
Given human nature, negotiating and compromising with opponents is not as sexy as coercing them to do things your way. Yet ultimately, we can only lessen the culture wars by lowering their stakes, finding ways for diverse peoples to live and let live without sacrificing their beliefs. Because people are tribal, anyone can start a culture war, but it takes genuine tolerance of others to defuse one.
Robert Anthony Maranto holds the 21st Century Chair in Leadership in Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. He can be reached at email@example.com.
10. Vanderbilt University’s News Network, July 31, 2009
2201 West End Avenue, Nashville, TN 37235
Spencer to direct Margaret Cuninggim Women's Center
By Princine Lewis
Nora Spencer has been named the new director of the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center, a year after joining the university as the director of the first full-time office to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex community at Vanderbilt.
In addition to her new responsibilities, Spencer will continue her leadership of the Office of LGBTQI Life, Provost Richard McCarty said.
“Nora Spencer will bring focus, energy and the ability to form important partnerships between the women’s center and various parts of campus and beyond in the Nashville community,” McCarty said. “The women’s center is a tremendous resource on campus, and I am confident it will thrive under Nora’s leadership and vision.”
With Spencer’s appointment, the women’s center will move administratively under the Dean of Students Office, where the Office of LGBTQI Life is located. Associate Dean Sandy Stahl will work with Spencer, and the women’s center will remain a separate entity with a separate budget and advisory board focused on women’s and gender issues.
University efforts to prevent sexual assault and serve victims of violence will be expanded in coalition with other university departments. An architectural study will be undertaken to assess the feasibility of a renovation of the women’s center facilities.
Staff is being hired for both the women’s and LGBTQI Life centers to ensure adequate support for programs and initiatives. Strategic planning for program enhancement and development is in process and will likely continue throughout 2009-10.
Spencer plans to create faculty and student advisory boards to help steer the direction of the women’s center.
“I am truly honored to serve Vanderbilt in this role and build upon the tenacious history of the Margaret Cuninggim Women’s Center,” she said.
Spencer received a master’s in fine arts from the University of Florida with additional coursework in queer, feminist and race theory and cultural criticism. She came to Vanderbilt in June 2008 from the University of Florida, where she oversaw support services, programming, strategic planning, marketing and fundraising for LGBTQI affairs and served as a resource and advocate regarding LGBTQI issues for students, staff, faculty and alumni.
She also has held various related positions and been a leader in advocacy for women throughout the past decade at Creighton University, St. Norbert College, Planned Parenthood of Nebraska-Council Bluffs and elsewhere.
The women’s center was established in 1978 and named in honor of Margaret Cuninggim, the last dean of women at Vanderbilt and the first woman to serve as dean of student services.
11. Honolulu Advertiser, July 31, 2009
P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802
Swift discipline urged over coach's ‘hurtful language’
By Stanley Lee
Local and national gay and lesbian rights groups urged the University of Hawai'i to "act swiftly" after its football coach, Greg McMackin, used a gay slur at a press conference yesterday.
McMackin used the six-letter slur to describe a chant the Notre Dame football team performed at last year's Hawai'i Bowl Banquet. He called it a "little f----- dance."
"Behind closed doors is bad, but to voice the 'F' at a press conference at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview is unacceptable," Carolyn Martinez Golojuch, president of the O'ahu chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, said in a release.
"This discriminatory incident is a reflection of widespread verbal abuse that many times leads to assaults in our society."
McMackin made the remark at the Western Athletic Conference Football Preview in Salt Lake City, where coaches were given 30 minutes with reporters to talk about their teams.
McMackin, who used the word several times, initially asked reporters in the room to not publish his remarks. He later made several apologies.
"I sincerely apologize for the inappropriate words that I used," McMackin said in a statement. "My comments were out of character and I have no prejudices against anyone. I'm really upset with myself and I'm truly sorry for my remarks."
Word of it quickly spread, sparking Martinez Golojuch of PFLAG to call UH President David McClain's office and garnering national attention, including a segment on ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption."
"These comments as reported are an outrage and we urge the University of Hawai'i to act swiftly to take the proper steps to ensure this does not happen again," Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said in an e-mail to The Advertiser.
Yesterday's incident could result in disciplinary action by UH.
According to the WAC Code Book's article on sportsmanship, "an institution's athletics personnel shall refrain from making negative comments regarding other institution's players, teams, coaches, staff or the institution itself."
The code book further states an institution needs to respond to the alleged violation and suggest penalties, if any. WAC Commissioner Karl Benson will then have 10 working days to review "the adequacy of the institution's determination and penalty related to the alleged violation(s)." The commissioner may impose additional penalties, which could range from a reprimand to suspension.
"Hurtful language like this has no place in our community, and particularly not among leaders of our UH-Manoa campus," Manoa Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw said in a release. "Athletic director Jim Donovan and I will be discussing with coach McMackin further steps that will be taken to reaffirm his and our commitment to fair and equal treatment of all."
Donovan and McMackin will meet today.
Hinshaw said the university is working with its Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Student Services for "the best approach to address this issue."
Martinez Golojuch said McMackin needs to do more than apologize. Her organization called for the UH president to ensure McMackin funds a public service announcement on the dangers of abusive language on the field and classroom, donates $10,000 to a gay support group for LGBT youth, and that the UH athletics staff attend diversity training with a professional trainer.
"If we let this coach slide on through, he won't have learned a lesson and neither will any other coach or students standing there listening," Martinez Golojuch said yesterday.
Under terms of his contract, McMackin "shall be subject to disciplinary or corrective action by the athletics director." "Misconduct" is listed under reasons for disciplinary or corrective action.
Donovan spoke with McMackin yesterday, but declined comment on personnel matters.
"Obviously we don't condone his remarks, particularly since we take such great pride in the diversity of our state and university," Donovan said in a statement. "I've conveyed my disappointment to him and he has expressed deep regret for showing such poor judgment."
McMackin's contract has no reference to the use of offensive language. But it does note he "shall make all reasonable efforts to project a positive image and take no action detrimental to the sports program."
The contract outlines how McMackin, whose $1.1 million annual salary is the highest among state employees, could be terminated with and without cause.
He could be terminated for cause by:
- "Engaging in conduct which is unlawful, or results in coach's conviction of a crime, or displays a continual or serious disrespect or disregard for the character of the university, or causes notorious and public scandal."
- "Committing material or repeated violations of any provision of this agreement or policies of university."
- "For any other reason constituting cause."
Honolulu attorney Michael F. Nauyokas, who specializes in employment law, said McMackin's apology would mitigate any violations of his contract.
"I wouldn't think the most severe sanction, termination with cause, would be appropriate," Nauyokas said. "Would he be subject to discipline? I say yes. That's subject to Jim Donovan's call under the agreement."
Advertiser Staff writer Ferd Lewis contributed to this report.
Reach Stanley Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
12. Honolulu Advertiser, July 31, 2009
P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802
UH details actions against McMackin
By Advertiser Staff
The University of Hawaii Manoa today announced actions following inappropriate comments by Coach Greg McMackin, in a statement released to the media:
At a news conference this afternoon, University of Hawai'i at Manoa Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw and Athletics Director Jim Donovan today announced the following actions based on inappropriate comments made by Coach Greg McMackin at the WAC conference in Salt Lake City yesterday.
Athletics Director Donovan:
"We have completed the investigation with the cooperation of Coach McMackin. Because of violations of University policies, I have decided, with the approval of Chancellor Hinshaw, on the following actions:
Coach McMackin will be suspended without pay for 30 days. However, Coach McMackin has agreed to volunteer to coach the team for those 30 days because he doesn't want the team or the university to be harmed by his mistake.
In addition, Coach McMackin will be voluntarily participating in the salary reduction at the same level as myself.
"There are other steps we have discussed that Coach McMackin has agreed to accomplish so I'll ask Chancellor Hinshaw to present those."
UH M'noa Chancellor Hinshaw:
"We all recognize that yesterday Coach McMackin made a serious mistake that has hurt many people and brought negative attention to our State and our University. He is clearly remorseful — as well he should be. This has been a painful experience for all involved, but we must now consider actions that will help everyone learn from this very negative event and improve for the future.
"In my own interactions with Coach McMackin, he has always been respectful in dealing with all people and set an excellent example for our student-athletes. Yet he still made a serious mistake and we all know that words carry painful consequences so we are all striving to deal with the damage that was done. To lead the healing process, in addition to the actions described by Athletics Director Donovan:
Coach McMackin will personally participate in activities directed at improving the environment for our community through working with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community on campus. Camaron Miyamoto, coordinator for our LGBT services, has discussed with us how we can turn this into a learning experience for the whole campus.
That will include Coach's participating in a public service announcement describing how words can hurt, presenting during student orientations, and supporting awareness training for the athletics program.
Also, a part of the money from his salary reduction will be used by the University to support a student intern for LGBT to assist in conducting campus-wide workshops in awareness training.
"We believe these steps will move us forward by making this painful experience into a positive learning experience for Greg McMackin, our UH M'noa campus, and our community. I can assure you that UH M'noa is truly committed to providing an inclusive, supportive environment for all members of our community."
Camaron Miyamoto, Coordinator, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services:
Today will strengthen a positive and ongoing working relationship between LGBT Student Services, the UH Commission on the Status of LGBTI Equality and the Department of Athletics.
Continued collaboration between LGBT Student Services, the Chancellor's Office, and the Department of Athletics is a necessary and needed first step to address homophobia and to promote institutionalized change at our university.
I am entirely devoted to providing every opportunity for Coach McMackin and the Department of Athletics to serve as advocates for change in support of LGBT people in Hawai`i.
It is my hope that our combined resources and efforts will build a more respectful and inclusive campus.
13. Honolulu Advertiser, July 31, 2009
P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802
UH coach McMackin suspended, takes pay cut
By Bart Asato
University of Hawai'i head football coach Greg McMackin was suspended without pay for 30 days and will take a voluntary 7 percent pay cut from his $1.1 million salary after he used a gay slur during a Western Athletic Conference press conference yesterday in Salt Lake City, school officials announced today.
McMackin, who will lose approximately $169,000, will be allowed to coach the team "as a volunteer" during the suspension, and the money from his suspension will be used to fund an intern for a gay/lesbian group as well for other awareness efforts, UH athletic director Jim Donovan said.
McMackin's pay cut ($77,000) matches the voluntary cut Donovan said he would take earlier this week in response to the state's budget crisis.
An emotional McMackin broke down during today's press conference, while making another apology.
"I just made a big mistake," McMackin said. "I apologize to everyone and anyone I offended. I'm committed to do whatever I can as a life lesson to learn from my mistake."
McMackin left the press conference without taking any questions.
"We all recognize that yesterday Coach McMackin made a serious mistake that has hurt many people and brought negative attention to our state and university," UH-Manoa Chancellor Virginia S. Hinshaw said at a press conference today. "He is clearly remorseful — as well he should be. This has been a painful experience for all involved, but we must now consider actions that will help everyone learn from this very negative event."
Members of some of the campus gay/lesbian groups were at today's athletic department press conference at the Stan Sheriff Center.
"I am entirely devoted to providing every opportunity for Coach McMackin and the department of athletics to serve as advocates for change in support of LGBT people in Hawai'i," said Camaron Miyamoto, UH coordinator of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services. "Today will strengthen a positive and on-going working relationship between LGBT Student Services, the UH commission on the status of LGBTI Equality and the department of athletics."
Dozens of football team members also attended to support McMackin.
"It was very emotional for him, and for us. (Came) to show support for coach," senior offensive lineman Aaron Kia said. "To let him know we're here for him in times of trouble."
Said Raphael Ieru, senior offensive lineman: "It was hard to watch him break down.
"I think the punishment was fair. "We've got to support our coach."
Donovan said McMackin has agreed to coach the team for those 30 days "because he doesn't want the team or the university to be harmed from his mistake."
McMackin met with Hinshaw and Donovan earlier today.
McMackin left Hawaii Hall about 1:30 p.m. without speaking to the media.
Earlier today, Notre Dame football coach Charlie Weis said that McMackin "demonstrated poor judgment" yesterday in making a slur about gays while describing the Fighting Irish.
McMackin made the reference in describing Notre Dame's team dance at a banquet prior to the Dec. 24 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl in which the Fighting Irish beat the Warriors, 49-21.
In a prepared release, Weis said: "Yesterday, Coach McMackin demonstrated poor judgment when, while making comments critical of our football program, he used a derogatory word.
"Speaking only for our football program, we were offended by the remarks.
"This afternoon I received a phone call from Coach McMackin and he apologized to me and asked I pass that along to my players and coaches. We accept his apology and we will move on."
McMackin ignited a firestorm of national outrage when he repeatedly used the slur in his press conference with football writers at the Western Athletic Conference Football Media Review in Salt Lake City before apologizing.
He returned to Hawaii last night and has spent much of this morning apologizing further on radio shows.
In his statement, Weis also noted that as a parent of a daughter with global developmental delays "I am especially sensitive to offensive characterizations like the one at issue here."
Still, Weis says, "in no way do I believe Coach McMackin's comments were intended to be offensive.
"In our phone conversation today, I expressed those sentiments. It is now time to put this incident behind us and return focus to the 2009 season.
Advertiser staff writers Ferd Lewis and Mary Vorsino contributed to this report.
Reach Bart Asato at email@example.com.
14. Honolulu Advertiser, August 1, 2009
P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802
WAC will announce Monday what action it will take against McMackin
By Advertiser Staff
The Western Athletic Conference will announce Monday what action it will take in the case of University of Hawai'i football coach Greg McMackin.
WAC commissioner Karl Benson declined to say which way he was leaning but said violations of the conference's sportsmanship code can entail "private reprimand, public reprimand or game suspension."
Benson was in the room at the annual WAC Football Media Preview Thursday when McMackin made and repeated a term offensive to gays.
Because the incident occurred at a WAC event it "comes under the umbrella of the WAC" as well as UH, Benson said.
Benson said, "I appreciate (Manoa) chancellor Virginia Hinshaw and athletic director Jim Donovan's quick and decisive action and I'm confident that will make my decision easier."
UH announced Friday that McMackin will forfeit 30 days pay, have his annual salary reduced by seven percent and work with the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community on campus.
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