Saturday, October 24, 2009

QNOC Digest 2009.09.27

Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2009.09.27

Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.

Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at

Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to

1. Wicked Local Sherborn - After marriage fight, quest for equal benefits now a retirement issue
2. - Gay Rights Group Plans March Following Threats on Campus
3. TCU Daily Skiff - Added support groups bring LGBTQ awareness to campus
4. The LU Gazette - What it's like being openly gay at Langston University
5. The Daily Campus (UConn) - Group creates safe haven for GLBT minorities
6. The Chronicle of Higher Education - MIT Students' Facebook 'Gaydar' Raises Privacy Issues
7. St. Petersburg Times - Parents of hate crime victim share their story at USF
8. Texas Tech Today - Texas Tech Announces Event Schedule for GLBTQ Awareness Month
9. University of Wisconsin - Green Bay - UW-Green Bay raises awareness of gay and lesbian issues in October
10. Washburn Review - Safe zones stick it to sexual oppression
11. News & Record - Vigil held to protest anti-gay letters left for Guilford College student
12. Boston College Heights - Professor Opposes Same-Sex Marriage in Ad

1. Wicked Local Sherborn, September 21, 2009
254 Second Ave., Needham, MA 02494
After marriage fight, quest for equal benefits now a retirement issue
By Kyle Cheney/Statehouse News Service

BOSTON - More than five years after the legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, advocates for gay and lesbian couples say they are working to untangle a web of programs and benefits to which these couples have been denied access.

MassEquality, which led the effort to defeat a constitutional gay marriage ban proposal in 2007, joined public employees married to same-sex partners Monday in urging lawmakers to “correct an oversight” that led many gay and lesbian higher education workers to opt out of the state retirement system.

At issue, they say, is an Optional Retirement Plan (ORP) the state offers, a 401K-like plan established in 1994 for any state higher education employees who would prefer to manage their own retirement investments. Many gay and lesbian educators and public college and university staff, prior to the 2004 legalization of same-sex marriage, opted out of the traditional state plan, which offers spousal benefits only to legally married couples.

Now, many of those gay and lesbian faculty and staff are legally married and say they deserve a chance to buy back into the state retirement system and claim the marriage benefits it offers.

Marie Canaves, 55, a Cape Cod Community College professor of art history, told lawmakers through tears that she opted out of the state system in 1998 hoping the ORP would help her provide for her chronically ill partner.

“At that time, there was no legislation in the state of Massachusetts protecting same-sex couples. It was impossible for me to leave my state pension to my life partner,” she said. “In order to leave her the money for which I had worked so hard, and which, being chronically ill she needed so desperately, the only choice I had was to sign onto the ORP.”

Canaves’s partner died last year. Now, Canaves said, her retirement savings amount to $114,000, which, if she retired today and lived to an average life expectancy, would break down to less than $4,400 a year. By comparison, the state system would have afforded her more than $20,000 a year.

The issue isn’t just for same-sex couples, however. Faculty from across the community college system said they were given incomplete or misleading information about the difference between the state and ORP plans, and in some cases were pressured into choosing the latter.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Higher Education was not immediately available for comment.

The Department of Higher Education, which operates the ORP, on its web site, offers a side-by-side comparison analyzing the state retirement system and the ORP and provides details about how the ORP is run. The site offers numerous other details about the rules of the ORP.

Participants in the ORP pick a provider from a list of three: AIG Retirement, Lincoln Financial Group and the Teachers Insurance and Annuities Association. In addition, the site informs participants that joining the ORP will result in a Social Security “offset” because state retirement programs do not participate in the Social Security Administration.

But Canaves was followed by a slew of professors from Bristol, Holyoke and Quinsigamond Community Colleges who said higher education employees are still poorly informed about their choices. The solution, they said, is a proposal filed by Sen. Marc Pacheco (D-Taunton), S 1173, that would give them and other higher education employees a one-time opportunity to buy back into the state system.

Jack Flanagan, a lobbyist for the Massachusetts Teachers Association, said many employees, upon entering state service, were told to choose between the plans within 90 days without the benefit of a side-by-side comparison. Faculty members, he said, are often making important decisions about their courses in the first 90 days of employment and may not be able to make fully informed retirement decisions.

Diana McGee, vice president of a union representing Massachusetts’s community college employees, said gay and lesbian faculty and older staff members were told the ORP was more sensible for them because they lacked tenure and could benefit from the ability to transfer ORP benefits from one job to another. McGee also noted that participation in either the state system or the ORP prevents faculty from paying into a Social Security plan, cutting off another avenue for support.

His co-chair, Sen. Thomas McGee (D-Lynn), said he had concerns about the lack of information provided to the participants in the ORP.

“To not get that clear information is totally unfair,” he said.

Earlier in the hearing, MassEquality executive director Scott Gortikov said the issue was another in a string of equal rights issues for same-sex couples.

“Passage of this bill is fair and just, and failure to pass it would be comparatively inequitable,” he said.

On July 31, 2008, Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill bringing state Medicaid benefits in line with state marriage laws, essentially rebuking the federal government, which does not provide full marriage benefits to same-sex couples. The law commits the state to paying full health benefits for same-sex couples, rather than splitting benefits with the federal government, as is typically done with heterosexual couples.

2., September 21, 2009
2005 Francis St., High Point, NC 27263,0,4372624.story
Gay Rights Group Plans March Following Threats on Campus
By Staff Writer

Click link for video.

GREENSBORO N.C. (WGHP) - Guilford College students will hold a meeting on Monday after someone sent a student two letters threatening his life and calling him derogatory names based on his sexual orientation.

The hate crimes happened in the Bryan Hall dormitory last week. On Monday, a student found a note on his door that had a death threat and called him a derogatory name. The note also said "nobody wants your kind on campus."

On Thursday, someone dropped a rock with a letter attached in the same student's window. The note used the same derogatory name and also said: "You don't deserve life like the rest of the world. It's bad enough with out all the gay crap pulling people down. It's sick, unnatural, and death is almost too good for you. Almost."

The dean of students who live in Bryan Hall informed students about the hate crimes during a meeting on Friday.

"That note was horrible. They read that out loud and I think everybody was just shocked. It was so disturbing, so upsetting, so hateful and so mean," said Sarah Meteyer, a sophomore at Guilford College.

The Gay Pride Organization on campus will meet on Monday to organize a march on campus this Wednesday. The organization hopes to bring awareness on campus about what happened at the dormitory.

Sarah-jaana Nodell is a member of the gay rights group and is also a friend of the student who was threatened.

"(The victim) is handling it really well. They've been a real trooper and understand it's not a personal attack. It's from someone who's really close-minded. They are shaken up, as anybody would be," said Nodell.

According to Guilford College President Kent Chabotar, anyone involved in the hate crimes will be held accountable both on and off campus.

3. TCU Daily Skiff, September 23, 2009
Box 298050, Fort Worth, Texas 76129
Added support groups bring LGBTQ awareness to campus
By David Hall

The Gay-Straight Alliance's decision to expand its services on campus deserves to be commended.

By focusing more on the needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students and specifying different types of support that they need, the student group might set a trend that could catch on nationally.

The Quest group allows those questioning their sexuality to address their concerns and speak with those familiar with the lifestyle. Hope on Campus also brought a refreshing progressive take on religion to the university by allowing LGBTQ students to have a place to discuss their situation in life and how it relates to religion.

Lastly, the activities planning committee is a way for the Gay-Straight Alliance to plan activities and increase awareness of LGBTQ issues on campus, something that all students could benefit from.

By creating such specific groups, LGBTQ students effectively asserted that GSA's lineup and the students in the organization are not one-dimensional.

At a university that bills itself as "ahead of the curve," it is good to see students demonstrating that it's not just a slogan, but a way of life.

Editor-in-chief David Hall for the editorial board.

4. The LU Gazette, September 23, 2009
What it's like being openly gay at Langston University
By Demario Patton

This is an essay written partially in response to Danielle Skinner's opinion article titled "Being gay is definitely not the new Black," printed in the Sept. 9 issue of The LU Gazette. Demario Patton, a freshman criminal justice major from California, wanted to share what it is like to be openly gay at Langston University.

Langston University was a choice out of three different universities. My choices were between Lincoln University in M, Tougaloo College in Miss., or Texas College in Texas. I chose Langston. I thought Langston University would give me an experience that I would never forget and it did. I had a few friends that went to Langston also, which is another reason why I chose Langston. My friends that attended Langston told me that I would have a blast, and that I would meet so many different people from different places, and I would fit in easily. Little did I know I was in for it.

The first day of school at Langston was rough because I was gay. In my elementary algebra class the class was packed and I saw one seat available. So I sat down. The guy next to me immediately got up and moved his seat from me and he told the teacher he wasn't sitting by a faggot. Then a girl traded him seats.

Another time I was going in the restroom in Moore Hall, and as I walked in a guy said this isn't the girl's restroom. Then he and his friends began to laugh. As I walked to the business office a woman and her son walked by and the words "gay boy" trembled out of her son's mouth. Then as I walked in the cafeteria to eat, people stared, mugged and whispered things about me.

Another time I was at a football game and I walked up the blenchers to find a few friends. This man told his son to close his eyes when I walked by and said, "Don't look at that faggot." Then when I finally got up to the top of the bleachers, my friends were sitting with their boyfriends and as I sat down their boyfriends left and told them they would see them later.

At a conference, a teacher asked me why I called this girl a bitch. I told her because she called me a faggot. The teacher said, "You are a faggot. A bitch is a female dog. Is that girl you called a bitch walking on four legs?" After that comment I left the classroom. Being at Langston has been one of the most miserable times of my life. Students are rude and mean. I ask myself what did I do to make people hate me so much. I feel like less than a person. As I walk the campus of Langston University, there's always rude comments and laughter being done behind my back.

Why is it that I'm being discriminated against by my own race? We're all African- Americans and our ancestors went through the same things. Our skin is the same. If someone shot a bullet at me I will feel it just like everyone else. I'm no different-just my sexual preference. We are all equal. So why is it that a lot of people discriminate against me because of my sexual orientation? I don't discriminate against anybody and I don't judge anybody, so why do I have to feel less than somebody? Sometimes I cry myself to sleep every night in my room, wanting so badly to go home. I just want to get my plane ticket back to California and leave Langston behind. The only reason I'm still here is because God and my mother. They gave me the strength, courage and faith to stay alive, and to not feel so depressed because of who I am. If people don't like me that's their problem, not mine. I must be doing something right if my name is in other people's mouths. I'm not at Langston University to make friends or to argue with students. I'm here for my education, just like the rest of the students. I deserve the same respect as everyone else. I know I'm a good person and there is a place for me in society. I am a proud gay African-American.

5. The Daily Campus (UConn), September 22, 2009
11 Dog Lane, Storrs, CT 06268
Group creates safe haven for GLBT minorities
By Meghan Kruger

My Pride My Soul is a group that, according to its mission statement, works to "recognize and acknowledge the unique challenges that queer persons of color face at a predominantly white institution."

The group, which serves as a safe haven for students to discuss different issues that affect minorities within the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) community, meets every Monday from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the different cultural centers at the Student Union.

Joel Teron, a 3rd-semester human development family studies major and student facilitator of the group, said incorporating the cultural centers is an "essential" part of My Pride My Soul's mission.

"[The cultural centers] create a comfort zone for students," said Teron. "Not everyone feels comfortable coming into the Rainbow Center."

Holding the weekly meetings in the different cultural centers also helps the group to address the intersection between sexuality and race, nationality, and gender. My Pride My Soul will visit each cultural center "at least twice" according to Teron, and will end the semester at the Rainbow Center.

The group is completely confidential and is open to all students.

"We welcome anyone who is willing to help, support, and advocate for GLBT minorities," Teron said. "We aren't limited to any one community."

Teron, who also works in the Rainbow Center, took over the group in hopes of generating support for minorities in the GLBT community.

"I feel like it's my responsibility to give back, knowing the way the Rainbow Center has helped me," Teron said.

My Pride My Soul had its kickoff meeting Monday night at the Puerto Rican and Latin American Cultural Center (PRLACC).

Dan Lupacchino, a 7th-semester anthropology major, hopes the group will educate students about discrimination within the GLBT community.

"Sexuality is in all cultures and nations, and there is racism within the queer community," said Lupacchino.

The weekly meetings will serve as an open discussion forum and will address certain issues that minorities in the GLBT community face including stereotypes, cultural norms, and religion.

The group, which has been active on and off throughout past semesters, was started up again last spring by Diep Luu, a second-year graduate student studying higher education and student affairs.

Luu, who fulfilled the practicum requirement for his graduate program at the Rainbow Center, restarted the program after noticing that there was no active group for students of color in the GLBT community.

"I learned that this program had existed in the past, but was discontinued because there was no one to run it," said Luu, who now serves as an advisor for the group. "I thought it was something I could do. I wanted to create a space for students to come to talk about the issues they face."

The group is designed for students of all comfort levels to join, whether they would like to openly participate or just observe and listen to other students in the group.

"[The group] is a safe haven for students to express their thoughts and feelings candidly," Luu said.

Students interested in participating in My Pride My Soul can e-mail the group with questions, concerns, or for a list of future meeting locations at

6. The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 22, 2009
1255 Twenty-Third St, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
MIT Students' Facebook 'Gaydar' Raises Privacy Issues
By Ben Terris

Students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology created a computer program that they say can deduce whether or not someone is gay by doing an analysis of his Facebook profile, The Boston Globe reports.

According to The Globe, two students in a course on Internet ethics and law designed a program that looked at the profile information—including gender and sexuality—of a person’s Facebook friends and analyzed the information to predict the person’s sexuality. The students called the program “Gaydar.”

The students taught their computer program to make predictions by looking at profile information from profiles of 1,544 men who identified themselves as straight, 21 who said they were bisexual, and 33 who said they were gay. Then the students did the same analysis for 947 men who did not report their sexuality. The MIT students had no means of confirming their software’s conclusions about most of the men, but said they privately knew that 10 of the men identified themselves as gay but did not say so on their Facebook profiles. The program correctly determined the sexuality of all 10.

Carter Jernigan, one of the student creators of the program, told The Globe that the experiment highlighted the risk of how “information can be inadvertently shared.”

7. St. Petersburg Times, September 24, 2009
490 First Avenue South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Parents of hate crime victim share their story at USF
By Alexandra Zayas

TAMPA — There was a time when Pat Mulder got really nervous speaking in front of people like this. That was when she was just a nurse, a wife, a mother — before she qualified to speak on a "victim's perspective" panel at a summit on hate crimes.

The auditorium at the University of South Florida was full Wednesday. The microphone was on. A box of tissues was within her reach. Her husband, Lynn, put his hand on her back, and she began.

"Umm . . . I get a little emotional, so just hang with me," she said. "Ryan was my son. He was 25 years old when he died."

Ryan Skipper, a gay college student, was stabbed 20 times on March 14, 2007, his lifeless body left near a rural road in Polk County. One of the two accused killers told witnesses he was "doing the world a favor by getting rid of one more f-----."

Joseph Eli Bearden was convicted of murder earlier this year. William D. Brown Jr. will stand trial Oct. 12.

Pat and Lynn Mulder have spent the past two years traveling to tell their story, lobbying for hate crime and anti-bullying legislation and comforting victims. They're among the most recognizable figures in the statewide gay community.

No, Pat Mulder says, she doesn't get very nervous any more. "The worst thing in the world that can happen to you has already happened. There's nothing else to be afraid of."

The mother knew he was gay before he did, long before he told her. She says she just felt it.

It stayed in the back of her mind when a 21-year-old gay college student named Matthew Shepard was left bleeding to death in a remote area of Laramie, Wyo. Two men had plotted to rob a gay man. They killed him, too. It was 1998. Mulder was surprised that homophobia still led to murder.

Meanwhile, she watched her son go to high school, unaware that he was getting bullied for the same reason Shepard died.

They were in the upstairs craft room of her Auburndale home when she watched him struggle to find the words to tell her. "Ryan," she said, "when are you going to tell me you're gay?"

His response: "How do you always know?"

She told him, "That's what mothers do." And she would continue to tell him to be careful, every time she saw him wearing a rainbow bracelet. She would learn about the harassment he faced — at the mall, at work. Someone gave him a black eye.

None of that prepared her for the news detectives would bring. Or for the first media accounts spread by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

The night of Skipper's viewing, Judd told reporters one suspect said Skipper made advances toward him. Shepard's killers had made that same argument before they were convicted.

Judd also recounted the suspects' accounts that Skipper smoked pot that night and discussed a check forgery scheme.

The Sheriff's Office later acknowledged the accounts conflicted and that the suspects were probably trying to minimize their involvement to make themselves look better.

Skipper, in fact, knew the two suspects, his mother said. Brown was related to his landlord. She thinks they targeted him for robbery, knowing he was gay. She thinks they came to his door.

The Mulders felt the sheriff's original account muted the outrage the public should have felt for their son's death.

They spent the next two years trying to turn up the volume.

Pat and Lynn Mulder now wear rainbow bracelets everywhere they go.

Any time someone asks about it — the Wal-Mart cashier, the waitress at Beef O'Brady's — they tell their son's story.

"You may relive your pain, but you also relive your love," Pat said. "It keeps Ryan's memory alive and to me, that's an important thing. I don't want his death to have been in vain."

A couple of times, they say, they have also experienced a sliver of the harassment he felt when he was alive.

At the Orlando Pride Parade, a man with a bullhorn blasted her group as they prepared to march for Gay American Heroes, which remembers hate crime murder victims. Another man confronted Lynn at a table at St. Pete Pride, where he promoted the Ryan Skipper Foundation.

But for the handful of haters, they have met hundreds of people they wish their son could have met. Along with other groups, Skipper's stepfather Lynn is the Polk county president of PFLAG, an organization for the families and friends of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

Pat was at a town hall meeting held after transgendered teenager Simmie Williams was shot to death in Fort Lauderdale a year after Skipper died. She introduced herself to the 17-year-old's mother and enveloped her in a hug. At that moment, the woman didn't say much, but she later told Pat how much it meant.

"It's beyond being women. It's beyond being different races, different backgrounds. It has nothing to do with that. It's the hearts of two mothers," Pat said. "For a moment, there's someone who's helping you hold up your pain."

Ryan Skipper is the subject of a documentary screened in cities across Florida. A foundation is putting together a scholarship in his name.

His entire family was given an award last year by Equality Florida for their role as advocates. The Mulders have seen Florida lawmakers add sexual orientation to anti-bullying legislation. That was last year. This year, they saw the U.S. House and Senate adopt the Matthew Shepard Act, created to add sexual orientation as a factor in hate crime law.

On Oct. 12, they will sit in a courtroom with the second man authorities believe killed their son.

"Initially, I saw them as evil," Pat said. "Now, it's a sadness to see wasted human life. . . . Hate gives someone else power over you. I forgave them."

That same month, she'll attend the wedding of her oldest son, Damien Skipper. Ryan would've been his best man.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at or (813) 226-3354.

8. Texas Tech Today, September 23, 2009
Office of Communications and Marketing, 212 Administration Building, PO Box 42022, Mailstop 2022, Lubbock, Texas 79409-2022
Texas Tech Announces Event Schedule for GLBTQ Awareness Month
By John Davis

Activities include HomeComing OUT Week events, guest speakers, panel discussions, musical guests, film viewings and more.

Texas Tech University’s GLBTQ Steering Committee will bring feminist organizer and speaker Shelby Knox and GLBT outreach musical duo Jason & deMarco to the university the week of Oct. 5 for homeComing OUT Week.

These are two of more than 20 events open to the Texas Tech and Lubbock community during GLBTQ Awareness Month, October 2009. Starting Oct. 19, some events pair up with Week Without Violence activities.

The GLBTQ Steering Committee is a coalition of the Lubbock community and Texas Tech University groups. GLBTQ Awareness Month celebrates the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. Events are intended to encourage honesty and openness about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer.

For more detailed event information, visit the GLBTQ Web site or download the poster.

Story produced by the Office of Communications and Marketing, (806) 742-2136.

9. University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, September 23, 2009
UW-Green Bay, CL815, 2420 Nicolet Drive, Green Bay, WI 54311-7001
UW-Green Bay raises awareness of gay and lesbian issues in October

GREEN BAY — Throughout the month of October, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is addressing the issues faced in gay and lesbian communities.

Students and staff will pass out “Gay? Fine by Me” T-shirts to those wishing to show support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning (LGBTQ) community. The T-shirt campaign runs the week of Oct. 5 in the University Union and Cofrin Library.

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, a “Does Your Mother Know?” panel discussion will address the coming out experiences of UW-Green Bay LGBTQ students. The discussion, which is free and open to the public, will be held at 4 p.m. in the University Union’s Christie Theatre.

The two events are precursors to UW-Green Bay’s second-annual Ally Conference, scheduled from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24. The conference emphasizes diversity and accessibility issues within all student populations, and also provides a safe environment to celebrate the diversity and talents of women, people of color, persons with disabilities and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, questioning (LGBTQ) community. Conference participants will also learn how to become an ally and advocate for these communities, organizers say.

The conference, which also features best-selling author and LGBT civil rights leader Shane L. Windmeyer as the keynote speaker, is free for UW-Green Bay students and $25 for community members. Register by Wednesday, Sept. 30 and receive a conference T-shirt. Registration is available online at

For more information on these events contact Multicultural Adviser Mai J. Lo Lee at (920) 465-2720, or via e-mail at

The ALLY Conference is sponsored by UW-Green Bay’s American Intercultural Center, Campus Life Diversity Taskforce, Human Development Program, Social Change and Development Program, Women’s and Gender Studies Program, Social Work Program, Office of Student Life, Office of Residence Life, and the Residence Hall and Apartment Association. Harmony CafĂ© in Green Bay is a community sponsor.

(Editor’s note: For more on keynote speaker Shane L. Windmeyer, visit his website at

10. Washburn Review, September 23, 2009
1700 SW College Ave., Topeka, KS 66621
Safe zones stick it to sexual oppression
By Brian Allen

The Sept. 18 Diversity Matters conference was a reintroduction of the Washburn University Safe Zone Program. Host Kim Morse, associate professor of history, explained that the Safe Zone Program is not in response to any particular threats, incidents or hate cult, "It is preventative education. As the world becomes a more complicated place it is part of what we can do to become more aware. It's really about helping gay, bi, lesbian, trans students become more comfortable with themselves in the university environment. Everyone should feel comfortable to be who they are and that we are enriched by that diversity."

Marsha Carrasco Cooper, Director of Student Activities and Greek Life, presented the Safe Zone Manual and guided the near dozen faculty, staff and students through it's educational material designed to sensitize participants to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer issues. The objective being the training of staff volunteers who will in turn place Ally signs in their workplace alerting LGBT students that they offer a Safe Zone.

The training began with a group reading of the "Free To Be Me" statement that acknowledges how ones ignorance and misunderstanding is a product of a heterosexist and transphobic culture, but one needn't feel guilty and has permission to ask stupid questions and be honest about feelings. One needs to take responsibility about what one can do now to learn and change false beliefs or oppressive attitudes toward LGBTs.

Director Cooper then lead group discussions covering a variety of material including terminology, symbols, Kinsey studies, heterosexual privileges, stereotypical attitudes, myths and biblical versus, pro and con. The Riddle Homophobia Scale explained that even Tolerance and Acceptance are homophobic attitudes. Positive attitudes are Support, Admiration, Appreciation, and Nuturance. These are the attitudes a Safe Zone Ally will offer LGBT students, family or friends.

The Ally volunteers contract commits them to "educating myself, and others, about oppression, heterosexism and homophobia, and combating it on a personal level... working towards providing a safe, confidential support network for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community... to treating everyone with the dignity and respect that they are entitled to as human beings."

So if you have questions, concerns or issues and want a caring confidential ear, look for a "Ally, Safe Zone" sign.

The next Diversity Matters Program will be held in the Student Unions' Vogel Room, October 16, 1:30 p.m. Subject: The Victimization of People With Disabilities.

11. News & Record, September 24, 2009
200 E. Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27401
Vigil held to protest anti-gay letters left for Guilford College student
By Dioni L. Wise

GREENSBORO — Nearly 400 people gathered on the lawn of a Guilford College residence hall Wednesday night, holding white candles and proclaiming hatred had no place on campus.

“The whole purpose of this vigil was to show that among Guilford’s seven core values, hatred is not one of them,” said Brian Daniel, a junior elementary education major.

Daniel, president of the school’s gay and lesbian organization, Guilford PRIDE, hosted the vigil with the student-run Guilford Peace Society just a week after a student found anti-gay letters on his door in Bryan Hall.

College President Kent Chabotar said the school has since held open discussions about the incident and used it as a learning opportunity.

He said the incident violates the campus conduct code, and the school is trying to find the author of the two letters.

“Until we find them and until they are proven guilty, we have due process here,” he said.

“If we didn’t, we’d be doing the same stuff as the person who did this was trying to do — taking away people’s rights.”

The several hundred people circled outside Bryan Hall included faculty, UNCG students and community members.

They first lined the corner of Friendly Avenue and New Garden Road, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with candles and rainbow-themed signs. Then, they marched down Eli Coffin Drive, passed Founders Hall and moved onto the lawn.

Mary Washburn, a sophomore studying comparative religion and Spanish, said it’s important for people from different backgrounds to support the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“I think we need to make a response to a hate crime,” Washburn said. “It’s not just for a person, the one person that was threatened, it’s for the entire homosexual community here and everyone who knows about the event.”

Daniel said Guilford PRIDE’s mission is to bring about more awareness. The organization will hold discussions and write letters to Congress because the anti-gay remarks given to the student were not deemed a hate crime by state law.

In North Carolina, the hate crime statute allows judges to increase the penalties for verbal racial attacks during the commission of a crime, assault, murder and vandalism, if it is determined the crime was motivated by racial, religious, or sexual orientation bias.

Daniel was pleased with the overall turnout from the greater Greensboro community. He said it is a positive response for “a horrific incident” experience by one student, who remains anonymous.

“Whoever he is, I hope that he knows that he is loved, that he is respected on our campus.”

Contact Dioni L. Wise at 373-7090 or

12. Boston College Heights, September 24, 2009
Boston College, McElroy 113, 140 Commonwealth Ave., Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02467
Professor Opposes Same-Sex Marriage in Ad
By Ana Lopez

The appearance of Scott Fitzgibbons, a professor in the Boston College Law School, in an ad campaign in support of the Maine Marriage Initiative, which seeks to overturn Governor John Baldacci's signature of the same-sex marriage bill, has sparked controversy in the BC Law School. Fitzgibbons did not obtain clearance from the BC Law School before appearing in the advertisement, in which he stated his opposition to gay marriage and identified himself as a BC professor.

In the advertisement, Fitzgibbons said that he is concerned by the detrimental legal consequences that would arise from allowing the legalization of gay marriage. "Unless question one [which overturns the movement to legalize gay marriage] passes, there could be real consequences for Mainers," he said in the advertisement. "Legal experts predict a flood of lawsuits against individuals, small business, and religious groups. Church organizations could lose their tax exemption [and] homosexual marriage would be taught in public schools, whether their parents like it or not."

In the advertisement, Fitzgibbons is identified as a professor at the Law School, with a footnote admitting that the title was for "identification purposes only," and that no endorsement on behalf of the University was meant to be implied.

In the wake of the advertisement's release, it became apparent that Fitzgibbon's public stance on gay marriage was a sensitive reality for many members of the Law School community.

In a letter released last week, Law School Dean John Garvey spoke to the emotions expressed by several members of this community. "Professor Fitzgibbon, as a member of our faculty, is free to express his views … we also have faculty members who hold a contrary view, which they too are free to express publicly," Garvey said. "As I think any of our faculty might have done, he stated his views without prior notice to or clearance from the Law School."

Garvey's letter also details what was outlined in a memorandum recently released by the University, clarifying their stance on what behavior it deems acceptable in the context of professors publicly expressing their political opinions.

Among the list of prohibited political actions faced by faculty and staff are the usage University letterhead to distribute printed materials supporting a candidate, the endorsement of a political candidate at University events, and holding political rallies or fund-raisers in University facilities.

"I believe that free expression is central to our mission as a law school committed to public discourse and the free exchange of ideas and opinions," Garvery's letter said. "We have faculty and students from many different backgrounds and with many different points of view. It is our expectation that they will continue to engage in public discourse, and argue their positions with passion and civility, with the intellectual freedom that an academic institution affords to us all."

Fitzgibbon said in an e-mail that he has received a split response to his support for the Maine Marriage Initiative. "I have received about 40 responses by e-mail and phone message to my TV ad, about 18 positive and 22 negative," he said. Fitzgibbon said that his interest in supporting the initiative comes from the serious legal concerns he perceives stem from the redefinition of the institution of marriage in Maine to allow for homosexual as well as heterosexual couples. "Legal consequences of the legal recognition of same-sex marriage are detailed in a letter to the governor of Maine from four law professors," he said. "These legal concerns underlie, in part, my opposition to that legalization." Fitzgibbons chose to communicate solely via e-mail due to the sensitive nature of the matter.

These letters, some of which are used as graphical evidence in the advertisement that Fitzgibbon appeared in, detail the basis of the Maine Marriage Initiative's platform, which is to "protect traditional marriage." The initiative's Web site said that there are not only legal consequences that they foresee arising from the legalization of gay marriage in Maine.

"If Question One fails and LD 1020 is allowed to take effect, marriage will be redefined to be only about any two consenting adults without regard to gender," the group says on their Web site. "Its focus would be only about what the adults want for themselves and not what is best for society as a whole."

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