Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.02.28
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. The Joplin Globe - MSSU board member Ansley resigns in wake of use of anti-gay slur
2. KOAM TV - MSSU students protest language of harassment policy
3. The Harvard Crimson - Yale Approves Gender-Neutral Housing
4. The University News (St. Louis University) - Symbolic LGBT cross vanished overnight
5. 365Gay.com/The Associated Press - NCAA yanks Focus on the Family ad amid concerns
6. The Circle (Marist College) - Men, women, others welcome
7. Inside Higher Ed - Outreach to Gay Applicants
8. Naples Daily News - FGCU faculty supports giving domestic partner benefits to gay, straight staff
9. The Sacramento Bee - UC Davis investigates vandalism cases as hate crimes
10. Tennessee Journalist - UT's LGBT community makes a great leap on campus
11. Campus Progress - MBLGTACC: A Lengthy Acronym; a Great Conference
1. The Joplin Globe, February 22, 2010
P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO64802
MSSU board member Ansley resigns in wake of use of anti-gay slur
By Greg Grisolano
David Ansley has resigned from the Missouri Southern State University Board of Governors, after he used a anti-gay slur during a board retreat on Saturday.
In a written statement Monday, Ansley apologized to students, faculty, staff and administrators for any offense, and expressed remorse for his actions.
“I have always thought of myself as a tolerant man,” he wrote. “Yet the fact that I spontaneously made the comment has caused me pause. Personally, I am conducting introspection. My goal is to examine my own prejudices with the hope of renewed tolerance. I hope to be a better person because of all this.”
A faculty adviser for a student group advocating equal rights on campus said Ansley’s resignation will not make the issue of sexual orientation discrimination disappear.
“He is now the cowardly lion, in my opinion,” said Hillary Fogerty, an English professor and adviser for the Equality Alliance at MSSU. “He’s saying, ‘Let’s avoid the issue entirely, and fall on the sword and pretend it’s not here.’ What will his resignation serve? Resignation is not education. It doesn’t solve the problem of other board members being willing to cover up what he said or to laugh at it.”
During Saturday’s retreat, MSSU Athletic Director Jared Bruggeman was discussing changes the athletics department has made to give a more consistent appearance, including revamping the school’s lion logo before the start of the 2007-08 school year.
Ansley voiced his approval for the change during the meeting by saying, “We went from the f-- lion to the ferocious lion.”
Board Chairman Rod Anderson immediately looked at reporters who were covering the retreat meeting at the university and said, “That’s off the record.”
The meeting continued for more than two hours before the board broke for lunch. At that point, the Globe approached Ansley for elaboration about his comment, and he apologized. He reiterated that apology Monday.
“I love this university,” he wrote in the statement issued Monday. “Disparaging it in any manner is unfair to each and every one of you. I have made many friendships while serving on the board. I hope my other contributions will be remembered and, in time take precedence over this mistake.”
Two other members of the board — Charles McGinty and Sherry Buchanan — said Saturday that they did not believe the comment should be reported in the newspaper. They were nearby while Ansley was speaking to a reporter.
The Globe reported Ansley’s use of the slur on Facebook and Twitter. The reports immediately sparked a public outcry, and a Facebook group calling for his resignation was formed.
2. KOAM TV, February 24, 2010
MSSU students protest language of harassment policy
By Elizabeth Matthews
JOPLIN, MO. - Students are protesting at Missouri Southern State University demanding more rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender peers.
A group of students participated in a passive sit-in just outside of the president's office on the MSSU campus on Wednesday.
The students are say that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are being discriminated against but have nowhere to go and no protection.
More than 25 students and faculty participated in the sit-in on Wednesday placing duct tape over their mouths and holding signs of their requests.
The students say that the college's anti-harassment policy does not protect sexual orientation or gender expression, but does include race, gender and age amongst identifiers.
Read the policy
The organizer of the protest says Wednesday's action is not in response to the homosexual comment made this weekend by David Ansley, a former member of the MSSU Board of Governors.
But this issue has been a long time coming.
"We think that now is a good time to make a statement and to come out and say that we would like that to be added into the policy because it is a problem on campus, there is discrimination against sexual orientation on campus," says protestor Ashley Trotnic.
MSSU President Bruce Speck says the statement the students are concerned about is mandated by state and federal law. The words in the policy come directly from state and federal law.
"There are classes of people that aren't explicitly covered in one sense," Dr. Speck says. "That language does not give us the right, if you are not somehow explicitly put in there, to say 'we can violate your rights.'"
Dr. Speck says there are channels for both students and professors on campus if they feel they are the victim of discriminatory comments.
The issue could be brought up in the next board of governor's meeting.
3. The Harvard Crimson, February 24, 2010
14 Plympton St., Cambridge, MA 02138
Yale Approves Gender-Neutral Housing
By Alice E. M. Underwood
Yale University administrators ruled on Monday to approve gender-neutral suites for seniors, making it the last Ivy League school to implement some form of mixed-gender housing.
“Having a gender-blind housing option for the senior class is not just an LGBT issue, but is much broader, and I certainly applaud the university’s decision to follow the lead of every other Ivy League school in having some kind of gender-blind option,” said Yale junior Benjamin S. Bernard, a board member of Yale’s LGBT Cooperative.
The new policy stipulates that only people of the same gender may share a bedroom within a mixed-gender suite and ensures that no one will be forced to live in a mixed-gender suite. Additionally, couples are “discouraged” from choosing to live in the same suite.
“One of the major concerns against [the policy] was that opposite-sex couples would cohabitate on campus, but if there isn’t such a policy, it means the administration is presupposing that there aren’t same-sex relationships,” Bernard said.
Yale junior Abigail H. Cheung, vice president of the Yale College Council, said that students felt that the former housing guidelines did not accommodate all students’ needs.
“Yale’s housing policies were discriminatory and often resulted in pushing members of the LGBTQ community off campus,” she said.
Student activism initiated by several Yale undergraduate groups—including the Yale College Council and the LGBT Cooperative—played a significant role in pushing for the changes. Their work included holding a sleep-in in the middle of campus last year, meeting with the administration, and conducting a survey to gauge student support of the changes.
“The student movement had a lot to do with the adoption of the policy,” said John R. Meeske, Yale’s associate dean for physical resources and planning. “The university wanted to be responsive to student concerns and interests.”
Meeske said that input from other universities—including Harvard—factored into the policy decision.
Harvard College’s housing policy currently permits mixed-gender suites, but with the condition that each bedroom has a door with a lock.
“We’re still working on [gender-neutral housing], and fairness throughout the process is the most important thing,” said Daniel V. Kroop ’10, a former Undergraduate Council member who has been involved with lobbying for gender-neutral housing privileges.
Students and several Yale administrators said they hope the option for mixed-gender housing will be extended to students other than seniors.
“I think anything is possible,” said Meeske, who attended Yale as an undergrad. “I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years, and I’m pleased to see how the university has moved forward. It’s an even better place now than it was when I was a student.”
—Staff writer Alice E.M. Underwood can be reached at email@example.com.
4. The University New (St. Louis University), February 25, 2010
Busch Student Center, 20 N. Grand Blvd., Suite 354, St. Louis, MO 63103
Symbolic LGBT cross vanished overnight
By Niharika Goparaju
"The Original Cross Has Been Stolen."
Many students are coming across these words as they pass the wooden cross near the Quad. Saint Louis University Campus Ministry started the project where different chartered student organizations sponsor a cross and then decorate it with a current issue that relates to the students. This specific cross belonged to Rainbow Alliance, an organization that fights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights. The topic that they had to parallel the cross with was condemned death.
"I decided to create a cross that depicted LGBTs who are condemned in the world today," Finni Finocchiaro, member of Rainbow Alliance and designer of the cross, said. "That's why I based my design of the cross on three different ideas. The first is how, in some states like Uganda and Saudia Arabia, there is a state-sanctioned death penalty for homosexuals. The second idea is based on the fact that there have been actual hate crimes against homosexuals, like Matthew Shepard in 1998, and Jorge Mercado in November 2009. Finally, the cross is based on the grief that people carry in their heart when people call them 'gay.'"
This design of the cross consisted of bullet holes, baseball bats and even chains that covered it.
"The cross was very visually alarming, and it was meant to cause people to think outside of their comfort zones," Juliana Hulee Heck, president of Rainbow Alliance, said. Unfortunately, Department of Public Safety thought that it was an action against the LGBT, and they took it down."
Although initially removed by DPS, the cross was replaced after a meeting with Rainbow Alliance, but, between the hours of 9 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday, it went missing again.
"There have been many suspicions on who stole the cross- many have said that it could have been specifically targeted by a student, or it could have been the joke of a drunk student," Heck said. "But regardless of who did it, the fact is that such a significant object that represents so many people was stolen, and that is unacceptable. That's why the issue needs attention."
A new cross was replaced near the Quad; it calls attention to the original stolen cross and also states facts about hate crimes related to the LGBT community.
The cross is not the only thing that is bringing attention to the LGBT community. Rainbow Alliance is also conducting the All of Us Campaign in order to create an awareness for others, to show them that they have a roll in the fight for equality.
"The All Us Campaign started last spring on the idea of three straight allies: myself, Carrie Bross and Katie Langley," Thomas Bloom, vice president of Rainbow Alliance, said. "It is a straight ally-led initiative, where allies raise awareness to people who otherwise who don't have an investment in the issue."
Its first big event was the All of Us Campaign Photo Shoot; it was held in the SLU-TV room on Wednesday, Feb. 24. There, straight allies had to sign a pledge that said they would fight for and recognize LGBT rights in the community. The next step was to pose for a picture that will go on the poster that reads: "Let love in and be an ally."
Danielle Dixon, a sophomore, attended the shoot.
"It's not just oppressed African-American groups or other minorities that deserve the attention," Dixon said. "The LGBT community is just as important, as seen by the stolen cross, and it can't falter the cracks."
Lauren Araujo, a junior, also participated in the photo-shoot, and helped conduct it.
"I dedicate a lot of my time for LGBT causes, and I don't understand why you wouldn't. I got involved last year, and one of the biggest reasons it needs to be fought is because there is so much resistance in the beginning," Araujo said. "It was so mind-blowing that the administration didn't understanding this campaign. I mean, I do understand that this is Catholic university, but this campaign is only creating a safer community."
5. 365Gay.com/The Associated Press, February 24, 2010
NCAA yanks Focus on the Family ad amid concerns
By The Associated Press
(Denver) Weeks after scoring a publicity coup with a 30-second Super Bowl ad featuring Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, conservative Christian group Focus on the Family is at the center of another marketing tug-of-war – this time involving the major governing body of college sports.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association removed a Focus on the Family banner ad from one of its Web sites this week, NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said Wednesday.
The NCAA made the decision after some of its members – including faculty and athletic directors – expressed concern that the evangelical group’s stance against gay and lesbian relationships conflicted with the NCAA’s policy of inclusion regardless of sexual orientation, Williams said.
The ad in question was not about sexuality. It featured a father holding his son and the words, “All I want for my son is for him to grow up knowing how to do the right thing.” Like the Tebow ad, it included the address of Focus on the Family’s Web site and the slogan, “Celebrate Family. Celebrate Life.”
Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger said that if such material were “all of a sudden labeled hate speech, we have deeper problems in our country than we even know.”
Williams said the decision to pull the ad was based not on the message but on the messenger.
Advertisers “should be generally supportive of NCAA values and attributes and/or not be in conflict with the NCAA’s mission and fundamental principles,” according to NCAA standards. The NCAA may exclude ads or advertisers “that do not appear to be in the best interests of higher education and student athletes.”
The NCAA Web site is maintained by CBS Sports, and the ad was part of Focus on the Family’s Super Bowl contract with CBS, Schneeberger said. CBS sells ads to support the NCAA.com site – which features information about NCAA championships – and the NCAA reviews the ads, Williams said.
He said the ad was reviewed and the content did not raise any red flags. Williams said he was sure there was some discussion of Focus on the Family, as well, but he did not know the details.
Schneeberger said there is nothing political, controversial or hateful about the ad, saying it’s meant to urge people enduring life challenges to check out Focus on the Family as a resource.
But Pat Griffin, a retired University of Massachusetts Amherst professor who is a consultant to the NCAA on gay and lesbian issues, said it’s not a generic feel-good message.
She said the slogan’s “life” reference is anti-abortion, and celebrating families does not extend to all families but “a very specific kind of family – heterosexual married families. A large part of their energy goes to preventing other kinds of families of having recognition.”
Griffin said it’s one thing for CBS to accept such an ad, but it’s different for the NCAA.
“It’s not the right image or role for the NCAA to be endorsing an organization that has such an extreme right-wing Christian political mission,” said Griffin, who used her blog to protest the ad.
Schneeberger said Focus on the Family spends 90 percent of its budget on providing parenting and marriage resources and 10 percent on advocacy on issues such as abortion and gay marriage.
The Tebow Super Bowl ad – featuring the football player and his mother – attracted protests even before it aired from women’s groups that suspected it would feature an explicit anti-abortion message.
The ad featured Tebow’s mother talking about how she nearly lost her son during pregnancy and ended with Tebow tackling his mother and the pair joking they have to be “tough” to endure their trials.
6. The Circle (Marist College), February 25, 2010
3399 North Road, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601
Men, women, others welcome
By Rachael Shockey
Imagine having to take into account the kinds of bathrooms offered by a college campus in making your final decision on a school. On a day-to-day basis, most of us take for granted subtle conveniences like public restrooms, college housing, language and gender checkboxes on paperwork that properly suit our identities. Still, in a nation where much of the population has access to lavish, frivolous conveniences like TiVo and LaundryView, there is a substantial portion of the population that continues to fight for its universal right to a suitable restroom. The process of adopting policies that assure accommodations for transgendered people is a slow one in our country. Of the thousands of institutions of higher education in the United States today, only 282 have included all gender identities and expressions under the protection of their non-discrimination policies. There's not even a transgender-accessible campus in every state yet. Talk about limiting your number of potentials.
The good news is that the schools that have made gender-neutral accommodations have established extensive, savvy policies that take into account a variety of college student needs. The list of campuses that uphold such policies today includes all of the Ivy League schools, dozens of state schools and our next-door-neighbor, Vassar College, among others. Genny Beemyn writes on the Transgender Law and Policy Institute's Web site that college healthcare can be a very problematic service for transgender students, and the issues often go unrecognized. Beemyn credits the inclusive shortcomings of college healthcare to a lack of training on transgender issues and needs offered to practitioners and staff member. Beemyn adds that, "Even transgender students who encounter respectful and informed health center staff often cannot receive proper medical treatment, as most college insurance plans specifically exclude coverage for gender confirmation surgeries and related conditions, including hormone replacement therapy." In an effort to correct the situation, many of the colleges and universities on the list offer required proper training to staff in their counseling and health centers on transgender issues.
Another major area of concern for on-campus gender-neutral accommodations is providing suitable housing and bathrooms. Many schools are offering options beyond the limiting, default policy of placing students in housing based on their birth gender, reserving wings, floors or entire buildings as gender-neutral residences. Generally, campuses that offer gender-neutral housing allow transgender students who need special accommodations to apply for these services confidentially.
Stanford University adopted gender-neutral housing services in 2007. All students can apply for their gender-neutral housing option, which gives students the opportunity to room with other students of any gender. However, the opportunity is offered first and foremost to transgender students; Stanford's housing application states that "Placement priority will be given to students who notify Housing Assignments [before housing deadline] and who require accommodations based on their gender identity/expression."
These campuses often offer additional support and activities for interested students. Vassar, for example, has a Student Life LGBTQ Center, which organizes related on-campus events, and supports seven student organizations that pertain to LGBTQ issues. The Trans/Gender Group at Wesleyan University offers workshops to all students, informing them on transgender vocabulary, ways to be "a better trans ally" and gender-neutral pronouns.
Fun fact: there have been many campaigns to annex a set of gender-neutral pronouns to the English language; none have gained very wide-spread recognition, but the most successful have been these two sets: sie/zie in place of he/she, hir/zir in place of him/her, hirs/zirs in place of his/hers, and hirself/zirself in place of himself/herself.
Though there is a urinal in the womens' lockerroom in the McCann Center's, Marist College has yet to adopt a gender-neutral accommodation policy.
On how long it will take for Marist to join the 282 schools on the transgender-savvy list, history professor Robyn Rosen said that, "in terms of gender roles and norms, our culture has generally been moving in the direction of liberalization for the past several decades. That said, however, each college and university appeals to different kinds of people. My guess is that Marist would rather be known for being cutting edge in terms of technology than being cutting edge in terms of gender-neutral accommodations on campus."
On the other hand, an overwhelming majority of the gender-neutral policies were only adopted by campuses in the past five years. Who knows what may be accomplished in transgender inclusion in the next five?
7. Inside Higher Ed, February 26, 2010
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Outreach to Gay Applicants
By Scott Jaschik
At many colleges, it's a standard part of the recruiting process once applicants are admitted. Current students who share individual traits or academic interests help reach out to prospective students with similar backgrounds or interests. So the young woman who expresses an interest in engineering will hear from a female junior in engineering. A black admit might hear from a black student, and so forth. The idea is that these students may be uniquely well positioned to answer questions and to make the case that the college is a good place to be a female engineer, a black undergrad, or whatever.
This year, the University of Pennsylvania is applying the idea to admitted applicants who are gay. Several experts on college admissions say that they do not know of any other colleges that have taken this step. [Update: In comments below, an official of Dartmouth College describes such an effort there.] Outreach to gay applicants is different in some key ways from outreach based on academic interests or race and ethnicity. Typically, applications ask about academic interests and race and ethnicity (although that question is optional), and no colleges are known to ask applicants about their sexual orientation.
And while Penn has found ways to reach out to admitted applicants who are gay without asking the question, some advocates for gay and lesbian students are starting to talk about pushing colleges to add such a question (as an option). One group is preparing to petition the Common Application to do so.
Eric J. Furda, dean of admissions at Penn, characterizes the effort there not as something special for admitted gay applicants, but as doing for them what the university already does for many other groups of students. "We are speaking to students on the areas that they are most interested in," he said.
Penn is identifying gay admits through information they provide on their applications -- groups that they are members of, or statements they make about themselves in their essays. One question on the Penn application asks applicants about the communities they would like to be active in at the university, and the answers include academic interests, social and cultural organizations, and -- for some students -- gay life at the university.
Furda said that an admitted applicant wouldn't be identified on the basis of one stand-alone fact, such as membership in a gay-straight alliance at a high school, given how many people are members of such groups these days. The university is looking for admitted applicants who have indicated in some way that gay issues are very important in their considerations.
For those looking for a campus that is supportive of its gay students and has many activities for them, Penn is "an exceptional place," Furda said. So having members of the Lambda Alliance, the umbrella gay group on campus, reach out to prospective students should only help Penn enroll more of those it has admitted, he said.
In the digital era, he said, it is common for admitted applicants to "do their own due diligence" on whatever issues they care about, Furda said. But just as Penn tries "to be proactive" about reaching other groups, it wants to reach out to those who are looking for a gay-friendly campus.
Furda said he didn't know of any other college adopting such a policy; officials of the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the Common Application also said that they were not aware of any other college that is doing outreach of this sort.
Jack Miner, who is the chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Caucus of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, said he hadn't heard of anyone doing this either, and that he thought it was "a great idea" and a welcome move by Penn.
"In just the same way that honors students may like to hear from other honors students, or black students from other black students, gay and lesbian students want to hear what a campus has to offer from the perspective of the gay and lesbian community," said Miner, associate registrar at Ohio State University. While colleges can point to Web pages or provide official information, "speaking to someone who knows this firsthand could make a huge difference for students deciding where to go."
Miner said that while Penn has found a way to identify applicants without asking them about their sexual orientation, a big topic of discussion in the AACRAO gay caucus has been the question of whether colleges should add an optional question on sexual orientation so that colleges can reach out in other ways. He said that many people in the caucus believe that "the culture has changed" such that self-identifying as gay wouldn't be "perceived as a negative" as might have been the case for previous generations. He said that there is considerable interest about seeing some college ask the question but "schools are hesitant to be the first."
Shane L. Windmeyer, the founder of Campus Pride, a national group that works on behalf of gay students, also applauded Penn's move and said that his organization is preparing to ask the Common Application to add a voluntary question about sexual orientation. Windmeyer's organization sponsors college fairs at which gay high school students can meet representatives of colleges, and he noted that such events provide another way for colleges to reach the gay population.
He said Penn's approach represented an "institutionalization" of a commitment to viewing gay students as part of the broader campus population.
Further, he said that his group will be asking the Common Application to add a sexual orientation question so that colleges can refine recruiting techniques and also consider the diversity of their applicant pools in the same way they do now based on race and ethnicity, gender, geography and academics. "I think any type of question [on sexual orientation] should be voluntary, but at the same time, the absence of the question ultimately determines how those identities are treated, so the fact that you don't ask about sexual orientation leaves a question about your commitment to that population," he said.
He said that the question should be asked, just as it is asked about other issues. "Gay people are part of the diversity and fabric of an institution."
The Common Application will be approached, he said, because some campus admissions officials, when asked about the idea, said that they were sympathetic but used the Common Application, and would go with the question if it is adopted there.
Rob Killion, executive director of the Common Application, said he wasn't sure how the board would respond. He noted, however, that the nearly 400 colleges that are members all must abide by the group's nondiscrimination statement, which covers sexual orientation. So if there are hesitations, he said, they will not be from colleges that don't want to admit gay students.
Killion said that the issue he thought might be of concern -- even for an optional question -- would be the stress on applicants. "Members might worry that applicants might worry about how the information would be used, and wonder whether or not they should answer the question."
But Killion added that members might also see value in a question. "I know we would have a substantial number of members who would be interested in statistics and tracking the kind of outreach Penn is now doing, and they might find that a very compelling argument to add a question," he said.
8. Naples Daily News, February 26, 2010
1100 Immokalee Road, Naples, FL 34110
FGCU faculty supports giving domestic partner benefits to gay, straight staff
By Leslie Williams Hale
ESTERO — Florida Gulf Coast University’s faculty senate has overwhelmingly supported a resolution to extend domestic partner benefits to the unmarried partners of gay and straight faculty members.
The idea still has a long way to go before it would actually become a part of the benefits package offered to faculty members, though.
A year ago, the university board of trustees voted to include ‘sexual orientation’ in FGCU’s anti-harassment and non-discrimination policy. Faculty member Doug Harrison, who drafted the resolution passed Friday by the faculty senate, said this is an important opportunity for the university to put its money where its mouth is.
“For the university to say it supports these things is important — I think we’re right to do that,” Harrison said to the senate at Friday morning’s twice-monthly meeting. “But, I think there tends to be some distance between our practices and values.”
Florida law prohibits agencies from using state money to pay for domestic partner benefits, but community colleges and other universities in Florida have approved the extension of domestic partner benefits, typically paid for through concessions: sales of food or clothing on campus through third-party vendors.
“It seems to me the main issue is not a philosophical one, but a funding one,” said Patrick Greene, a faculty senator and an associate professor in the College of Arts & Sciences.
Florida International University, one of two state universities that offers domestic partner benefits, though only to same-sex partners, has relatively low rates of participation through a stipend program it offers. The program, which reimburses faculty members for their partners’ health insurance costs, has cost FIU an average $5,800 a year since it was enacted in 2005. FIU’s student body is about three-times the size of FGCU’s.
Friday’s resolution calls upon the university to make benefits available to same-sex couples as well as unmarried heterosexual couples.
By passing the resolution, the faculty senate simply gives one piece of ammunition to the United Faculty of Florida chapter at FGCU, the local faculty union, when it comes to the bargaining table with administration officials. Any collective bargaining agreement would, furthermore, have to be approved by the university board of trustees.
Harrison asked Provost Ronald Toll to express his own opinion about the matter, after praising Toll for the administration’s support of last year’s agreement to include sexual orientation among the list of things upon which the university affirms it will not discriminate. Also on that list are race, gender and marital status, among other things.
Toll declined, saying that because a decision about domestic partner benefits is not his to make, it would not be appropriate for him to comment.
“But I understand the heart of what you’re talking about. I truly do,” Toll said. “The things I have control over, I’ve demonstrated my value systems. And, I think our collective value systems are not too far apart.”
Beyond that, though, Toll said he could not talk directly about whether the university administration would take a position on domestic partner benefits.
Toll’s hands are tied because of the ongoing collective bargaining process, which requires discussions about contract negotiations to stay at the negotiating table. Madelyn Isaacs, the union chapter president at FGCU, has said domestic partner benefits have been on the table for the past four years.
The faculty senate approved the resolution by a vote of 28 to 2, with one senator abstaining from the vote.
Senators also discussed a report on academic dishonesty at FGCU, approving the next step of the process, to form a task force to look at whether the university needs to revise its code of conduct, or find ways to better enforce it.
Additionally, the members discussed a recommendation from a faculty committee to ban all smoking on campus, but referred it back to the committee for discussion about other alternatives: better enforcement to keep smoking within designated areas on campus or even moving those designated smoking areas.
“If we ban it, people are still going to smoke,” said Senate Vice President Martha Rosenthal, adding that smokers will find clandestine places to smoke, such as behind trees, which could lead to brush fires. “I just don’t think that banning it outright would work.”
Connect with education reporter Leslie Williams Hale at naplesnews.com/staff/leslie_hale
9. The Sacramento Bee, February 27, 2010
P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95826
UC Davis investigates vandalism cases as hate crimes
By Cathy Locke
University of California, Davis, officials say two recent cases of vandalism on the campus are being investigated hate crimes.
A swastika, carved into a Jewish student's door in the Tercero residence hall, was discovered Feb. 19, said Lt. Matt Carmichael of the UC Davis Police Department.
"It came as a total shock to the student," he said. "She felt they all got along pretty well (in the dormitory)."
Carmichael said the department also is investigating as a hate crime a vandalism incident discovered about 12:30 p.m. today. Graffiti was found on a campus building that houses the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center. The graffiti, he said, was clearly intended to be offensive to those the center serves.
In a letter sent Friday to campus faculty and staff, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi cited the swastika incident as one of a series of acts in recent weeks on UC campuses that she described as "reprehensible, inexcusable and an affront to our own campus's Principles of Community."
A week earlier, members of Greek fraternities at UC San Diego allegedly organized an event called the "Compton Cookout." Invitations to the event, Katehi said, encouraged participants to mock Black History Month by promoting negative and offensive racial and gender stereotypes.
Earlier in the month, a group of students attempted to disrupt the Israeli ambassador to the United States during a speech at UC Irvine.
In addition, a noose was found Thursday night hanging from a light fixture in the Geisel Library on the UC San Diego campus. Campus officials said a student came forward Friday morning and claimed she and two others were responsible.
The incidents were condemned in a written statement issued Friday by UC President Mark G. Yudof, chancellors of the 10 UC campuses, and the chairman and vice chairman of the universitywide Academic Senate.
"I'm deeply frightened by the way all this is snowballing on our campuses," Dan Simmons, a UC Davis law professor and vice chairman of the systemwide Academic Senate said Saturday.
Simmons said he thinks people are anxious because of the poor economy, and the university, with layoffs, furloughs and fee hikes, has become the focal point for many of those anxieties.
"People are acting out out of frustration. They see this as an opportunity to strike out," he said. "But none of this does any of us any good. It certainly doesn't accomplish anybody's goals."
10. Tennessee Journalist, February 25, 2010
School of Journalism and Electronic Media, College of Communication and Information, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996–0333
UT's LGBT community makes a great leap on campus
By Kathryn Sullivan
Following the grand opening of UT's LGBT and Ally Resource Center today, Dr. John D'Emilio, professor of history, gender and women's studies at the University of Illinois in Chicago, spoke to UT students and faculty about the recent history of the gay and lesbian communities in America.
D'Emilio's speech, "Leaping and Creeping: How gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people have fought to achieve equality," communicated the changes made in society regarding homosexuality in the past 60 years.
"For the gay and lesbian movement, so much has changed in the last 50 or 60 years. For instance, 50 or 60 years ago, society said homosexuality was a crime, an illness and a sin. Now, we're not sick," said D'Emilio.
D'Emilio informed students of the major movements in gay rights over the past six decades. He discussed the formations of the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis in Los Angeles in the 1950s. He spoke about the Stonewall riots in New York in 1969. He then continued into more modern issues discussing AIDS controversies, the 1987 march on Washington D.C. and the 1993 gays in the military debate.
He referred to these major moments in history as leaps for the gay and lesbian movement. "There are alternating cycles of leaping forward and creeping around. The short leap periods are clear markers of progress and movements. Then, there are longer periods where it's not clear whether [we're] moving forward, stagnant, or moving backward. [We're] just creeping around," said D'Emilio.
D'Emilio explained that in each "creeping period" there is a message that LGBT community expresses. He told listeners that the core perspective in the current creep is, "We want in. We want inclusion. We are part and partial to American Life."
D'Emilio said it gives him hope for the continuation of the movement to equality to be invited to speak to and interact with young people involved in the LGBT community. He expressed his gratitude to UT for inviting him to be present during the opening of the new LGBT Resource Center. "I am so happy I could be here. Every place moves at its own speed. Who cares that other campuses got a [LGBT] center years ago? It really matters that this campus has one."
11. Campus Progress, February 26, 2010
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MBLGTACC: A Lengthy Acronym; a Great Conference
By Christian Pittman
With over 1000 students in attendance, the annual Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference took place this past weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. Campus Progress was there to partake in the workshops and lead a training session on Recruitment and Retention.
The panel discussion, “LGBT Students and College Access and Affordability,” was led by CP’s Vincent Villano, who moderated a chat between Shane Windemeyer (Campus Pride), Courtney D’Allaird (University of Albany), and Greg Cendena (USSA). The panel focused on hardships facing LGBT students in finding a school that had welcoming policies and environments, implemented hate crime protections, and had easy to access financial aid, especially for transgender students, and students disowned by their parents.
Shane introduced Campus Pride’s LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index (CCI) to the audience, sharing a great resource for high school students and returning college students looking for a place that might be especially accepting of their sexual orientation. Using the CCI, university administrators work as a team to assess the resources their campuses offer to the LGBT community, as well as their weaknesses. Just this week the University of Pennsylvania has started a program to reach out to LGBT applicants and let them know about the school support LGBT students receive. As someone who’s watched gay friends transfer from my school, I can’t help but wonder if something like the CCI could have prevented this inconvenience earlier. Not every school is represented, though, so if you are in a position on campus to pass this along to administrators, please do so.
LGBT community issues were also expounded upon at this weekend’s Rootscamp in Washington, D.C., hosted by the National Organizing Institute. Rootscamp focuses on organizers and activists, inviting anyone to share their experiences and lessons, inspiration, and new ideas with their peers. Sessions are not planned in advance; rather attendees are encouraged to set up on-the-fly workshops and discussions pertaining to the issues they are passionate about. During the first block of the weekend several folks from Progressive Strategies, Blue State Digital, Freedom to Marry, and Stonewall Democrats led a group of people in a session outlining successes as well as strategies to avoid in advocating for LGBT rights. Topics ranged from successful blogging and “accidental Facebook conversions” (using your Facebook as a sounding board for issues can and has changed the minds of those stalking your profile) to working to fill Indiana’s open Senate seat with a progressive candidate and using Act on Principles as a model of positive online organizing and influencing legislation.
In just 45 minutes we were inspired and buzzing with a renewed energy, a great way to kickoff a weekend of planning, learning, and collaborating. Even though I’ve had limited experience organizing action, conferences like these provide the ideas for a good jump start. When you put 700 people with passion about progressivism in a room together, a) it’s hard for people to contain themselves enough for other people to get their point across and b) I can’t help but wonder what’s stopping us from making a difference across the board. There are so many people fighting for social compassion to be recognized in this country, if every one of them were as motivated as the people I talked to in those two days we would have health care, marriage rights, and more jobs right now.
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