Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.03.14
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
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1. Stanford University News - Senate will form a committee to study future role of ROTC on campus
2. Scripps News - Maxwell: Gay students asked to help colleges recruit
3. Ledger Enquirer - University of Georgia: Eskridge to explore gay equality
4. Speakeasy - Ohio University students speak about LGBT issues
5. Tulane Hullabaloo - OMA searches for LGBT adviser
6. The Horizon Online (Indiana University Southeast) - Dragging it out at IUS: bringing awareness of gay issues to students
7. The Dartmouth - College practices LGTBQA outreach
8. The Day - Time coming to reconsider ROTC bans
9. The Daily Targum (Rutgers University) - Gay minister urges tolerance in church
10. The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Sexual identity does not fit in a box
11. Akron Beacon Journal - KSU center hopes to defuse epithet: New LGBTQ office embraces the word 'queer'
12. The Daily Star - Gay lacrosse player looks to spark honest discussions
13. The Virginia Gazette - Attorney General says colleges can’t protect gays
14. The Washington Post - Va. college students lash back at Cuccinelli position on gay rights
15. The Washington Post - Students irate at Cuccinelli over gay-rights policies
16. The Chronicle of Higher Education - Virginia's Governor, in Response to an Outcry, Says Workplace Bias Is Banned
17. Inside Higher Ed - Reversal on Anti-Gay Bias
18. The Washington Post - Cuccinelli not giving in on colleges' gay bias policies
1. Stanford University News, March 4, 2010
Stanford News Service, 425 Santa Teresa St., Stanford, CA 94305-2245
Senate will form a committee to study future role of ROTC on campus
By Kathleen J. Sullivan
With the expected repeal of the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military, it's time to reconsider Stanford's relationship with the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, said David Kennedy, history professor emeritus.
The Faculty Senate agreed Thursday to create a committee to study Stanford's role in preparing students for leadership roles in the military, including the potential benefits of re-establishing a Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program on campus.
"The committee should explore the logistical, financial and pedagogical implications of any such relationship for Stanford and its wider mission, and report back to the senate detailing a range of options the university might pursue and the consequences they can be expected to have," the motion said.
The senate approved the motion on a voice vote. One faculty member voted "no" and two abstained.
Senate Chair Andrea Goldsmith, professor of electrical engineering, said the committee would report back to the senate during the next academic year.
"One possibility is for Stanford to re-establish an ROTC program on the Stanford campus, but there are many other possibilities as well," she said at the start of the meeting, the final Faculty Senate gathering of winter quarter.
Stanford phased out its ROTC programs after the Faculty Senate terminated credit for ROTC courses in 1970. The Air Force ended its Stanford program in 1971; the Army and Navy followed suit in 1973, the same year the United States discontinued the draft and established an all-volunteer military force.
The Thursday vote followed a joint presentation by David Kennedy, the Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History, Emeritus, and former U.S. Secretary of Defense William J. Perry, the Michael and Barbara Berberian Professor and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
Kennedy and Perry said they assume the Pentagon policy barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the armed forces will soon be repealed.
"It is our assumption that the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, which has been a serious impediment to reopening this discussion at all, will probably go away within the next year or two, and the field will be open to have a reasonable discussion on this," Kennedy said.
He said Stanford phased out its ROTC programs amid concerns about academic standards (courses were taught by military instructors) and a clause in student ROTC contracts that said students could be drafted immediately if they quit the program. At the time, the ROTC programs also were an issue for faculty and students who opposed the Vietnam War.
During negotiations with Stanford in 1970, the military agreed to eliminate academic credits for ROTC courses, but said removing the punitive clause was beyond their control, Kennedy said.
"The academic dimensions of this subject were negotiable 40 years ago; and there's no reason to think they won't be negotiable again today," he told the senate.
Kennedy said the "punitive clause" once so troubling to faculty is a moot point in the era of the all-volunteer service.
"And to bring the discussion up to the present day, it's our perception – and it's shared by others – that our current policy and practice compelling the one dozen ROTC students at Stanford to go to Berkeley or Santa Clara or San Jose – depending on their service branch – for their ROTC training imposes a pretty unreasonable burden on them that we probably ought to think seriously of doing away with, by bringing that instruction back onto this campus in some form," Kennedy said.
Stanford has cross-enrollment agreements – established between 1975 and 1981 – with three nearby universities that have ROTC programs. Under the pacts, Stanford students get military training while working on their degrees at Stanford.
Students enrolled in Navy and Marine Corps ROTC take classes at the University of California-Berkeley; Air Force ROTC classes are held at San Jose State University. The Army ROTC program is based at Santa Clara University.
Stanford began hosting classes by Santa Clara University's Army ROTC program in 1997. Currently, six Army ROTC classes for freshmen and sophomores are held on the Stanford campus. The classes focus on leadership, including "Leadership and Personal Development" and "Leadership in Changing Environments."
Kennedy also expressed concern that there is a growing gulf between the military and civil society.
"We are in danger of seriously compromising a 200-year-old tradition in this society of the citizen soldier," he said.
He said there is evidence that a "military caste" is emerging in the United States.
"In 2008, the 307 general officers in the United States Army – rank of brigadier and above – had 180 of their children in the service," he said. "The officers I talked with referred to the military – somewhat jokingly, somewhat not – as the 'family business.'"
By comparison, Kennedy noted, the 535 elected members of the U.S. Congress had 10 of their children in the service that same year.
Top military officials with ROTC credentials
Perry said that when he became Secretary of Defense in 1994, he was surrounded by top military officials who were ROTC graduates, including the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Chief of Staff of the Army.
"When I became secretary, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was Colin Powell – ROTC graduate," Perry said. "A year later, he was succeeded by Gen. John Shalikashvili, another ROTC graduate; the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gordon Sullivan, was another ROTC graduate. And I found all of these men to be not only well educated and highly capable, but most importantly, I found they had an appropriately balanced view of the role between civilian and military, and fully accepted the American tradition and the American laws of political control of the military."
Perry praised two of his former students – twin sisters enrolled in Air Force ROTC – as bright and dedicated individuals. He traveled with them to their ROTC classes at San Jose State and attended their commissioning, where he met their proud parents. He said it was a shame the twins had been unable to take part in campus activities because of the time spent commuting off campus for ROTC training.
Perry said he also was inspired by the examples set by two young veterans, both of whom served four years in the Marines and did three tours in Iraq: his grandson, a student at San Jose State, and one of his Stanford students. He said they represent "the best American tradition of citizen soldiers."
Perry said his grandson received an "instant standing ovation" when he visited Perry's class – in uniform – while on leave after his first tour in Iraq. Both found the student response heartwarming, he said.
Perry said bringing ROTC back to Stanford would clearly be the best thing for the ROTC students.
"Beyond that, I think it would be best for all other students on campus to have these ROTC students participating in campus activities," he said. "Finally, I believe it's clearly best for our democracy to have, among its military officers, citizens who have a liberal education at the best universities in the country, including Stanford."
In a question-and-answer session following the presentation, Persis Drell, director of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and a professor of particle physics and astrophysics, said she wanted to address the benefits of military training to the execution of large-scale projects funded by government.
"I'd like to speak from the perspective of 'Big Science,' where we find in the execution of our billion-dollar-class projects that the class of individuals who come from outstanding universities with military training, who have chosen not to pursue a career in the military but then come back into civilian life, have a suite of tools that is actually incredibly useful, because it's a combination of the intellectual leadership and the leadership training that is very valuable. To have Stanford contributing to that suite of talents is a very, very good thing."
Drell said that for the foreseeable future, the United States will need a military.
"We want them to be as educated and as enlightened as possible," she said. "What better place than Stanford?"
Presentation on federally funded research
The senate also heard a presentation from Arthur Bienenstock, special assistant to President John Hennessy for federal research policy, who discussed a variety of issues, including federal research budgets, export controls, indirect cost reimbursements and increased regulation of federally funded research.
Bienenstock, who also is a professor at the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource and a professor of materials science and engineering and of applied physics, said that the Obama administration appears to be on track to double the budgets of the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science and the National Institute of Science and Technology over the next 10 years – a promise Barack Obama made during his campaign for president.
"My perception is that the Obama administration has abandoned its intention to double the National Institutes of Health budget over 10 years, and that the university should be planning for that," Bienenstock warned.
He also discussed the burden increasing federal regulations have placed on faculty.
"About two years ago, the Federal Demonstration Partnership did a survey of principal investigators and found that PIs were spending 42 percent of their federally funded research time on administration," he said. "That's up from 18 percent 20 years ago."
In addition, the senate heard a report on the 2008-09 accomplishments of the Committee on Undergraduate Standards and Policy, presented by Philippe Buc, chair of the committee and a professor of history.
The full minutes of the March 4 meeting, including the question-and-answer sessions that followed the presentations, will be available on the Faculty Senate website next week.
2. Scripps News, March 8, 2010
312 Walnut Street, Suite 2800, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Maxwell: Gay students asked to help colleges recruit
By Bill Maxwell
Word-of-mouth communication always has been an effective way for colleges and universities to recruit students.
For example, female physics majors laud the brilliance of their professors to other women to entice them to attend. Asian students talk to fellow Asians about the international atmosphere of their campuses. Black students tell other blacks about their school's welcoming spirit. Football players swear to their former teammates back home that the university's head coach is a great motivator.
Few people can make the case for a university better than happy students with firsthand knowledge. Now the University of Pennsylvania and Dartmouth College are asking current gay and lesbian students to help recruit other students like themselves.
In my estimation, as a former college professor who taught many gay students, this is an enlightened move by the two Ivies. It underscores their mission to offer world-class liberal arts coursework and to provide culturally and socially diverse environments.
The online publication, "Inside Higher Ed,'' broke the story on Feb. 26. Since then, many other campuses have begun studying how they treat sexual orientation in recruiting. According to the publication, "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."
Until now, the schools have found other ways to identify admitted applicants who are gay without asking them directly. At Penn, admissions officers glean information from student essays and from items on the application that ask students to identify the social, cultural and academic groups they belong to or are interested in joining.
Some gay and lesbian groups want to go further. They are starting a campaign to ask colleges to add the sexual orientation question as an option. Inside Higher Ed states that Campus Pride, a national group, intends to petition the Common Application to add a voluntary question. The Common Application is a not-for-profit organization that serves students and member institutions by providing an admissions application, online and in print, that students may submit to any of its nearly 400 member schools.
Rob Killion, executive director of the Common Application, said he did not know what action the board would take. On a purely practical level, giving gay students a way to self-identify will be another tool for registrars and admissions officers to collect data for tracking the effectiveness of their outreach.
Many advocates of the sexual-orientation question, along with sympathetic university officials, are bracing for pushback from conservative lawmakers who will accuse them of "promoting" the so-called "gay agenda." For this reason, many universities, including those in Florida, have been reluctant to be the first to take up the cause.
Then there are gay and lesbian students who worry that not all registrars and admissions officers and their staffs are ready to add the "rainbow" to their campus colors. Some students fear that if they identify themselves as being gay on their applications, the information may be used against them.
But Jack Miner, chairman of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Caucus of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, told Inside Higher Ed that today's campuses are more accepting than they were just a decade ago. He did not believe that self-identifying as gay or lesbian alone would be perceived as a negative.
I believe that the addition of the sexual-orientation question is more evidence that attitudes toward gay students are evolving at U.S. colleges and universities. It is not an effort to give these students "special rights" or to "promote the gay agenda."
It institutionalizes the need to treat gay students as an integral and normal part of the student body.
(Bill Maxwell is a columnist for the St. Petersburg Times. E-mail bmaxwell(at)sptimes.com)
3. Ledger Enquirer, March 8, 2010
17 W. 12th St., Columbus, GA 31901
University of Georgia: Eskridge to explore gay equality
By Larry Gierer
On March 18 at the University of Georgia, Yale Law School Garver Professor of Jurisprudence William Eskridge Jr. will speak on whether equal rights for gay people give way to liberties for religious people.
His lecture, "Noah's Curse and Paul's Admonition: Civil Rights, Religious Liberty, Gay Equality," will open to the public. It's free.
He will speak at 3:30 p.m. in Classroom A of the Georgia School of Law.
Eskridge is the author of the book, "Gaylaw: Challenging the Apartheid of the Closet."
4. Speakeasy, March 10, 2010
Ohio University students speak about LGBT issues
By Corey Cook
Ohio University students spoke up Thursday about lesbian, gay, bi and trans-gender issues on campus and throughout Athens County with the Sticker Me Gay event.
The event, put on by Student Senate, was done March 4 in the Baker University Center third floor atrium. The event started earlier in the day as members of Student Senate passed out stickers that said whether a person was gay or supported gay rights. People were invited to come back to Baker later that night to discuss the stickers and, more importantly, the overall atmosphere of the LGBT scene at OU.
Kate Steven, vice commissioner on Student Senate for LGBT affairs, facilitated the event. Steven says that she, along with the Student Senate LGBT Commissioner Devon Turchan, thought that it would be “a good start-off for everybody to get excited for pride week [during] spring quarter.”
“We just wanted to do an event that would be inclusive to everybody to talk about the LGBT community in Athens,” Steven said.
At the start of the discussion portion, Steven asked what people have heard about the LBGT community, remarking that she is very involved in OU’s LGBT community. Students’ reactions were mixed to Stevens opening question. One student remarked that places such as the LGBT Center were “safe zones” for people who are gay or lesbian to be themselves. However, another student said that is difficult to go into the center because people do not want to be negatively stigmatized as gay or lesbian. One student who was visiting from a satellite campus of the Ohio State University remarked that the Athens area was “very open” to the LGBT community on campus. During the conversation, Steven asked the audience if the LGBT Center was well known on a campus. One student remarked that in certain places the LGBT center “is the norm,” but stressed not wanting any negative stigmas associated with it.
Steven asked the audience whether or not there were any negative incidents that anyone from audience had experienced as a LGBT student. A few people in the audience commented on the idea that since Athens is in such a small town, most people are not used to people being so open about their sexuality. One student remarked that it “a culture shock, but it is a good thing.” Another student said that while OU is pretty accepting about the LGBT scene, Athens has a “flip side” to it when it comes to the LGBT community.
In the final part of the conversation, Steven asked students what they would like to see more of from the LGBT community. Many students commented on the success of LGBT informational programs such as the Speak-Out program and Safe Zone training to promote the idea of allies for LGBT issues.
5. Tulane Hullabaloo, March 12, 2010
Room 25, Tulane University Center, New Orleans, LA 70118
OMA searches for LGBT adviser
By Jon Berman
Undergraduate Student Government and the Office of Multicultural Affairs are campaigning to the Provost Office to restore the coordinator position for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students for next year.
The Office of Multicultural Affairs had an LGBT coordinator at the beginning of last year, but he left for personal reasons. Soon thereafter, Tulane instituted head-count stabilization to limit the hiring of new staff members because of financial restraints, preventing the OMA from hiring a replacement.
“Students are very concerned about getting the position back, so they recently did a legislation with USG,” said Carolyn Barber-Pierre, assistant vice president for student affairs. “I also wrote a new proposal to replace the position because things are finally easing up financially for the institution.”
OMA sent its budget request to Mike Hogg, interim vice president of student affairs and dean of students. Hogg then forwarded it to Michael Bernstein, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.
“[Bernstein] is a member of the budget work group, and that group reviews all of the requests from the schools and non-academic units that comprise Tulane University,” Hogg said. “The final University budget must fit within the University’s financial resources.”
The proposal will be on the Provost’s agenda when he makes the budget decision within the next two months.
“We have worked over the years to create services to meet the needs of the LGBT community, and ever since we lost that position, there’s been a void in that area,” Barber-Pierre said.
Tommy Gray, MOSAIC executive board member, USG senator and Hullabaloo advertising associate wrote a piece of legislation for USG, and has circulated a petition that urges the administration to hire someone solely dedicated to supporting LGBT life on campus.
Gray researched the kinds of support Tulane’s peer institutions offer and found that many have a student affairs position dedicated to LGBT students.
“Tulane likes to compare itself with schools like Vanderbilt, Duke and Emory and all of them have an LGBT center or an LGBT adviser on campus,” Gray said.
MOSAIC President Evan Landers said the vacancy has made it harder to organize events for MOSAIC, Tulane’s gay-straight alliance.
“The LGBT coordinator was a position that used to work with MOSAIC, and after the position was removed, it became more difficult to operate as an organization,” Landers said. “An adviser makes it easier for an organization to have connections with multiple departments and get more done.”
Gray said he almost transferred to another school because he didn’t feel like there was enough administrative support for LGBT students.
“The lack of a full-time staff position representing LGBT students is indicative of that lack of support,” Gray said. “The only reason I didn’t transfer is because I want to help change the environment here at Tulane.”
The OMA is available to help students if they need assistance, but supporters of an LGBT coordinator say the position is necessary because LGBT problems are often different from the problems of other minorities.
“We’re still in an age where being LGBT is controversial, so there are pressures and anxieties that are specific to LGBT people,” Gray said.
Landers also said that filling the position would be beneficial.
“Because LGBT issues are an important issue in the media these days, an adviser that can work with students to keep them informed on current events would be highly beneficial,” Landers said.
The OMA is committed to providing support to all minority students that need it.
“We have a strong LGBT community on campus, and I feel it’s important to provide the services to meet their needs,” Barber-Pierre said.
6. The Horizon Online (Indiana University Southeast), March 14, 2010
The Horizon, Indiana University Southeast, 4201 Grant Line Road, New Albany, IN 47150
Dragging it out at IUS: bringing awareness of gay issues to students
By Amanda French
The lights were dim, the music was blaring and laughter filled the Robinson Theatre on Saturday, March 6, during the second annual Drag for Charity event at IU Southeast.
The Gay-Straight Alliance, along with the English Club, Student Veterans Organization and Residence Life, hosted the drag show.
About 50 people attended to see seven drag acts lip-sync and dance to music.
Half the proceeds went to the American Red Cross to help earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile.
The remaining half went toward funding for the GSA since they are a self-funded organization. Laquitta Maness, GSA secretary, said they didn’t have a set amount they wanted to raise.
“We just wanted to get people out here,” Maness said.
There were four judges. Three of them — Jen Crompton, assistant director of Residence Life, Greg Roberts, adviser, and Bill Sweigart, associate professor of English and academic adviser for the GSA — are all advisers for the GSA. Kim Pelle, coordinator of the Adult Student Center, was also a judge.
Each judge shared their comments after each performance, and the top three winners were chosen. The winner, Scuttle Butts, gave an encore performance.
Aaron Neely, psychology junior, is a part of the Scuttle Butts and said he had fun.
“I had a good time,” Neely said. “If I had to dress up like a lady to be a rock star, so be it.”
All joking aside, Neely said the GSA has been very supportive since he has been back from Iraq. He said it was hard transitioning back.
“It’s been really good to have people around that were really accepting,” Neely said.
John Cronin, political science senior, said he had a great first experience performing in the drag show.
“Performing was unlike any experience I have ever had,” Cronin said. “I got to experience the rush of it all for the first time.”
Cronin said raising money for the American Red Cross earthquake relief drove him to perform in the show. Sweigart said he was happy about how the show turned out.
“I thought it was very well done,” Sweigart said. “They worked very hard putting it together.”
During the show, many performers got the audience involved by either pulling them on stage or dancing with them in the crowd. Sweigart said the audience participation was great and felt like the audience really liked it.
Stephanie Schuman, secondary education sophomore, was in the audience and said the show was awesome and raising money for charity was a good thing.
“It’s pretty cool that they’re doing this to generate money for a good cause,” Schuman said. “I think they’re doing the right thing.”
Rosella Pearl, a student at the University of Louisville, was also in the audience and said she enjoyed the show.
“I thought the show was tantalizing,” Pearl said.
Maness said fliers were put up four months in advance to advertise for the show.
Performers had to attend informational meetings, but Maness said most of them were friends of the GSA.
They also advertised about the event in Louisville and around campus. Maness said the event only cost about $200.
Due to the mature nature of the show, the fliers stated no children should attend. Maness said there were no restrictions on what the performers could do, but school policy prohibited alcohol.
“Anything else was free game,” Maness said.
Sweigart said the GSA has been on campus for about 18 years and he has been the adviser for 16 years. He said, during the years, the GSA has gone by several names, such as Lambda, but the current name was decided upon in 2008.
According to the GSA’s Web site, the purpose of the group is to “provide a safe and tolerant place for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, straight or questioning people to discuss issues that affect all people.”
Sweigart summed it up by just getting the education out there to people who need it and want it.
Sweigart said they do this by holding panel discussions on campus to help answer questions students may have. Representatives from the GSA will go to classes, upon requests from professors and may show presentations and answer questions.
Sweigart said there were three panels last fall and were successful because students feel more comfortable in a classroom setting.
Through education and time, Sweigart said, the prejudice among gays and lesbians will eventually go away.
“People need to be prepared and socialized and come to an understanding in order for those changes to happen,” Sweigart said.
7. The Dartmouth, March 8, 2010
Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755
College practices LGTBQA outreach
By Laura Bryn Sisson
Starting with students admitted to the Class of 2013, Dartmouth officials have worked to attract admitted students who indicated interest in the College’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and allied community, Caroline Kerr, the senior assistant director of admissions and the coordinator of LGBTQA outreach efforts, said in an interview with The Dartmouth.
The Class of 2013’s application supplement was the first to include gender identity and the LGBTQA community in the list of areas of personal interest students can indicate they intend to pursue in college, Kerr said.
Pam Misener, the assistant dean of student life in the Office of Pluralism and Leadership, said she composd a welcome e-mail which the admissions office then sent to students who indicated interest in the College’s LGTBQA community. The e-mail included information about Gender Sexuality XYZ and encouraged regular decision students to attend Dimensions weekend and its LGBTQA welcome events, Kerr said.
As a result of the initiative, “the ’13s are definitely more integrated from the start than perhaps the other classes were, in numbers,” GSX co-chair Rigel Cable ’10 said in an interview with the Dartmouth.
Compared to the Class of 2013, 50 percent more applicants to the Class of 2014 indicated their interest in participation in LGBTQA issues in college, according to GSX co-chair Anna Roth ’13.
“The ’14s are getting more content [from informational materials],” Roth said in an interview with the Dartmouth.
Cable and Roth participated in a live “Dartmouth Life” video chat on Feb. 16 produced by the admissions office, which provided information about LGBTQA student life at Dartmouth to prospective students. Dartmouth Life will continue spotlighting topics related to student life, according to the Perspectives from Dartmouth Admissions blog.
The video chat is an example of how the College can now reach people via the Internet who would not travel to visit campus specifically to attend a LGBTQA event, Cable said.
The initiative to formally reach out to potential students interested in LGBT issues was sparked when The Advocate, a national gay and lesbian news magazine, included Dartmouth on its 2006 list of 100 best campuses for LGBTQA students, Kerr said.
At the time, students could self-identify as a particular race or ethnicity, allowing OPAL advisors to reach out to them early in the admissions process, but there was no way to reach out to students who might be interested in LGBTQA issues, Kerr said.
The outreach program was a natural extension of OPAL’s LGBTQA programs and its practice of reaching out to first-generation college students and students from certain geographic regions, Kerr said.
The admissions office put together an LGBTQA advisory support group to advise its outreach efforts, Kerr said. The support group includes Misener, several students, faculty members, a staff member from the Office of Residential Life and admissions officers, Kerr said.
Dartmouth’s choice to ask students about their interest in participating in the LGBTQA community on campus, rather than asking specifically about an individual’s sexual identity, indicates the College’s willingness to look beyond labels, according to Jack Miner, associate registrar at Ohio State University and chair of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Caucus of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers.
Dartmouth is one of two Ivy League institutions that seek to attract admitted students who indicate an interest in the LGBTQA community. The University of Pennsylvania recently began reaching out to students involved in LGBTQA activities, according to a Feb. 26 article in Inside Higher Ed.
Dartmouth’s way of handling the question can help students who feel uncomfortable indicating their sexual identity on a college application if they are not “out” in their home environment, Kerr said.
Campus Pride, a national group working to create safe university environments for LGBTQA students, plans to petition the Common Application to include a voluntary sexual orientation question, Shane Windmeyer, the organization’s founder, told Inside Higher Ed in a Feb. 26 article.
Many Dartmouth officials would support the presence of a question about sexual orientation on the Common Application, Misener said.
“[The question] would signal a really good thing, a heightened awareness about identity being much broader,” Kerr said.
However, a blank space — in which applicants could choose how to phrase their identification of their sexual orientation or about other aspects of their identity such as religion or politics — would be better, Kerr said.
8. The Day, March 8, 2010
47 Eugene O'Neill Drive, P.O. Box 1231, New London, CT 06320-1231
Time coming to reconsider ROTC bans
So what is going to be the justification now?
At the height of the Vietnam War and the corresponding student protests calling for an end to both it and the draft, some of the nation's most prestigious universities ordered Reserve Officers' Training Corps units off campus.
In time ROTC returned to many campuses, but not all, including Yale University here in Connecticut. Yale and other colleges have made the logical argument that the prohibition against homosexuals serving openly in the military conflicted with anti-discriminatory policies on campus.
Now, with the White House and Pentagon urging Congress to end the ban, and along with it the "don't ask, don't tell" approach, universities need to reconsider their positions. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Connecticut's self-proclaimed "independent Democrat," made that point in introducing legislation that would allow openly gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals to serve in the armed forces.
Sen. Lieberman said he wants to see the ROTC again recruiting at all the nation's top universities. The legislation contains a not-so-gentle push to achieve just that - a provision requiring a report to Congress on the enforcement of the law that prohibits federal funds to colleges that block ROTC units. Yale and other schools circumvent the ban by allowing their students to sign up at ROTC programs at other institutions - Yale students at the University of Connecticut, Harvard students at MIT, for example.
The officer commissioning program plays a major role in preparing the nation's military leaders. ROTC graduates constitute 56 percent of U.S. Army officers, 41 percent of Air Force officers, 20 percent of Navy officers and 11 percent of U.S. Marine Corps officers, according to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense. The U.S. Coast Guard does not participate.
If Congress lifts the ban tied to sexual orientation, as it should, there will be no excuse for universities to prohibit ROTC programs on their campuses. In fact, a continued ban would itself be a form of discrimination against students who want to pursue military service through ROTC. Their own colleges should not force such students to commute to other institutions.
Many in the military are demonstrating a willingness to change. The nation's elite universities should do likewise.
9. The Daily Targum (Rutgers University), March 8, 2010
126 College Ave. Suite 431, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
Gay minister urges tolerance in church
By Dennis Comella
Guy Hammond is an evangelist minister from Halifax, Nova Scotia, who appears to live a normal life with his wife, four children and dog.
But unlike most men in his situation, he is also gay.
Hammond gave a talk Friday on Christianity and homosexuality at the Busch Campus Center, where he described his life as a same-sex attracted man and what he has done to accept his sexuality as a Christian.
“I don’t believe that being a certain sexual orientation is a prerequisite for going to heaven,” he said.
Hammond said following Jesus is what matters in a person’s life.
In the first part of his lecture, called “Rethinking the Christian’s View of Homosexuality,” Hammond addressed the lack of understanding and compassion of the Christian world regarding homosexuality.
Although Christianity does not approve of gay practices, he said condemning someone solely based on homosexuality goes against the loving message of God, especially if one neglects other aspects of a person’s life.
“The Bible mentions homosexuality five times,” he said. “But it mentions pride and arrogance 900 times.”
At the age of 24, Hammond decided to begin reading the Bible and comparing it to his own life. He started to feel he was living a sinful life as a gay man.
After he accepted homosexuality as a sin, Hammond prayed for a change in his sexual orientation, but it never came.
“At this stage in my life, and at this point in my journey, I don’t really care anymore,” he said.
Hammond said he has come to accept his feelings while maintaining a straight lifestyle for 23 years, which he believes is consistent with what the Bible teaches. He tries to navigate through his struggles with faith.
Hammond’s message was that Christianity should accept gays for whom they are, even if it does not approve of how they live. Gays should also be able to live by the teachings of the Bible.
Being same-sex attracted and Christian are not mutually exclusive, he said.
“I’ve never had an attraction to the opposite sex,” said Hammond, who has been married for 19 years.
The second part of the lecture, called “Bridging the Gap,” discussed practical ways to build ties and fuel a mutually respectful relationship between the Christian world and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community.
Hammond said the problem with Christians who are opposed to homosexuality is not bigotry, but rather a lack of education, and the church needs to make an apology.
“My hope and prayer is that many in the gay community have not given up on the church,” he said.
Hammond, who has been a minister for 14 years, acknowledged the fact that his views on the subject may not be widely accepted, and that others may have differing viewpoints.
“I might be wrong, but I doubt there is a more controversial issue than homosexuality and Christianity,” he said.
After the lecture, audience members raised questions and critiques about his views. Lara Arp, a Baptist minister from Dallas, disagreed with Hammond’s view that gays are required to suppress their natural feelings.
“I respect his position, but I disagree strongly,” she said. “I don’t think it’s this one little slice, but a huge part of life. … You’re denying an expression of God.”
Arp said the church should embrace gays and allow them to express themselves as they wish.
“I think it would be sad to have to choose between being a Christian and being a lesbian,” said Arp, who is straight. “Denying that aspect of your life is denying a huge portion of your life.”
Christopher Antoniello, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, shared a similar viewpoint as Arp.
“I disagree with the whole ideal that you have to change yourself,” he said. “I don’t have a problem at all with [homosexuality]. Everyone should be loved.”
Even though people disagreed with parts of his lecture, Hammond thought he accomplished his mission of creating a dialogue between the two groups.
“I respect that they disagree, but are willing to have an open dialogue,” Hammond said. “I found everyone respectful and everyone had very thoughtful comments.”
Others, including Shawnna James, co-president of LLEGO, the LGBT Queer, Questioning, Intersex and Allies People of Color Organization at Rutgers University, said what matters is that people love and support each other.
“It was good to get a different perspective I haven’t heard about Christianity,” said James, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “I think it was great that a lot of people from the LGBT community came.”
Campus Advance, a non-denominational Christian group at the University, organized the event.
“We made sure that anything that was going to be said was going to be positive,” said Eric Otto, vice president of Campus Advance and a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences senior. “I think it did a lot to bridge the gap.”
10. The Arizona Daily Wildcat, March 10, 2010
615 N. Park Ave, Tucson, AZ 85719
Sexual identity does not fit in a box
By Anna Swenson
At Dartmouth and the University of Pennsylvania, college admissions officers are starting a movement to recruit students based on sexual orientation. Though they have previously done so only by information provided by applicants in their personal essays and group involvement, the schools are considering adding a category on their application that would allow students to list their sexual orientation. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, one group is petitioning for a similar field to be added to the Common Application.
Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered college applicants should get all the support they need to feel welcome, valued and given due consideration by schools to which they apply. But adding a simple check-box to determine whether students are “gay” or “not” overly simplifies and belittles a very personal choice.
In the increasingly competitive college market, eager applicants might identify as homosexual in order to seem more desirable to top schools. Though no one should ever have to prove their sexual identification, allowing students to exploit this choice because it makes them seem interesting is harmful to those students who really are gay. Questioning one’s sexual orientation is a subtle and often difficult journey, one that should not be reduced to a box so susceptible to exploitation.
Many students may still be questioning their sexually at the age at which they apply for college, so a box that asks applicants “Are you gay?” may be more problematic than “Do you live in Arizona?” Colleges should strongly consider admitting a student based on their compelling personal essay on being a lesbian at the debutante ball. But applications officers should not consider a student that checks that box preferentially to a student who does not, especially as it will be optional.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning students should be welcomed to apply for schools and receive the same consideration as any other students. Their sexual orientation might help them qualify for scholarships and financial aid, but it should not factor into the admittance policy. What LGBTQ students and their allies are striving for is equality. Everyone should be treated the same, and should be considered as potential student the same.
LGBTQ students should be commended for their work with organizations that promote gay rights, and should be proud to list such activities on college applications. Colleges should and do consider a students’ passions when considering whether to admit a student, and activism is a factor in that consideration.
Adding this identifier to the Common Application and advertising its significance at schools like Dartmouth and Penn makes what is, for many, a very personal choice into a very impersonal distinction.
Anna Swenson is a sophomore majoring in English.
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. Akron Beacon Journal, March 11, 2010
44 E. Exchange Street, Akron, OH 44308
KSU center hopes to defuse epithet: New LGBTQ office embraces the word 'queer'
By Carol Biliczky
Kent State University is opening a center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and, yes, queer students today.
The word ''queer'' has been a fighting word for the gay community. But students decided to embrace it the way many others have nationwide.
''We're tying to take away the negative connotation of the word and put some positive power in it,'' said Max Harrington, a junior political science major from Clyde who is president of PRIDE! Kent, the gay student organization on campus.
The new LGBTQ office in the Student Center aims to help connect this population of students to Kent State and to promote conversation about sexuality, gender and race, according to a university news release.
Another goal is to forge relationships with racial minorities, said Molly Merryman, an associate professor of justice studies who coordinates Kent State's LGBT studies program.
''Students of color who are sexual minorities often feel they have to make a choice'' between joining the black student group or the gay one, she said.
This is the first time the university has opened an office just for LGBT students,
although PRIDE! Kent has its own office and the university has welcomed gays in other ways.
For example, it offered its first course in LGBT studies in 1971, introduced a minor in gay studies in 2001 and in 2007 introduced unisex bathrooms for students who view themselves as transgender, which means they feel themselves trapped in the wrong body.
Those advances may have generated a slightly higher population of LGBT students than the norm, said Merryman, who accepts the estimate that 5 percent to 7 percent of the population is LGBT.
On Kent State's eight campuses of 38,000, that would mean about 2,280 students are LGBT.
Harrington, the PRIDE! Kent president, said 40 to 60 students typically attend club meetings, double the number of last year.
''In the generation that I'm in, individuals are coming out earlier and earlier,'' Harrington said.
He said students chose to include the word ''queer'' for the new center. Yet while the word is common on campus, he understands why it can be startling for those schooled to see it as a spit-and-slap insult.
Spokesperson Sue Hyde of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said she might identify herself as queer, lesbian or even gay, depending on whom she was talking to and how comfortable they may be with the issues.
The word may have become more common on campuses ''as a neat and comprehensive way to include all of us, even those of us who do not identify as GLBT,'' such as blacks who prefer ''same gender loving,'' she said.
For many younger people, ''it is a more playful word. They don't associate it with epithets being hurled at them at the street,'' she said.
Still, Merryman, the KSU faculty member, said she would watch the body language of someone who called her queer to see whether it was being used as an insult.
While it is ''one of those words that's being reclaimed,'' it still can be misused, she said.
12. The Daily Star, March 11, 2010
102 Chestnut Street, PO Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820
Gay lacrosse player looks to spark honest discussions
By Denise Richardson
ONEONTA - Andrew McIntosh aims to destroy doors on gay closets, and he started with his own.
Last year, as a newly appointed lacrosse team captain at SUNY Oneonta, McIntosh said he wrestled with suicidal thoughts until he decided to talk about being a gay man.
First, he told a close friend from high school and his sister. Since then, he told his coach, Dan Mahar, and fellow captains.
On Feb. 15, McIntosh told his teammates, the same day Outsports.com, an online gay sports community, published his article, ``College lacrosse player comes out to his team.’’
McIntosh, 22, of Putnam Valley, said he intended to answer individual questions when asked about his sexuality instead of telling the entire team, but then he realized teammates would be reading his essay.
``Being honest is very important to me,’’ McIntosh said, ``and I wanted them to hear it from me and not from anyone else.’’ Mahar said he is proud to say there has been no hint of negativity from players.
``The guys see Andrew as Andrew,’’ said Mahar, a 1997 SUNY Oneonta graduate in his third season as head coach of the lacrosse team. The State University College at Oneonta campus always has been welcoming in terms of services and resources, he said, but society has become more aware and understanding of homosexuals in the past 10 or 15 years.
Several lacrosse players agreed McIntosh’s revelation wasn’t a big deal.
``It didn’t really faze anybody,’’ Tom Kelly, 21, a SUNY Oneonta junior, said after the Red Dragons’ practice on the allweather field near Hunt Union on Tuesday. ``It’s not really looked at, `he’s homosexual,’ _ he’s our teammate. ... We’re still all very comfortable together.’’
Gay athletes speaking about their sexuality is ``a hot topic.’’ Mc- Intosh said he has noted some shocked reactions but no negative responses. His teammates and coach have been supportive, he said, and thoughts of suicide are gone.
On Wednesday afternoon, some SUNY Oneonta students taking a break on the quad between classes agreed Mc- Intosh’s decision to come out showed courage.
Justin Eisenschmidt, 20, a junior from Glens Falls, said McIntosh took a bold step in revealing his sexuality to teammates, who are strangers compared to friendships molded during high school athletics.
McIntosh’s decision to be honest with his team is ``the mark of a good leader,’’ Eisenschmidt said, and his frankness may help pave the way for others with similar issues.
Five years ago, a college campus wouldn’t have been as accepting of an athletic captain coming out of the closet, students said.
``It represents our society’s progress,’’ said Jordan Aily, 23, a senior from Queens. ``It’s awesome.’’
James Koury, editor of locally published Diversity Rules Magazine and Oneonta city clerk, applauded McIntosh’s steps.
``I commend Andrew Mc- Intosh for coming out and proudly proclaiming his sexuality to his fellow lacrosse teammates,’’ Koury said. ``More importantly, however, I commend him for being true to himself and having the courage to evolve to the point where he could feel free enough to openly express his true being.’’ Societal pressures to conform and the stigma attached to being gay in some areas of the country lead to some LGBT individuals to hide, Koury said, and some take their own lives, unnecessarily so.
``I am so happy that Andrew did not take his own life and chose to live it the way he was meant to be and the way God meant him to live it _ as an open and proud LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgend) individual,’’ Koury said.
WORDS CAN HURT
McIntosh, who is 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighs 215 pounds, wrote in his Outsports. com article that he remembered when Mahar stopped a practice because a teammate said a drill was ``so gay.’’ Mahar said the comment was unacceptable, and McIntosh said it was the first time he had ever seen a coach address people being gay.
Mahar’s position is clear, several players said Tuesday: If Mahar hears any obscene or derogatory remarks, the automatic and immediate penalty is 10 pushups. Nobody wants to do pushups, one student said, but the lesson really is a lesson in civility to be remembered for life.
The lacrosse season started Feb. 27, and the team has won its first two games, including a double- overtime 9-8 win over Clarkson on Saturday.
On Tuesday, late afternoon sunshine warmed the field near Hunt Union, where practices are scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Breathless players left the field as others rotated into play, and players worked on balancing pride with preparation for this Saturday’s game against Union College.
``One, two, three, O-State,’’ they shouted after a huddle. Drills included running across the field in less than 6 seconds.
``Let’s go, boys,’’ someone yells. ``Go, go, go.’’ Mahar shouts during practice that effort makes the difference. The team is ranked 26th in the nation in Division III lacrosse, he said, and can improve its position with effort.
``We can be the best team that’s ever played here,’’ Mahar said. ``We’ve got to stay together as a team.’’
STEREOTYPES IN SOCIETY
Few gay professional athletes have revealed their sexuality until after their careers.
McIntosh said it’s sad that more professional athletes who are gay aren’t able or don’t feel comfortable coming out. However, he said, no matter the level, staying in or coming out of the closet is a personal decision to be respected. The mission is to find happiness, he said.
McIntosh said he was nervous during the practice before he broke his story to the gathered team. Team co-captains stood nearby as McIntosh said he spontaneously ``spoke from his heart.’’ From teammates, he heard ``you have guts’’ and ``nothing changes,’’ McIntosh said, which gave him feelings of relief and empowerment.
``I just respect the fact that he felt comfortable coming out to the whole team,’’ Ryan Gifford, 19, a sophomore, said Tuesday.
If any players felt negatively, they were keeping it to themselves, Gifford said, and McIntosh as captain has the players’ respect.
``He gets everyone pumped up for the games,’’ Gifford said. ``I don’t think anything has changed,’’ Matthew Coyne, also a captain, said there weren’t any derogatory comments after McIntosh told the team.
``We’re behind him _ as a team and as his friends,’’ Coyne said Tuesday. Last autumn, Coyne said, as the four captains were walking to the parking lot after a fall practice, McIntosh said he had ``something important’’ to tell them.
``Everyone was very supportive _ it was a `we’re here for you’ attitude,’’ Coyne said. ``If anything, it made us a little closer _ that we can share.’’
AN ATHLETE FOR MANY YEARS
McIntosh, who was on his high school football team, has played lacrosse for 12 years. He plays defense for the Red Dragons. He started college at C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University, then transferred to SUNY Plattsburgh, where he maintained his closeted personae. But he was depressed, lonely and ran his life in a strict routine, he said, and dating women didn’t work.
``I felt demasculinized because I was gay,’’ Mc- Intosh said. ``How could I be the physical lacrosse player I wanted to be?’’ He looked to transfer and started at SUNY Oneonta in August 2008. ``It was great’’ to be on a different campus, he said, to meet people and concentrate on academics and playing lacrosse, and he avoided the distraction of any intimate relationships.
At the end of last season, Mahar appointed him as one of four captains of the team. He wrote in his essay that he was excited to be named a captain, but he also was depressed.
``I had experienced no lonelier point in my life. I felt no one could understand my feelings.
Who the hell is gay and plays sports, especially lacrosse?’’ he wrote.
Stories he read in Outsports. com helped him acknowledge his feelings, McIntosh said, and he recognized he wasn’t alone when he saw the film ``Milk,’’ the story of Harvey Milk, California’s first openly gay elected official.
McIntosh said his older brother, who is married to a woman, his gay sister and her partner and his parents have supported him as he has revealed his identity. He said he turns awkward situations with teammates into humorous exchanges.
``If anything, it’s provided for some good jokes,’’ he said. ``I’m just enjoying my senior year. What better way than to come out of the closet?’’
SUNY Oneonta is among the most supportive campuses within the state and nation regarding the gay and lesbian community, said Jenna Mega, president of Open Minded Unity on campus, but lacrosse stereotypically is ``very masculine and physically grueling’’ and it is difficult for men in such sports to come out.
``It is a huge leap toward universal acceptance if strong individuals like Andrew “come out,” she said in an e-mail. ``I’m very proud and honored that Andrew has had the tremendous courage to come out. ... It is very important for people to have hope whether they are “in the closet” or already “out.”
MCINTOSH CONSIDERS FUTURE
McIntosh, who is majoring in secondary education, plans to student teach this autumn and graduate in December. He is considering graduate school and employment in sports counseling. Athletics teaches many lessons that can be applied to personal, family, school and professional situations, he said, a perspective he has heard from Tracey Ranieri, SUNY Oneonta athletic director.
McIntosh showed leadership as soon as he arrived, Ranieri said, and he served on a student athlete advisory group. The fact McIntosh felt comfortable coming out reflects efforts by the campus to create a diverse and inclusive community. In particular, she credited Mahar for an ability to develop a team of good citizens and an environment that has recognized McIntosh’s leadership qualities.
``He’s a really great role model for student athletes,’’ Ranieri said. ``He’s a great, great, young man. We’re really proud to have him.’’
The passion, values, self-discipline, commitment, teamwork and ability to fall, then get up, are valuable lessons that can be applied in other life situations, she said.
``Sports is a metaphor for life. I chant it to the student athletes all the time,’’ Ranieri said. ``Our students live and die with their teams - it’s a culture of loyalty, trust, commitment and service.’’
13. The Virginia Gazette, March 9, 2010
216 Ironbound Rd., Williamsburg, Va. 23188
Attorney General says colleges can’t protect gays
By Brittany Daniels
RICHMOND – State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is asking the state’s public colleges and universities to rescind their policies banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Cuccinelli sent letters telling the institutions of higher education that they don’t have legislative authority to prohibit discrimination against people who are gay or lesbian. The College of William & Mary announced last week that it would drop its controversial bias reporting system instituted by former president Gene Nichol. The college didn't say what role Cuccinelli's letter may have played in the decision.
“It is my advice that the law and public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibit a college or university from including ‘sexual orientation,’ ‘gender identity,’ ‘gender expression,’ or like classification, as a protected class within its nondiscrimination policy, absent specific authorization from the General Assembly,” Cuccinelli’s letter said.
Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao sent an e-mail Friday afternoon informing all students, faculty and staff at VCU and the Medical College of Virginia about Cuccinelli’s letter.
“The university’s senior leadership team and I are examining the issue closely. Provost [Stephen] Gottfredson is planning forums to provide students, faculty and staff an opportunity to discuss the implications of the Attorney General’s request,” Rao’s e-mail said.
VCU has a policy stating that “no person, either singly or in concert with others, shall willfully discriminate against another person on a basis not reasonably related to the educational or job functions involved on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, religion, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, and age.”
Other public colleges and universities have similar policies.
Cuccinelli, a Republican who served as a state senator before being elected attorney general in November, reminded the schools that they are “arms of the state” and are “subject to control of the General Assembly” at all times.
His letter said state institutions cannot include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies without express permission from the General Assembly.
“I am aware that several Virginia colleges and universities have included ‘sexual orientation’ in their respective policies,” Cuccinelli wrote.
“For the reasons stated, any college or university that has done so has acted without proper authority. Such invalid policies create, at a minimum, confusion about the law and, at worst, a litany of instances in which the school’s operation would need to change in order to come into conformance.
“Accordingly, I would advise the boards of each college to take appropriate actions to bring their policies in conformance with the law and public policy of Virginia.”
Virginia Democrats condemned Cuccinelli and accused him of encouraging discrimination. They called on Gov. Bob McDonnell, a Republican, to rein in Cuccinelli.
“Our colleges and universities are more than capable of setting policies that work for them without meddling from Ken Cuccinelli,” said Richard Cranwell, chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
The Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus denounced Cuccinelli.
“Attorney General Cuccinelli is turning the clock back on civil rights in Virginia,” said Sen. John Edwards, D-Roanoke. “His advice to Virginia’s colleges and universities has no basis in the law.”
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia said Cuccinelli’s advice could hurt student and faculty recruitment.
“I am puzzled why the Attorney General would authorize our public colleges and universities to discriminate,” Warner said in a statement.
“A decision on whether to hire, promote or offer admission should be based on whether or not the individual is qualified – period. I believe the Attorney General’s advice will hurt the ability of our colleges and universities to attract the very best faculty, staff and students, and damage the Commonwealth’s reputation for academic excellence and diversity.”
Warner served as governor in 2002-2005. He and his successor, Democrat Tim Kaine, both issued executive orders specifically barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
McDonnell declined to issue such an order when he replaced Kaine in January.
Last week, the House of Delegates defeated legislation to protect state employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
“There are plenty of challenges facing the Commonwealth, and I don’t think our elected leaders should be spending their time looking for ways to allow discrimination,” said Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Henrico).
“First the governor refused to protect gay state workers, then he sat silent while the House of Delegates killed legislation that would have protected his state workforce, and now his attorney general tells schools they can’t protect their gay students and employees.”
McDonnell’s office issued a statement saying Cuccinelli’s letter simply reflects the law.
“The legal analysis contained in the letter concerning the General Assembly’s sole responsibility for setting state employment policy is consistent with all prior opinions from the Office of the Attorney General over the last 25 years on the subject,” the statement said.
“The Governor expects that no Virginia college or university, or any other state agency, will engage in discrimination of any kind.”
Brittany Daniels is a journalism student at Virginia Commonwealth University and reports for the Capital News Service.
14. The Washington Post, March 8, 2010
1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071
Va. college students lash back at Cuccinelli position on gay rights
By Daniel de Vise
Update: More political reaction to the Cuccinelli letter.
Virginia college students began to mobilize Monday in response to a legal opinion from the state's attorney general saying Virginia's public colleges have no authority to ban discrimination against gay employees.
The letter from Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, dated Thursday, was made public Friday, just as many state university students were leaving for Spring Break. The geographical hurdle has pushed much of the dissent online.
More than 3,000 people have joined one Facebook page titled, "WE DON'T WANT DISCRIMINATION IN OUR STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES!" Nearly 900 people have joined another page started by activists at the College of William and Mary.
The University of Virginia group Queer & Allied Activism has launched a social media campaign, urging students to protest on Cuccinelli's Facebook and Twitter pages, and to sign a petition organized by the group Equality Virginia.
Some students contend Cuccinelli released the letter late last week on purpose, because it caught many students leaving for break.
"I've never gotten so many e-mails from students wanting to do something," said Brandon Carroll, 21, student government president at Virginia Tech. In his view, any erosion in gay rights at state universities is "going to make us lose top students. It's going to make us lose top faculty."
Within the universities, talk has turned, of course, to whether the institutions will have to follow the advisory.
University officials weren't stepping forward Monday with opinions on the matter. But at the umbrella group State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, spokeswoman Kirsten Nelson responded with some historical context.
Cuccinelli reasons in his letter that only the General Assembly can assign legal protections to gay state employees.
Nelson cites the codes that lay out relationships between individual colleges and state government. By her reading, those codes "are somewhat vague," written in language that gives the institutions "a great deal of autonomy . . . historically, it has been assumed that it is the will of the General Assembly that the institutions retain broad control over their governance," she said, in an e-mail.
State colleges generally are afforded a measure of autonomy by state governments, said Ada Meloy, general counsel for the American Council on Education, a group representing presidents and provosts.
"I am sure that universities that have been implementing this policy of inclusiveness of the gay and lesbian community presumably want to continue to have that same policy," she said. "They may feel that capitulating to this directive or request puts them at a disadvantage as opposed to other major educational institutions that have largely embraced the policy of inclusiveness."
Meloy predicts that any change in anti-discrimination language would provoke outcry.
"You can just look at the issues that went on with regard to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy to see the kinds of strong feelings that arise when institutions feel they must, due to administrative or legislative fiat, disadvantage a group that they wish to include and value," she said.
15. The Washington Post, March 9, 2010
1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071
Students irate at Cuccinelli over gay-rights policies
By Daniel de Vise and Rosalind S. Helderman
Campus activists across Virginia put spring break on hold Monday to mobilize against Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II, who has riled student groups with a letter advising public universities to retreat from their policies against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
Students at Virginia Commonwealth University, one of the few in the state not on break, planned a rally for noon Wednesday, with several hundred students committed. At Christopher Newport University, student Republican and Democratic leaders will discuss their next steps at a bipartisan meeting Friday.
"I've never gotten so many e-mails from students wanting to do something," said Brandon Carroll, 21, president of the student government at Virginia Tech. He said any erosion in gay rights at state universities is "going to make us lose top students. It's going to make us lose top faculty."
A growing number of industry leaders have also lined up against the directive from Cuccinelli (R), some portraying it as a threat to the quality and competitiveness of Virginia's higher-education system.
On Thursday, Cuccinelli wrote in a letter that Virginia's public universities could not adopt policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation "absent specific authorization from the General Assembly." All of Virginia's largest state schools have adopted such language. Faculty leaders at William and Mary sought expanded protections for gender identity and expression earlier this school year.
In an interview Monday, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) supported the legal reasoning of Cuccinelli's letter but stressed that he would allow neither colleges nor other state agencies to discriminate.
"There's a long list of opinions. It's all separation-of-powers issues," he said. "But that doesn't mean that a governor can't say to his managers, 'I will not tolerate discrimination in this administration.' "
McDonnell indicated Monday that he might sign legislation extending legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation if it were to pass the General Assembly. "I'd consider it," he said. "I'd have to look at the legal arguments for it."
Although there was little sign of support for Cuccinelli on Virginia's campuses, others rallied behind him. The Family Foundation sent its supporters an e-mail titled "AG Follows Law, Gets Ripped" and promised to resist any push to have the legislature address the issue again before it adjourns Saturday.
The group argued that no evidence has been advanced that gay students or faculty have faced discrimination.
"The goal is not anti-discrimination -- it is forced acceptance of a lifestyle that many Virginians find antithetical to their faith," the e-mail read.
In Richmond, Democrats raced to condemn Cuccinelli's letter and pushed McDonnell to distance himself from the attorney general, with whom he shared a ticket in November. In fiery speeches on the floor of both legislative chambers, they urged McDonnell to send a bill with his blessing to the legislature to write nondiscrimination against gays into the state code.
The GOP-led House of Delegates has declined twice this year to act on similar proposals.
"The governor has said he has a personal policy of nondiscrimination. And that is fantastic," said Del. David L. Englin (D-Alexandria). "But actions speak louder than words."
Leaders of academia attacked the state directive on several fronts. The head of the Virginia conference of the American Association of University Professors wrote in a letter to the governor that any discrimination not grounded in qualification or merit "is abhorrent to the values of higher education."
Public universities generally are afforded autonomy by state governments in writing policy, said Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. Virginia state code, however, is "somewhat vague" on who makes the rules, said Kirsten Nelson, spokeswoman for the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.
University officials mostly declined to comment, saying only that they were exploring the legal points raised in the letter.
Robert M. O'Neil, former president of U-Va. and now director of the school's Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, said in an e-mail, "it is far from clear that the Attorney General would be expected to or even empowered to turn back the clock on such a vital issue of public importance," noting that the state's higher-education community is "unanimous in its commitment to equality."
Some lawmakers called Cuccinelli's stand consistent with legal opinions offered by past attorneys general, who have advised local governments that they do not have the legal right to add sexual orientation to their policies without authorization from the General Assembly.
"It seems to me that he was trying to get out his legal opinion," said Sen. Robert Hurt (R-Pittsylvania). "It doesn't seem like a clarion call to discriminate against anyone."
Staff writers Jenna Johnson, Anita Kumar, Fredrick Kunkle and Robert McCartney contributed to this report.
16. The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 10, 2010
1255 Twenty-Third St, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
Virginia's Governor, in Response to an Outcry, Says Workplace Bias Is Banned
By Mary Helen Miller
Days after Virginia's attorney general ignited a controversy by telling public colleges and universities they had no authority to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, the state's governor issued an executive directive on Wednesday advising all state employees that employment discrimination is prohibited under state and federal law.
In a letter last week, the attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, a Republican, advised the state's public universities and colleges that institutional policies banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation were invalid. Only the General Assembly had the authority to extend legal protection to gay state employees, Mr. Cuccinelli said.
That advice drew immediate criticism on campuses and in the news media.
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell, also a Republican, responded on Wednesday with his executive directive reminding state employees that workplace discrimination is illegal.
The directive, which is not as powerful as an executive order, does not in itself ban bias on the basis of sexual orientation. It does, however, cite the Virginia Human Rights Act and the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as protections against workplace discrimination.
In the directive, Governor McDonnell wrote: "I hereby direct that the hiring, promotion, compensation, treatment, discipline, and termination of state employees shall be based on an individual's job qualifications, merit, and performance."
For the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus, the directive is not enough. "The caucus appreciates Governor McDonnell's directive, but they still feel these protections should be in the state code," said Michael K. Kelly, the caucus's director of communications.
Measures that would add protections for gay and lesbian employees have previously failed in the legislature.
Mr. McDonnell's choice of forbidding bias through an executive directive instead of an executive order, as Virginia's previous two governors had done, may have been for political reasons, said Carl Tobias, a professor of law at the University of Richmond.
Mr. McDonnell was the state's attorney general from 2006 through February 2009, when he resigned to campaign full time for governor. While serving as attorney general, Mr. McDonnell had said that the governor should not have the authority to make an executive order about workplace discrimination at public institutions.
"It would be difficult for him to turn around and issue an order in the face of that," Mr. Tobias said.
He added: "To some extent, I think the governor was trying to put out the fire" over Mr. Cuccinelli's letter.
The outcry, Mr. Tobias said, went beyond the impact on individuals of discrimination in the workplace. People were also concerned about institutions' autonomy and their ability to recruit top employees and students, he said.
17. Inside Higher Ed, March 11, 2010
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Reversal on Anti-Gay Bias
By Scott Jaschik
Virginia's public colleges and universities may be able to ban anti-gay discrimination after all.
Days after the state's attorney general told the institutions that they couldn't ban discrimination against gay people, the governor said they could. Gov. Robert F. McDonnell's announcement came amid growing student protests about the attorney general's policy and strong statements by some college officials that suggested they would ignore the attorney general. Both McDonnell and the attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, are Republicans.
Cuccinelli infuriated many students and faculty members in Virginia when they learned from The Washington Post that he had sent a letter to public colleges and universities last week saying that they lacked the authority to bar discrimination against gay people as part of their anti-bias policies. Cuccinelli argued that only the General Assembly could bar such discrimination and since it had not done so, the public colleges couldn't.
If that logic held, many public colleges would have been forced to change their anti-bias policies, which do in fact include sexual orientation among factors on which discrimination is banned.
On Wednesday, as 1,000 students from Virginia Commonwealth University held a protest of the attorney general's letter, the governor weighed in. He issued an "executive directive" in which he said: "The Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution prohibits discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons. Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. Therefore, discrimination against enumerated classes of persons set forth in the Virginia Human Rights Act or discrimination against any class of persons without a rational basis is prohibited."
Other parts of the directive referenced state employees, not students, leading some to suggest that the governor's action protected only the colleges' employment policies and not the treatment of students. But a spokesman for the governor told the Associated Press that the governor's action was intended to allow colleges to keep their current policies (which do ban discrimination against gay students and employees).
John Casteen, president of the University of Virginia, issued a statement to all students and faculty members praising the governor's action and saying that he believed it covered employees and students alike.
Before the governor acted, another president -- Taylor Reveley of the College of William and Mary -- issued a statement that said that his institution would not stop protecting groups of people from bias.
He wrote: "William and Mary neither discriminates against people nor tolerates discrimination on our campus. Those of us at W&M insist that members of our campus community be people of integrity who have both the capacity to meet their responsibilities to the university and the willingness to engage others with civility and respect. We do not insist, however, that members of our community possess any other particular characteristics, whether denominated in race, religion, nationality, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other of the myriad personal characteristics that differentiate human beings.
"We certainly do not discriminate against people on such grounds, or tolerate discrimination against them. This is the way we live our lives together at William and Mary, because we believe this is the way we should live our lives together. This is not going to change."
18. The Washington Post, March 13, 2010
1150 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20071
Cuccinelli not giving in on colleges' gay bias policies
By Rosalind S. Helderman
RICHMOND -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II said Friday that it remains his legal advice that the state's public colleges and universities should remove language dealing with sexual orientation from campus anti-discrimination policies.
In some of his first public comments on the issue since his letter last week to the universities sparked an uproar on campuses, Cuccinelli (R) said he continues to believe that the institutions are limited in their ability to adopt such policies without authority from the General Assembly. The legislature has repeatedly declined to put legal protections for gay men and lesbians into Virginia code.
"What I said in my March 4 letter was accurate advice under Virginia law, and it still stands," Cuccinelli said in brief comments to reporters after addressing lawmakers on an unrelated issue.
Universities, he said, "don't have any more authority than the General Assembly gives them, which is a similar position as the localities. And until the General Assembly gives them more authority, they're quarantined by what they've got."
This week, after Cuccinelli's opinion drew national attention, Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R) issued a non-legally binding executive directive to the state workforce, warning that anyone who discriminates on any grounds, including sexual orientation, could face reprimand or termination.
Cuccinelli said he does not contest one of the McDonnell directive's central legal conclusions: that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation violates the U.S. Constitution, which courts have found protects individuals against irrational bias.
Cuccinelli said he was not surprised that there was reaction from college students to the sensitive and emotional issue.
"Campus activism is an old tradition in America, and it's good one," he said. "Those folks are expressing themselves on a matter that's been in the political arena for a long time. Our role isn't in the political arena on this subject. Our role is to give legal advice, to state what the law is."
Jon Blair, executive director of the gay rights advocacy group Equality Virginia asked McDonnell on Friday to appoint a special counsel to enforce his directive.
Blair said Cuccinelli's position on the issue makes him and his staff unable to offer legal services on the issue.
In a letter to the governor, Blair thanked McDonnell for his directive, which he called a "real step forward," but asked that governor go beyond what Blair termed its "largely symbolic promise" by pushing for legal protections in Virginia code.
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