Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.03.21
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. Los Angeles Times - Mixed-gender dorm rooms are gaining acceptance
2. The Michigan Daily - Viewpoint: It's time to modernize gendered housing
3. WHNT - Gay Rights Advocates Protest Oakwood University
4. Case Western University News Center - Case Western Reserve to Unveil New Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center This Spring
5. Fresno City College Rampage - FCC Sides with Students, Finds Prof. Lopez Created ‘Hostile Learning Environment’
6. MLive.com/The Grand Rapids Press - Influential Hope College alumni protest policies opposing homosexuality on campus
7. The Oxford Press - LGBT Awareness Week planned at Miami University
8. The Chronicle of Higher Education - Approval of Gay Marriage Is Greater Among College Freshmen Than Americans at Large
9. Orange County Register - Protesters at Cal State Fullerton seek gay rights
10. Weekly Alibi - Campus Queer Space: Students seek LGBT center
11. Richmond Times-Dispatch - Lobby for law, gay-rights group urges college leaders
12. The Roanoke Times - RU rally supports gay, lesbian community
13. The Joplin Globe - MSSU policy goes to committee
14. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News - HRC Foundation to offer student scholarships
1. Los Angeles Times, March 15, 2010
202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mixed-gender dorm rooms are gaining acceptance
By Larry Gordon
They weren't looking to make a political statement or to be pioneers of gender liberation. Each just wanted a familiar, decent roommate rather than a stranger after their original roommates left to study abroad.
That's how Pitzer College sophomores Kayla Eland, female, and Lindon Pronto, male, began sharing a room this semester on Holden Hall's second floor. They are not a couple and neither is gay. They are just compatible roommates in a new, sometimes controversial, dormitory option known as gender-neutral housing that is gaining support at some colleges in California and across the nation.
Eland, a biology major who hopes to become a doctor, said that a roommate's personality and study habits are more important than gender. "This might not be right for everyone," she said of sharing the small, cinder block-walled room with a man. "But I think it's important to have the right to choose where you want to live, how you want to live and who you want to live with."
Pronto, an environmental studies major who works each summer as a forest firefighter, agreed. Apart from remembering to lower the toilet seat, he said, living with a woman friend is not much different from rooming with a man. "As far as I'm concerned, a roommate is a roommate," he said.
Although the number of participants remains small, gender-neutral housing has gained attention as the final step in the integration of student housing.
In the 1970s, many U.S. colleges moved from having only single-sex dormitories to providing coed residence halls, with male and female students typically housed on alternating floors or wings. Then came coed hallways and bathrooms, further shocking traditionalists. Now, some colleges allow undergraduates of opposite sexes to share a room.
Pitzer, which began its program in the fall of 2008, is among about 50 U.S. schools with the housing choice, according to Jeffrey Chang, who co-founded the National Student Genderblind Campaign in 2006 to encourage gender-mixed rooms. Participating schools include UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Cornell, Dartmouth, Sarah Lawrence, Haverford, Wesleyan and the University of Michigan.
College officials say the movement began mainly as a way to accommodate gay, bisexual and transgender students who may feel more comfortable living with a member of the opposite sex. Most schools say they discourage couples from participating, citing emotional and logistical problems of breakups. Officials say most heterosexuals in the programs are platonic friends.
"College students are adults," said Chang, who is gay and is now a law student at Rutgers University in New Jersey. "They have every single right to choose the person they feel most comfortable living with."
He estimates that at schools where the option exists, only 1% to 3% of students living on campus choose a roommate of the opposite sex.
Officials at the Assn. of College & University Housing Officers - International say the trend has accelerated, but they don't expect most schools to adopt it. Experts note that most students prefer a same-sex roommate, and some colleges are reluctant to antagonize parents, legislators and donors who view the option as immoral or even dangerous.
Pepperdine University in Malibu, which is affiliated with the Churches of Christ, maintains separate dorm wings and apartments for men and women. Asked whether it would consider going gender neutral, Sue Gamboa, a housing department office manager, said: "Not in the wildest dream would Pepperdine move in that direction."
Harvey Mudd College, next to Pitzer in the Claremont Colleges, began gender-neutral housing last fall mainly as an option for gay and transgender students, said Guy Gerbick, dean of residential life. Seven students joined; among them are a man and two women, all straight, who share a triple room.
Parents cannot veto such a decision at Harvey Mudd, but Gerbick asks students to discuss it with their families ahead of time. He also asks applicants whether they are romantically involved; all of this year's participants said no. But if they were, the school could not forbid them from rooming together.
"If we are going into a post-gender world, then the regulation of private behavior is just not practical," he said.
Several years ago, an earlier proposal for gender-neutral housing was killed at Harvey Mudd by skeptical administrators and older, more conservative trustees, Gerbick recalled. More recently, 74% of Harvey Mudd students voted in a survey to allow the option and, to Gerbick's satisfaction, a new administration agreed.
UC Berkeley senior Rose DeLeon-Foote, who has a male roommate, laughed at fears that gender-neutral housing might promote promiscuity. In fact, she said, the opposite is true when roommates see each other "all gnarly in the morning."
"It's not sexual, it's just not," said DeLeon-Foote, 19, of Sacramento.
Many schools restrict the option to upperclassmen, to certain floors or to residence halls with gay themes. Pitzer, which has about a dozen students participating this year, avoids such limits out of concern that they may marginalize students, said Chris Brunelle, director of residence life.
Pitzer housing applications ask whether students prefer a roommate to be woman, man, "other," or have no preference. Or students can request to live together, as Eland and Pronto did after losing their original roommates.
Their room, which shares a tiny bathroom with two men next door, has the usual collegiate trappings of beer bottles and political posters. The only unusual sight is women's clothes in one closet and men's in another.
The pair seem to have a warm brotherly-sisterly friendship and, while they try to be respectful, they say they are not inhibited about being in underwear or even nude while changing clothes in the room. They insist their living situation does not interfere with romantic relationships with other people. And although they have not been teased on campus, they face curious questions from relatives and friends.
"I definitely think it's generational," said Eland, 20, of Seattle. "For my grandparents, living with someone of the opposite sex, if he is not your serious boyfriend or husband or brother, would be very strange."
Pronto, 21, of Weimar, north of Sacramento, said his mother at first worried that he might be distracted by having a female roommate. And fellow firefighters at his "macho" summer barracks may joke about it, he said.
But at colleges, he said, "I think those old-fashioned ways of thinking are kind of dissipating. . . . Over the years, this division between men and women, which was so big, is slowly closing."
Eland's and Pronto's living arrangement won't last long.
Both will be studying overseas next fall, she in Spain, he in Costa Rica, and they are not sure where -- or with whom -- they will live when they return to school.
2. The Michigan Daily, March 17, 2010
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Viewpoint: It's time to modernize gendered housing
By Ellen Steele
This week, the Residence Hall Association will be conducting a survey of current residents in order to gauge student interest in creating a gender-neutral housing option in the residence halls. I encourage all eligible residents to respond to the survey to give Housing an accurate portrayal of the community’s opinions.
Gender-neutral housing means that Housing residents would have the option to choose a roommate they would like, regardless of gender. Two people of different genders could live in the same room. Gender-neutral housing would be offered in specific areas within the residence halls, in addition to the single-sex and co-ed floors that already exist. The proposed policies aren’t meant to eliminate housing choices or force residents into housing situations, but simply allow more options for all students.
The current housing policy that restricts students to same-sex rooms is outdated. Many universities already offer gender-neutral housing options, including the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, Brown University, and the University of Chicago. As a leading progressive public university, the University of Michigan should join these institutions in allowing gender-neutral housing.
The creation of a gender-neutral housing option is essential to assuring equality in the dorms for all people, regardless of their gender, gender expression or sexual orientation. Gender-neutral housing will benefit the entire campus community by making the dorms more inclusive. The University has already made improvements to the housing policy by offering more options to transgender students, but an openly-available gender-neutral housing option could help many LGBT students feel more comfortable in the residence halls.
By forcing men and women to live separately, the University promotes heteronormativity, or the discriminatory mindset that heterosexuality is the norm and other sexual orientations are less valid. The current housing standards don't allow men and women to room together, therefore preventing couples from living together. However, gay and lesbian couples can share the same room. The current policy denies that men and women can live in close quarters without having a sexual relationship.
Many students of different genders choose to live together off-campus. They are aware that gender alone isn’t a good indicator of whether people will be able to live together peacefully, feel at ease around each other or address conflicts successfully. As adults, we should be able to determine the best living situation for ourselves. For many students, living with a friend of a different gender would not only be a reasonable choice, but it would also be the best decision for both parties. However, the message our same-sex roommate policy sends to those who would prefer an alternative is "pay up for a single or get out of the dorms."
Men and women may wish to live in single-sex hallways for personal or religious reasons, and the University won't violate their rights by randomly assigning them to a roommate of a different gender. Moreover, University Housing will continue to offer co-ed halls without gender-neutral options. Gender-neutral housing will simply be another choice available to students who specifically request it.
Gender-neutral housing would be beneficial to all students regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. It gives students the right to determine their own living situation and thereby empowers them. Gender-neutral housing could create a greater sense of community in the dorms and make University Housing more appealing to upperclassmen. The dorms should accommodate the needs and rights of all students.
Gender-neutral housing may seem like a radical shift, but it would not differ much from the co-ed floors Housing already offers. It is time for the University to offer a gender-neutral housing option to all students.
To take the survey and support gender-neutral housing, please follow instructions in the e-mail sent out yesterday by the RHA. The results will help determine how to best structure gender-neutral housing at the University.
This viewpoint was written by Ellen Steele on behalf of the Undergraduate Chapter of the ACLU.
3. WHNT, March 15, 2010
200 Holmes Ave, Huntsville, AL 35801
Gay Rights Advocates Protest Oakwood University
By Rikki Klaus
HUNTSVILLE, AL - Gay rights protesters on a bus tour made a stop at Oakwood University Monday. They're called Soulforce, and they're visiting Christian and conservative universities to protest their policies.
Soulforce members say Oakwood University's policies discriminate against gay and transgendered people.
"With my mind set on equality...," Soulforce members sung, as they stood in a line on the sidewalk in front of Oakwood University. Some were holding signs that said "Silence is NOT golden." Others urged people to call a phone number, or come see them later in the day at Chili's.
"Now, we're on the sidewalk outside campus, just being a presence so that people can come talk to us," Soulforce Spokeswoman Jennifer Luu said.
"Our message at each one of these universities is to say you have policies that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students. And, our goal is reconciliation through dialogue," Soulforce Member Darren Arquero said.
"One thing they said is how people don't look at them as human beings. They just think they're these awkward type of people," said Oakwood Student Government President Antwan Knight. He said he never thought of that.
After they sung, the protesters and Oakwood students talked about their beliefs on the sidewalk.
"We're not going to just like hate them because they're still people, but we don't agree with what they're doing because it's against our religion," said Oakwood Student Cheon Brathwaite.
But, Arquero said being gay and Christian is not mutually exclusive. "Through my example of being a gay Christian, that it is compatible. That you can believe in a God and not feel chastised by what people have to say to you. God is a loving God."
Soulforce members say they had a dialogue with Oakwood administrators and Student Government members earlier in the day.
And then, "We got a police escort off campus to where they weren't allowing us back on," Arquero said.
They say that's why they protested on the sidewalk, a public place, but each group appeared respectful of the other, even though some had clashing beliefs.
"We're happy to have them. Again, it brings a totally different conversation that we haven't had. I think it needs to be had here at Oakwood," Knight said.
4. Case Western Reserve University News Center, March 15, 2010
10900 Euclid Ave., Cleveland, Ohio 44106
Case Western Reserve to Unveil New Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center This Spring
By Kimyette Finley
Members of Case Western Reserve University's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community soon will have a place on campus to call their own. As part of its efforts toward increased inclusiveness, Case Western Reserve will open a new Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center this spring.
The LGBT Center's mission is to provide an inviting place for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, staff and alumni. It also welcomes supporters, friends, family and those who want to learn more about LGBT issues.
To advance the LGBT Center's efforts, the university is recruiting a part-time coordinator to manage programming, services and advocacy efforts. This individual also will work closely with The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland.
"These initiatives mark important signs of progress at Case Western Reserve," President Barbara R. Snyder said. "They build on years of hard work by many students, staff and faculty, and represent an opportunity to increase inclusion and awareness across our university."
The new LGBT Center will be housed in what is now Thwing Center's Hitchcock Lounge, along with several adjacent areas (take a virtual tour). It will include a lounge, kitchenette, office, and study and meeting space. It has been designed to offer areas that encourage informal gatherings as well as more structured events. In addition, the LGBT Center will provide places where people can seek both information and support.
The renovation has been made possible through a generous donation from a private foundation.
Jes Sellers, co-chair of the LGBT Committee and director of University Counseling Services, expressed deep gratitude for the foundation’s gift. He said that the new LGBT Center "will be a place where LGBT students will have a sense of belonging and comfort."
In the past, Sellers explained, some members of the LGBT community questioned their identity and place on campus. Today's generation has different experiences that they want to celebrate and share. The LGBT Center represents a natural step in that evolution.
"To the rest of the campus community, it gives this group heightened visibility," said Jane Daroff, also an LGBT Committee co-chair and a social worker with University Counseling Services. "It's the university recognizing their existence on campus."
Locating the new LGBT Center in Thwing made sense on multiple levels. First, Thwing is the university's primary building for undergraduates, housing the bookstore, the Undergraduate Student Government, the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women and several other student-oriented organizations. Second, the architecture of Hitchcock Lounge lent itself to the kind of warm and comforting environment the university and foundation hoped to create.
"This building is rich in history and architectural heritage," said University Architect Margaret Carney. "The foundation's staff walked through this space and immediately appreciated not only its key location, but also the inherent beauty of the architecture itself."
As part of the project, many architectural details removed during earlier renovations are being restored. The exterior doors, which face Euclid Avenue, are being replaced with a new door that closely resembles those from the building as it was first constructed in 1897. While that door is an emergency exit, it and three others being added to the interior of the space will add significantly to the sense of history and authenticity of the space.
In addition, the renovation aims to be environmentally friendly. Sustainable design elements include bamboo flooring, non-toxic paints and finishes, LED lighting and recycled furniture.
"We were able to incorporate some antique pieces of furniture which had come out of other CWRU buildings," Carney said. They "will enhance the feeling of warmth and permanence within the LGBT Center."
The new LGBT Center will include a space christened the Hart Crane Reading Room, named in honor of the gay Ohio poet who attended Western Reserve University in the early 1920s. Crane was born in Garrettsville, but spent much of his young life living with his grandmother in a house on East 115th Street. His best-known works include a series of poems called Voyages and The Bridge, a mammoth effort intended to serve as a more hopeful counterpoint to T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land. The campus has two markers honoring Crane, but this will be the first campus space to bear his name.
The new LGBT Center will provide a long-awaited home for members of the LGBT community and their allies. It also will serve as a source of information and insight for those who have lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender children or loved ones. Finally, it also will be a place that welcomes alumni and prospective students, faculty and staff.
For more information about the University's new Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Center, visit the LGBT Center's web site. It includes information about upcoming events, policies and resources. The site also showcases special opportunities, such as the LGBT Center's sponsorship of the 10% Series of the 2010 Cleveland International Film Festival.
5. Fresno City College Rampage, March 15, 2010
1101 E. University Avenue, Fresno, CA 93741
FCC Sides with Students, Finds Prof. Lopez Created ‘Hostile Learning Environment’
By Staff Reports
Fresno City College authorities found that Dr. Brad Lopez, a health instructor, “engaged in conduct that could result in the creation of a hostile learning environment by unreasonably interfering with students’ learning by making insulting comments directed at homosexuals.”
A letter dated March 8, 2010 – addressed to Jacqueline Mahaffey and Jay Matthews, FCC students whose petition started the investigation against the instructor – reported the decision made by the college.
Mahaffey and Matthews filed a petition against Lopez in fall 2009 for creating a hostile atmosphere in the classroom by teaching his personal beliefs as fact and science.
Lopez has maintained throughout that he is protected by the State Center Community College District’s academic freedom policy and that he has done nothing wrong.
Christopher Villa, Vice President of Student Services, wrote in the letter that Lopez violated several rules, including Administrative Rule 3430 which prohibits “insulting comments directed at a group based on sexual orientation;” engaging in indoctrination, as well as the presentation of irrelevant material. “Dr. Lopez further violated District policy by teaching religious material,” Villa also wrote in the letter.
Mahaffey told The Rampage that she was happy that the “college listened and cared about the welfare of students.”
The letter acknowledges that some of Dr. Lopez’s statements in his classes were, indeed, protected under the State Center Community College District’s academic freedom policy. The letter emphasized that “instructors are entitled to interpret personal findings and to communicate their conclusions, even when at variance with those of other persons.”
However, Villa noted in the letter, “Nothing in the district’s academic freedom policy or any other controlling law or policy permits instructors to engage in indoctrination, the presentation of irrelevant subject matter, or the creation of hostile learning environment for students.”
The college will take “appropriate actions to address the violations of policy and regulations,” Villa wrote.
Mahaffey said she was eager to find out how the college will discipline Lopez for the damage he has done and continues to inflict on his students.
Elizabeth Gill, staff attorney of the American Civil Liberties Union, who had challenged the college to act on the complaints filed by the students, told The Rampage she would not relent until FCC satisfactorily resolves this matter.
The Rampage will continue to update this story as more details become available.
6. MLive.com/The Grand Rapids Press, March 16, 2010
155 Michigan St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Influential Hope College alumni protest policies opposing homosexuality on campus
By Nate Reens
HOLLAND -- Influential alumni are lining up against Hope College policies they claim shun homosexuality on campus and create an unwelcome environment for faculty, students and guests.
The alumni group -- formed in the wake of the college rejecting Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black's offer to show his film and hold a discussion about sexuality -- has sent trustees a petition calling for change and a new panel to advise the president.
Among the leaders pushing for the moves are two children of past Hope College presidents, a retired Reformed Church in America minister, a former ambassador and distinguished journalists and athletes.
"We're left with an environment of fear and a policy that discriminates against people," said retired Rev. Donald Van Hoven, a 1956 Hope graduate. "It is unacceptable for a Christian college to have that kind of treatment of anybody, and this is the only group identified and singled out by college policy."
The board should remove a 1995 Institutional Statement on Homosexuality, which says the college "will not provide recognition, financial or logistical support for groups whose purposes include the advocacy or moral legitimization of homosexual behavior," the alumni contend.
The group says it is saddened and embarrassed by the policy, believing the order limits academic and student freedom, breeds panic and results in prejudiced actions.
Further, the college should form a new panel of administration, faculty and student leaders to advise President James Bultman concerning speakers and other presentations.
The petition was sent to trustees by registered mail on Saturday, Van Hoven said.
Hope College spokesman Thomas Renner said the school has not received a petition from the group. He released a statement that said, "the administration and trustee leadership have been in correspondence with a group of alumni for several months."
Van Hoven said there has been no movement toward change by the administration, despite the talks.
Joining Van Hoven in the petition are:
-Arend "Don" Lubbers, a 1953 graduate and former Grand Valley State University President. Lubbers' father, Irwin Lubbers, led Hope as president from 1945 to 1963.
-Elizabeth DuMez, whose father, Wynand Wickers, preceded Lubbers in the Hope presidency, serving from 1931 to 1945.
-Bill DePree, who served as ambassador to Mozambique.
-Former Time and Newsweek correspondent Bruce van Voorst, a 1954 graduate.
-Former New York Times media critic and reporter John Corry.
-Ron Bos, Fred Yonkman, Ron Wiegerink and Margery Kempers Wiegerink also are listed on the letter.
-Community and church-affiliated advocates that include the groups Hope is Ready, Holland is Ready and Room for All, which support inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the RCA.
The Black controversy spurred alumni after college administrators said he could speak to a screenwriting class about his craft but could not hold a roundtable discussion.
The college said Black's notoriety as an advocate for gay rights would not contribute constructively to the ongoing exploration and dialogue on campus.
Black later presented his film "Milk," starring Sean Penn as gay-rights advocate Harvey Milk, at the Park Theatre. He also wrote a blog about his experience at Hope and in Holland.
The alumni hope to follow sister school, Central College in Pella, Iowa, as a model. There the homosexuality debate remains an unresolved and thorny subject, but a campus task force advises the president in areas of academic freedom.
Van Hoven said the group loves Hopes history, pointing to college ties that date to the 1920s. "What might have made sense then no longer makes sense now, just as this policy from 1995 ought not be retained," Van Hoven said.
Younger alumni and current students are working through the Hope is Ready group, said 2009 graduate Karis Granberg-Michaelson.
Granberg-Michaelson said many on campus are reluctant to discuss the topic, saying it is too divisive. "It is the contemporary Christian issue and a pressing social justice concern," the 26-year-old said. "We do this out of care and concern for our community, and we reject the notion that to be a Christian means you come from a certain mold and can't treat people equally."
Of the college-supported discussions and presentations, Granberg-Michaelson said: "We are simply not having a dialogue. We're having a monologue, and that doesn't help anyone."
Press reporter Dave Murray contributed to this report.
E-mail Nate Reens: email@example.com
7. The Oxford Press, March 17, 2010
Cox Ohio Publishing, Dayton, OH
LGBT Awareness Week planned at Miami University
By Staff Report
OXFORD – Miami University will hold an LGBT Awareness Week March 22 through March 26 with events to celebrate and draw attention to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
A pride parade and ally picnic kicks off the week at 4 p.m. Monday, March 22, starting at Uptown Parks, with the picnic following at the Fine Arts Plaza. Events, which are free and open to the public, are sponsored by many groups on campus, including the office of GLBTQ services, Spectrum and Haven.
-Film “Screaming Queens” with director, historian and activist Susan Stryker at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 23, in 212 MacMillan Hall
-Safer Sex Olympics, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 24 at the Hub
-Performance by Good Asian Drivers, a blend of pop, rock, folk and spoken word at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 24, in 102 Shideler Hall
-Women’s Read-In, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, March 25, at the Instructional Materials Center at King Library
-Kinsey Sicks, “America’s Favorite Dragcapella Beautyshop Quartet,” 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Shriver Center multipurpose rooms, part of After Dark For more information go online to units.muohio.edu/saf/glbt/programs/lgbtaw.htm or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
8. The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 16, 2010
1255 Twenty-Third St, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
Approval of Gay Marriage Is Greater Among College Freshmen Than Americans at Large
By Sara Lipka
College students who describe themselves as politically "far right" arrive on campuses across the country supporting legal same-sex marriage significantly more than do conservative Republicans nationwide, according to new data released by the Higher Education Research Institute at the University of California at Los Angeles.
Twenty-four percent of the most conservative college students say that same-sex couples should have the right to legal marital status, according to the institute's most recent survey of freshmen, conducted last summer and fall. In the nation at large, 14 percent of conservative Republicans support gay marriage, according to a survey conducted last year by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
National debate over same-sex marriage, including the first gay marriages in the nation's capital this month, prompted the Higher Education Research Institute to prepare the new data, which were presented last week in Chicago at the annual conference of Naspa—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The institute plans to publish a special report this spring.
Greater Acceptance by the Young
Over all, 65 percent of the college freshmen surveyed last fall supported same-sex marriage, compared with 58 percent of Americans 18 to 29 years old and 39 percent of the population nationwide, according to the Pew research groups' study.
Support for gay marriage has increased generally in the past decade. In 2000, 56 percent of entering college students backed it. Four years later, freshmen were 57 percent supportive at the time they enrolled, and by graduation, 69 percent of that entering class supported gay marriage, according to the UCLA research institute.
The freshman and national surveys both asked people to place themselves in one of five categories along the political spectrum. In comparisons across those categories, which were roughly similar but not identical, college students showed significantly more support for same-sex marriage than the population at large in four groups, including a 24-percentage-point difference in the center: "Middle of the road" freshmen were 68 percent supportive, while independents nationally were 44 supportive (see table).
In the center-right category, which the freshman survey labeled "conservative" and the national poll called "moderate and liberal Republican," the trend didn't hold. Thirty-two percent of freshmen and 36 percent of the national population in those groups said that they supported gay marriage. The margin of error for the Pew survey, with 4,000 responses, is two percentage points; the freshman survey's larger sample, with about 220,000 responses last fall, makes its margin of error negligible.
Over time, college students' support for same-sex marriage has grown more significantly on the left and in the center. Since 1997, when the freshman survey introduced this question, support has gone up 21 percentage points among the most liberal students, 16 percentage points in the middle, and two percentage points on the far right.
Racial and Religious Groups
The Higher Education Research Institute also broke down freshmen's support for same-sex marriage by sex, race, and religious affiliation. Women were 72 percent supportive and men 57 percent supportive, compared with national rates of 43 percent for women and 34 percent for men, according to the Pew survey.
Among freshmen, Hispanic students were 69 percent supportive, white students 65 percent supportive, and black students 53 percent supportive. Support among those groups in the population at large was lower: 45 percent among Hispanics, 39 percent among whites, and 26 percent among blacks.
Students who identified themselves as Jewish, Buddhist, or nonreligious were most supportive, with at least 87 percent in each group favoring legal same-sex marriage. Sixty-six percent of Catholic students and 58 percent of Muslim students expressed support, as did between 50 and 75 percent of students affiliated with most Protestant Christian denominations.
Nationally, 27 percent of Protestants and 45 percent of Catholics support legal same-sex marriage.
Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group for same-sex marriage, attributes college students' relatively high and growing levels of support to their personal experience. "Young people who know gay people, talk with them, and examine why marriage matters in the lives of real people move in support," he said. The organization recently hired a former organizer for Youth for Obama to reach out to college students.
An opponent of same-sex marriage said he wasn't concerned by the survey's findings. "Typically, across the board, young people tend to be more liberal or progressive," said Glenn Stanton, director of family-formation studies at Focus on the Family, a conservative group. "As they get older ... they really start to see the world in a different way."
Still, Mr. Stanton travels to college campuses to promote his views on traditional marriage. College students' support for same-sex marriage is weak, he said. "It's a softer kind of conviction, not well formed or articulated in their minds."
John H. Pryor, director of the Higher Education Research Institute's Cooperative Institutional Research Program, which runs the freshman survey, hopes the new findings promote more open discussion on campuses. For example, he said, imagine a college where a gay first-year student asks to switch his assigned roommate from somebody who identifies as conservative.
"The staff there," he wrote in an e-mail message, "might encourage him to open a dialogue with this prospective roommate."
9. Orange County Register, March 17, 2010
625 N. Grand Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92701
Protesters at Cal State Fullerton seek gay rights
By Lou Ponsi
FULLERTON - Members of the Queer Straight Alliance demonstrated at Cal State University Fullerton Wednesday, to call attention to a Mississippi school district's decision to cancel a prom that two girls wanted to attend together.
About a dozen members of the campus-based group chanted "Peace, love and let Constance dance," a reference to lesbian student Constance McMillen, who wanted to bring her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo to the Itawamba Agricultural High School prom.
They waved signs that read, "Not all girls wear dresses" and "Every girl deserves her prom."
The demonstrators also handed out flyers that chronicled the McMillen story.
"It was supposed to be peaceful, just to raise awareness, and I think we did that," said the club president, Diane Romero, 19, who helped organize the rally.
The group was also demonstrating to raise awareness of a controversy over a high school play. A Kansas church is leading a protest against the play, "The Laramie Project," being staged at Dutchtown High School in Geismar, La.
The play chronicles the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay man who was beaten to death in Laramie, Wyo.
Romero, a sophomore, said Wednesday's demonstration was the "first of many that will follow," however, no protests are scheduled yet.
Supporters from Cal Poly Pomona also participated in the demonstration, Romero said.
Romero said the Gay Prom, which takes place on the Fullerton campus Thursday evening, will be dedicated to McMillen.
"Everybody is welcome and you can bring a date of the same sex," she said.
The Queer Straight Alliance has about 40 members, Romero said.
Contact the writer: 714-704-3730 or email@example.com
10. Weekly Alibi, March 18, 2010
2118 Central Avenue SE, Suite 151, Albuquerque, NM 87106-4004
Campus Queer Space: Students seek LGBT center
By Patrick Lohmann
One segment of UNM’s student population has slipped through the cracks, says undergraduate Jeffrey Waldo. “UNM has a national reputation for its diversity and takes really great efforts in welcoming its diversity, but the queer community has really been overlooked."
The remedy? A dusty office space on the University of New Mexico campus could soon get a splash of rainbow colors. Waldo and another student, David Griffith, have all but secured around $85,000 to create a Queer Resource Center (QRC) equipped with a paid staff, computer pod and gender-neutral bathroom. It would be housed in the basement of an empty accounting building on the west end of campus.
The Student Fee Review Board, a body made up of undergraduate and graduate students, recommended that it would take $4 from each student to start the center, which could open as early as next fall.
Hubs for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) student populations are common on campuses across the country, Waldo says. In fact, 12 of 16 of UNM’s peer institutions offer queer resource centers, and New Mexico State University has one.
Waldo approached Josephine De León, UNM’s vice president for Equity and Inclusion, in October with an idea for the center. De León's office also oversees ethnic centers, including African American Student Services, American Indian Student Services and El Centro de la Raza.
Mesa Vista Hall houses those student resources, along with the Accessibility Resource Center and the Women Studies program. Waldo says the ultimate goal is to secure space in Mesa Vista.
“College is a time of self-discovery, so I do think that people start coming to terms with it more in college, being away from home for the first time—all that stuff.”
De León says in an e-mailed interview that Equity and Inclusion is exploring ways to fund the center from year to year with grants or fundraising. “We will need to start small and build services as we are able to build the funding base,” she says. “More than likely we will need to seek external sources of funding since the University is undergoing major budgetary constraints.”
Student David Griffith helped draft the proposal for the Student Fee Review Board. He says discrimination against LGBT youth at UNM is rare; still, it’s necessary to offer a place of refuge.
“I think there’s a lot of internalized homophobia that people experience, just in hearing slurs thrown around. Some people experience it more directly,” he says. “I also think that college is a time of self-discovery, so I do think that people start coming to terms with it more in college, being away from home for the first time—all that stuff. I think that the QRC would just be a way to better welcome everyone regardless of where on the spectrum they are.”
Griffith says the center could be a safe zone for students struggling with an identity crisis.
“LGBT and college-aged youth are at increased risk of substance abuse and suicide, and a lot of that is not having anywhere to turn,” he says. “That’s one of the things we want to be able to do at the QRC, provide that type of crisis intervention, just a safe-zone environment.”
Waldo and Griffith are both members of the Queer Straight Alliance at UNM. Weekly meetings see between 40 and 50 people—both members of the LGBT community and straight allies. And in December, almost 600 students, staff, faculty and community members showed up at the first-ever Queer Straight Alliance drag show.
Despite this established support structure, Griffith says the resource center would offer regular hours and a full-time staff, which the alliance simply can’t provide. “The QSA is mostly a social group that’s run entirely by students and student volunteers,” he says. “By having consistent hours and a consistent location, we’d be able to reach a lot more people, graduate students and faculty. The QSA is very predominantly undergraduate, right now at least.”
He adds that the center could help engage a more reticent portion of UNM’s gay community. “Those members of the population who aren’t as open to go do something like the QSA could also get resources there in a much more confidential, professional manner."
About $30,000 of the student fee allocation would go toward the salary of a program coordinator, who would seek to secure external funding sources for the center and do outreach and recruitment. The rest would go to operating expenses, salaries for staff and graduate assistants, computers, and furniture.
UNM President David Schmidly is expected to approve the Queer Resource Center with the review board's other recommendations in the coming weeks. But Waldo admits that after the center is approved, there’s still a long way to go before it will be up and running.
“My supreme goal of this is that it will be barrier-breaking, so then it won’t just be for gay people. It will just network with everybody to fight for social justice for all,” he says. He’s will willing to start small: A regular turnout of people who would use the space and its services would be great, too.
“Right now it’s going to be a basement, so what can we really expect?”
For more on the Queer Straight Alliance at UNM, go to www.unm.edu/~qsa/
11. Richmond Times-Dispatch, March 17, 2010
Box 85333, Richmond, VA 23293
Lobby for law, gay-rights group urges college leaders
By Olympia Meola
Keeping pressure on state leaders over what they see as Virginia’s weak anti-bias protections, gay-rights group Equality Virginia is calling on college and university leadership to join their push for a change in state law.
In a letter to public college and university presidents, Equality Virginia urges the presidents and boards of visitors to support legislation amending the nondiscrimination policy in state law to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
It also seeks support to codify protections against sexual-orientation and gender-identity discrimination in state and local employment and to permit state benefits to include “otherwise qualified adults” living in the households of state workers.
The letter from Equality Virginia Chief Executive Officer Jon Blair is the latest effort to keep heat on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli’s opinion that tax-supported colleges and universities have no legal foundation for protecting gay students and employees from discrimination.
The opinion—consistent with attorneys general before him—created enough of an uproar that Gov. Bob McDonnell subsequently issued an executive directive that as head of the government work force, he will not tolerate bias on the basis of sexual orientation, and he threatened to fire offenders.
Blair, in the letter sent Friday to the state’s twoand four-year colleges and universities and released yesterday, said until Cuccinelli’s opinion, “Virginia college presidents and boards of visitors have been silent” while other parties sought protections.
Cuccinelli’s opinion said colleges and universities cannot prohibit discrimination against gays because the assembly has not authorized them to do so. Legislative efforts to change the law were unsuccessful this year, with the GOP-controlled House of Delegates blocking the House and Senate measures.
University presidents have slowly weighed in, mainly praising McDonnell’s directive. School representatives say it will be up to the boards of visitors to change policies.
Contact Olympia Meola at (804) 649-6812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Staff writer Karin Kapsidelis contributed to this report.
12. The Roanoke Times, March 18, 2010
201 W. Campbell Ave., P.O. Box 2491, Roanoke, VA 24010-2491
RU rally supports gay, lesbian community
By Tonia Moxley
RADFORD --- About 30 students and faculty members attended a Radford University rally today to support the school's gay and lesbian community.
The rally was precipitated by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's letter two weeks ago to the state's public colleges and universities directing them to remove sexual orientation from their non-discrimination policies. Five days later, Gov. Bob. McDonnell issued an executive directive that apparently contradicted Cuccinelli.
A similar rally will be held at 12:30 Friday at Virginia Tech near the Graduate Life Center.
At today's rally, students announced their intent to form a new gay-straight alliance for awareness and political action. It would be separate from Spectrum, the more social group on campus. Present were faculty members who will serve as advisers.
Faculty member Moria Baker, director of the women's studies program, announced that she would be introducing a motion today at the Radford University Faculty Senate meeting to support keeping sexual orientation in the nondescrimination policy.
Baker said Radford in 1986 was the first public university in Virginia to include sexual orientation in such policies.
13. The Joplin Globe, March 19, 2010
P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802
MSSU policy goes to committee
By Greg Grisolano
A committee made up of members of Missouri Southern State University’s Board of Governors and President Bruce Speck has been directed to explore changes to the university’s nondiscrimination policy that would include protection for gay and lesbian students and faculty.
Board President Rod Anderson on Friday charged the committee to “investigate, inquire, and advise the best way to proceed regarding university policy.”
Anderson, following the regular Board of Governor’s meeting, said he has not put a timetable on when the committee should report back to the board on the issue.
Meanwhile, students continue to stage protests demanding that the university’s nondiscrimination policy be amended to specifically include protection for gay and lesbian students and faculty members.
The current policy states that Missouri Southern “does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, creed, color, national origin, disability, or age in its educational programs or activities.”
The protests began after a member of the Board of Governors used an anti-gay slur during a Feb. 20 board retreat while talking about the university’s lion mascot logo. The board member, David Ansley, apologized for the remark several times and later resigned.
During Friday’s meeting, Anderson opened the meeting by apologizing to the public on behalf of the board for Ansley’s remark. He also thanked the former governor for his service.
“David Ansley is a good person that said a bad thing,” he said.
Student leaders with Project EQUALITY said they will continue weekly rallies in front of the administration building until the policy is changed.
Ivy Love, one of the group’s leaders and a former student representative to the board, told the Globe, following the meeting, that the organization submitted a letter that it hoped the governors would read.
“We’re asking that all the minutes from the committee be made public,” she said. “And we would like to see student representation on the committee.”
The university’s faculty senate earlier this month unanimously approved a proposal calling for wording expressly protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination in the school’s hiring policies. That proposal also was sparked by Ansley’s remark.
Faculty senate President Roger Chelf presented the resolution to the board, but no action was taken on the proposal.
The university’s unrestricted cash reserves for the beginning of March total $17.8 million, according to treasurer Linda Eis’ report at the Friday meeting.
Eis said the amount is an increase of $7.6 million over the same time period last year. Part of the reason for the spike is the university has now received all of its financial aid payments for the spring semester.
Eis also attributed part of the increase to the university having $2.3 million more in its cash reserves than in the previous fiscal year.
“All the gains we’ve made in fiscal years ’09 and ’ 10 will help carry us through ’11 and ’12,” she said.
Higher education statewide is bracing for up to a 20 percent reduction in state appropriations over the next two years as state lawmakers look to reconcile a budget shortfall.
Two new members of the board, appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon, attended their first meeting on Friday. Student representative Ezekiel “Zeke” Tarrant, of Webb City, fills a long-vacant seat on the board, and Lynn Ewing, the Vernon County prosecuting attorney, was appointed to fill the seat Ansley vacated.
Tarrant said during his introductory remarks to the board that he plans on working closely with the student senate to bring concerns to the board’s attention.
Ewing requested a few minutes at the end of the board’s open session to make a statement. During his remarks, Ewing was critical of MSSU’s student newspaper, The Chart, for publishing in its print edition what he characterized as inaccurate and anonymous comments from the paper’s Web site that were left on a story about his appointment.
The comment, posted Feb. 23 under the name “MSSU alumni” referred to Ewing as a “good ol’ boy” of Gov. Jay Nixon, and questioned whether Ewing had filed an application for the post, or had a vested interest in the university.
Ewing disputed the claims, and said he had submitted an application for the post a year ago.
“My point is this to The Chart and to people in general. You’ve got a right of free speech to say anything you want, but put your name on it and be prepared to defend it,” he said. “Check your facts, check your facts, check your facts. And when you are certain you have it right, check your facts again.”
Brennan Stebbins, The Chart’s editor in chief, did not attend Friday’s meeting, and could not be reached for comment.
Ewing, after the meeting, said he felt it was important to address the comments about his appointment to the board.
“I’m always concerned when something is published that questions whether I’m the right person for the job,” he told the Globe after the meeting. “I just think it’s important that when someone has something to say, put your name on it.”
Both Ewing and Tarrant are awaiting state Senate confirmation on their appointments.
MSSU’s Board of Governors will hold its next regular meeting at 1 p.m. April 16 in Room 310 of the Billingsly Student Center.
14. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, March 20, 2010
1010 University Ave #1569, San Diego, CA 92103
HRC Foundation to offer student scholarships
By Benny Cartwright
The HRC Foundation will award three $2,000 scholarship awards as part of their Generation Equality Scholarship Program.
One award will be given to a student in each of the following three categories: first-year college students; returning four-year college students; and returning community college students.
The application deadline for the 2010-11 academic year is April 16. The foundation will give priority consideration to applicants who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or an ally; have applied to or are enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education; have demonstrated a commitment or contribution to the LGBT community; are in good academic standing; and have a demonstrated need for financial assistance.
The HRC Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization that funds a number of HRC related programs, inlcuding the Youth & Campus Outreach Program. The program provides tools, facilitates connections, and empowers members of Generation Equality to fight for LGBT equality on campus and beyond.
Generation Equality, the current group of high school and college-aged young people, is more supportive of LGBT equality than any other generation in our country’s history. As young people work to attain the goals of the queer community on their campuses, it is our hope that we can help by providing tools and facilitating connections with other LGBT student activists across the country.
Scholarship finalists will be notified in early- to mid-May and will be asked to submit additional materials. Scholarship recipients will be announced in mid- to late-June.
In addition to these scholarships, the Youth and Campus Outreach Program provides a comprehensive online database of more than 220 other scholarships available to LGBT and allied students. The list, which includes national, statewide and school-specific scholarships, was created to ensure that students committed to the fight for LGBT equality can reach and benefit from institutions of higher education.
To view the online database, visit: www.hrc.org/scholarships.
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 regarding fair use of copyrighted work, this material is distributed without profit for information, research, and educational purposes. The Consortium has no affiliation whatsoever with the originators of these articles nor is the Consortium endorsed or sponsored by the originators.
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