Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.05.23
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 email@example.com
1. Sun Sentinel - FAU exhibit looks at gay Harlem
2. OutSports.com - Sean Coyne: Creating safe spaces for gay athletes
3. The Philadelphia Inquirer - College campuses embrace coed dorm rooms
4. The Advocate - Black Lesbian to Lead Montgomery College
5. Ashland Daily Tidings - SOU students arrested for anti-gay graffiti
6. The Chronicle of Higher Education - Marquette Students Want University Censured for Rescinding Job Offer
7. Journal Sentinel - Another scholar on gay issues was offered MU job in 2001
8. Bakersfield Now - Rally set at CSUB after allegations of hate mail
9. St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Anti-gay view costs WU prof job on oil spill
10. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News - Gay Iranian-American college student faces down anti-immigrant forces
1. Sun Sentinel, May 17, 2010
200 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
FAU exhibit looks at gay Harlem
By Scott Travis
New York City has some neighborhoods well known in the history of gay activism, including Greenwich Village, Chelsea, and the East Village. But here’s one you might not have thought about: Harlem.
In fact, Harlem does have a rich gay history, according to a new exhibit at Florida Atlantic University. “The Harlem Renaissance: As Gay as It was Black” is on display at the FAU Library on the Boca Raton campus, 777 Glades Road.
Organized by the Stonewall Library Museum & Archives in Fort Lauderdale, the exhibition focuses on Harlem’s artistic movement and some of its leading gay, lesbian and bisexual participants during the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s and 1930s. This period shaped black culture for generations, but less is known about its influence on the gay community, organizers say.
“I think most people like to draw neat little identity lines around people,” said Jack Rutland, executive director of the Stonewall library. “With this exhibition, we hope to blur those lines to show that when people come together in a place at a time, amazing things can happen when identity ceases to matter quite so much.”
Few of the artists and writers profiled in the exhibition can be considered “out” or “gay” in any modern sense of the terms, organizers say. Instead, many led double lives, staying in heterosexual marriages while expressing their sexuality through coded references in their work.
Featured artists include writer Richard Bruce Nugent, “whose “Smoke, Lillies and Jade,” is considered the first published black/gay short story; Langston Hughes, one of the best known authors of the period, and James Weldon Johnson, a Jacksonville native who co-wrote “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” now known as the Negro National Anthem.
The library will host two related events in June, national Gay Pride Month. Aaron Kula, director of music collections and performance at the library, and the seven-piece Klezmer Company Jazz Ensemble, will present a “Musical Tribute to the Harlem Renaissance” on Sunday, June 13, at 3 p.m. on the library’s fifth floor. The performance will feature a guest vocalist and historical commentary. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling the FAU Box Office at 1-800-564-9539.
A panel discussion and forum titled “Looking for Understanding and Acceptance in a Diverse World” will be held on Thursday, June 17, at 7 p.m. on the library’s fifth floor. The discussion, which is free and open to the public, will feature community activists, as well as FAU staff and students.
2. OutSports.com, May 17, 2010
Sean Coyne: Creating safe spaces for gay athletes
By Sean Coyne
I was sitting in a bar near the Bucknell campus this year with a guest speaker who had just spoken as part of an athletic department program for athletes. At the bar, we ran into a bunch of guys on the lacrosse team and I was a bit wary.
The lacrosse guys always made me slightly uncomfortable, because I assumed that being on such a hypermasculine sport would make them very homophobic and possibly dangerous to me, an out member of the track and field team. I soon learned that stereotypes can work both ways.
Over a few beers, the speaker and I got to talking with these guys about the issues faced by LGBT athletes. I could not have been more wrong about their feelings on the subject. The lacrosse captains were two of the nicest guys and were very receptive to what I had to say about issues I've faced on my team, and that some of their teammates have probably also faced.
I talked to them about the Safe Space program for athletic teams (a program I started to create a safe environment for LGBT athletes), and they agreed to happily participate. I couldn't believe it -- here these jocks I had assumed to be homophobic were to become the second men's team at Bucknell to become a Safe Space.
As I reflect on a 12-year track and field career that just ended, I look back with a bittersweet smile.
My career ended with a historic Patriot League Championship win, the first time any team in the league has taken the title from Army or Navy since either joined the conference. While it was an excellent finish to a long and successful career, I know that my most enduring contribution to my team was not scoring points. While I hold some Top 10 times and a school record, I have only scored one point in a college conference championship meet.
My real contribution to my team, and to other teams at Bucknell has been my determination to create an atmosphere of acceptance and tolerance for all students and athletes.
My story began in high school where -- just as my mother, father and sister before me -- I started my running career as a distance runner on the cross country team. I did fairly well for a freshman, making the varsity team and running as the "fourth man," meaning I consistently was our fourth runner to score.
At the end of that season, my coach took me aside and told me that I was going to learn to hurdle. I followed his wishes and became a pretty good hurdler. By the end of my high school running career, I had earned a varsity letter for every season that I ran.
The truth, however, is that in many ways my success in high school, both on the field and in the classroom, was largely a result of me running away from my sexuality. Early in high school I realized why I had always felt different my whole life, but instead of admitting to myself I was gay, I threw myself entirely into my activities and excelled at nearly everything I did. This came at a price, as I didn't have many close friends in high school. The ones I had were almost all female and I never dated anyone. I realize now that I was very lonely and went through bouts of depression as I struggled with my sexuality.
Because of my grades and a particularly successful outdoor track season my junior year of high school, I was pretty heavily recruited to run in college. I looked at several schools but as soon as I visited Bucknell University's campus in central Pennsylvania, I fell in love and knew that it was where I was going to go.
In August 2006, I entered Bucknell and began my collegiate running career. I made friends with my fellow sprinters and hurdlers and they became my new family. For the first time I had a large group of close male friends, and it was wonderful. However, at 19, it was harder to deny myself sexually and I had started coming to terms with the fact that I was gay.
I had still not told anyone and I had very little experience with men. I'd only had one experience with a guy from high school, who kept my confidence. We kept in touch when I went away to college because he was the only person I felt that I could talk to about my sexuality.
For the most part, my year went by pretty typically for a Bucknell student. I was learning how to handle college-level academics while balancing a full-time varsity sport. Unlike most Bucknell students, however, I was also always under constant fear that someone at school would question my sexuality or discover I was gay.
A fearful freshman
As a freshman, the locker room was never a fun place for me. I feared a teammate would accuse me of trying to check him out. And if it was discovered I was gay, I was afraid I wouldn't be allowed to use the locker room or possibly not even allowed to remain on the team. These fears were compounded by the fact that a lot of the upperclassman on the team used some many blunt, homophobic slurs. Hearing my teammates call each other "fag" and "homo" was a daily occurrence.
Despite those fears, I still loved my close group of friends, but I didn't feel comfortable enough to come out to them. That is until one day about halfway through the spring semester when everything changed.
My best friend and fellow hurdler, Tony, had come over to my room before practice. He asked to use my computer to check for something. What I forgot was that I had left an instant message conversation between myself and the guy from high school, which laid out pretty clearly my sexual orientation. When Tony acknowledged he had seen it, I was so embarrassed and horrified I literally hid my face. Thankfully, he could tell I did not want to discuss it and did not pursue a conversation.
The next 24 hours were perhaps the worst of my life. I was stressed that Tony was going to tell everyone what he found out about me and I was too scared to bring myself to talk to Tony about it. I knew that once I had that conversation, I was fully admitting to myself that I was gay.
By the next day I couldn't handle the uncertainty of whether Tony would keep my secret, so I confronted him in private. He talked before I could get any words out and made me feel like the weight of the world had been lifted from me, saying, "Coyne, you don't have to worry about me telling anyone about you being gay. It's your business to tell, not mine."
What made these words so comforting was not that he would keep my secret, but he clearly accepted me as his best friend still even though I was gay. Because of his support, soon after I decided to tell my other three close friends from the team, my event coach, and my parents. Although I had only positive reactions from everyone, my coach's support meant the world to me. I knew that if I ever had trouble with a teammate, she would always have my back. I finished out that season with a sense of comfort that I had never enjoyed before -- finally feeling free for the first time.
I came back as a sophomore with great enthusiasm and I was looking to succeed more than I had as a freshman. I was now much more comfortable in my skin, having spent the summer being out. However, the locker room and general team climate did not get any easier at first because homophobic slurs were still far too common. Even though I was out to many teammates, not everyone knew and no one seemed really concerned about my feelings except my closest friends. Even as a sophomore, I still felt too scared to speak up against the insults because I didn't feel strong enough to speak up to the upperclassman.
Fed up with slurs
That all changed my junior year. My two good friends and fellow sprinters were seniors and captains that year. Unfortunately, these two guys were also among the worst users of homophobic language. At the beginning of the year while at a party at their house, after one of them had said something to offend me, I finally stood up and said "enough!"
I sat them down and explained that I was gay and that they had to stop using homophobic language. As captains, their using it not only made it all right for the rest of the team to use it, but actually encouraged the underclassman on the team to be homophobic to fit in with the team culture they were creating. They were very receptive to my words and took them to heart. Pretty soon they were correcting guys for using homophobic slurs and within a month, it had all stopped. From that day to this, I have not heard a single homophobic slur in my locker room.
I was inspired by the positive impact I'd had on my team and I wanted to do more to help others who may have been in positions similar to mine. I started attending Bucknell's FLAG&BT club meetings, the student group associated with our Office of LGBT Awareness. At these meetings I learned about our schools "Safe Space" program that was done with the fraternities and sororities. The program is a brief presentation given by two students to their peers and discusses issues commonly faced by LGBT undergraduates. I thought it was a wonderful program, and I got involved immediately.
The concept of a "Safe Space" is a place where anyone can relax and be fully self-expressed, without fear of being made to feel uncomfortable, unwelcome, or unsafe on account of biological sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, cultural background, age, or physical or mental ability; a place where the rules guard each person's self-respect and dignity and strongly encourage everyone to respect others.
Early on, I found it difficult to connect to the groups I was presenting to because I was not in the Greek system. So, with the help of the director of the LGBT Office, I modified the program so that it was geared towards athletic teams. I then invited coaches to see the presentation in order to have their teams possibly go through the program. Many coaches were very enthused and were willing to get involved.
In my senior year, I had high hopes for the program. My team, a roster of more than 130 men and women combined, started off the year by seeing the program the first week of classes. My team voted unanimously to be a Safe Team and I felt thrilled. Finally, I had made a real and significant contribution. I had taken a team that was truly scary for gay freshman, as I had been, and turned it into a place of welcome.
Since then, more than 50% of the athletes of my school have seen the program and are on Safe Teams. With more than 1,000 people involved with athletics at Bucknell, I know that there are literally hundreds of allies and supporters at all levels of athletics. I've known about 10 or so other out athletes, both men and women, at my school, although none came out to me until after I started doing my LGBT advocacy work.
This has been a wonderful journey for me and although I may not be remembered for being the best athlete on my team, I know that my legacy of creating a safe environment for LGBT athletes will endure. For that I am truly blessed.
Sean Coyne, 22, is graduating from Bucknell with a degree in Animal Behavior B.S. He is going to the University of Chicago next year for a Masters in Comparative Human Development. Eventually, he wants to get his PhD and become a professor. He is a four-year member of the school’s track and field team, with his specialties being sprints and hurdles. He can be reached via e-mail ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
3. The Philadelphia Inquirer, May 18, 2010
400 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19130-4015
College campuses embrace coed dorm rooms
By Trish Wilson
Swarthmore juniors Jen Crick and her boyfriend, Omer Ikizler, didn't set out to live together this semester, but after failing to find single rooms on the same hall, they found the next best thing: a dorm room they could share.
Not just a coed dormitory, or coed hallway, but the very same room.
Across the nation's campuses, a small but growing number of students are signing up to live with the opposite sex, with 50-plus colleges and universities offering coed suites and coed rooms.
This fall, at least 17 of those campuses will try it for the first time, including Princeton, Yale, and Lehigh Universities and the University of Vermont.
Typically, such "gender-neutral" housing is framed as a campus-rights issue for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students. The idea is that they should not have to live with same-sex roommates - a setting that may make both students feel uncomfortable.
But removing gender restrictions in dorm rooms has also found wide appeal among heterosexual students, who are thinking about gender relations - and friendship - in new ways.
At Lehigh, which offers group housing for those interested in substance-free living, green awareness, or ROTC - to name a few - the decision to offer gender-blind housing was unremarkable, said Jennifer Scaia Sweeney, director of residence life.
"We thought it was a pretty common program to have," she said.
Ten upper-class students have signed up to live in four suites in the fall, she said, and the option may be offered eventually to freshmen, something that is still uncommon.
Jeffrey Chang, who led the charge as an undergrad to get gender-neutral housing at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., is surprised at how quickly the movement has spread.
"Five years ago when we started, no one was talking about this," said Chang, cofounder of the National Student Genderblind Campaign and a law student at Rutgers University. Today, he noted, even college tour guides mention it. "That's really amazing."
While some couples want to live together for its obvious benefits, many students simply want to live with friends of the opposite sex.
"This is a student body where a lot of the kids had gay-straight alliances in their high schools," said Heather Love, a University of Pennsylvania professor of gender studies who lives at Gregory College House, which has a couple of gender-neutral rooms.
"And there's a lot of questioning in this age group of sexual norms and sexual morality and gender norms. They're ready to really rethink a lot of those take-for-granted prescriptions about how to live and who to love. I see that very broadly across the student body."
At Swarthmore College - which along with Penn and Haverford College has offered this housing for several years - Florida sophomore Jenna Davis sees it as a political issue.
"We're very self-conscious about hegemonic gender norms," she said, referring to the assumption that heterosexuality is universal. "It's part of the Swatty mind-set."
Beyond wanting to support the GLBT community, Davis, like many of her peers, said the housing option was a student right and a decision that, as adults, they should be able to make.
But a romantic roommate situation? That's not for her - or her best friend, Philip Chodrow.
"Most people realize for practical reasons it's a pretty bad idea," said Chodrow, of Staunton, Va.
Even sexual relationships with hall mates is seen as a no-no of this new social order. It's called "hallcest," Davis said.
In the fall, Davis and Chodrow - who bonded over existentialist literature - will live in gender-neutral housing. The friends played the housing lottery as a duo and got two singles on the same hall.
"We'll be neighbors!" Chodrow said.
Driven by demand
The move toward gender-blind housing reflects an evolution that started 40 years ago when more women began arriving on campus - and the need to house them spilled over into all-male residence halls.
Coed dormitories have become so popular that one survey of large universities found that 93 percent of college students lived in them.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Research last year, many housing deans reported virtually no interest in single-sex dorms. And at two large Midwestern institutions with a total of 91,500 students, just 10 people requested old-fashioned all-female or all-male residence halls for the 2006-07 academic year.
Brian Willoughby, a visiting professor at Brigham Young University and the article's lead author, said that just as the women's movement had reshaped the makeup of dorms, pressure from the gay-lesbian community was reshaping the makeup of dorm rooms.
"It's almost identical to what we saw 30 years ago in the transition to coed dorms," Willoughby said. "We are seeing the exact same mechanism with these gender-neutral housing policies, where it's being driven by the GLBT community and then we have a whole lot of student demand for this kind of housing."
Katie Schaffer, a Swarthmore sophomore, and her roommate, Dan Bath, said sex was in no way a factor when they decided to room together last fall.
"He and I were good friends last year, and at some point I asked if he wanted to live together next year, and he said 'Yeah,' " Schaffer said.
Their parents did not oppose the move.
"I think my father was probably confused about it - when he was growing up this wasn't accepted - but he believed me when I said I thought it would be good," said Bath, of Clarksville, Md. "He trusted my assessment of the situation."
Both students said they had a smooth year as roommates; their only complaint was that they didn't have more rooms to choose from. Gender-neutral housing is available at most Swarthmore residence halls, but not on every floor.
On some campuses, the coed rooming quest has been a hot-button topic. Facebook teems with more than 100 pages and groups devoted to campus movements for it, and it's not uncommon for student government campaigns to list gender-blind housing as a top issue.
At Yale, more than a dozen students staged an outdoor "sleep-in" in March 2009, braving 20-degree temperatures for the right to live together.
Setting up orange tents, they posted a sign that read, "The Only Gender Neutral Housing at Yale," and sang Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'," the Yale Daily News reported.
Yale junior Matt Gerken, who calls himself a "conservative curmudgeon," felt the tone of the debate left no room for dissent. Those who objected, he said, were cast as politically incorrect knuckle-draggers.
"The way this was sold here, at least in rhetoric, was not like a dorm for a few. It was like this must become universal now for everyone."
Gerken started a Facebook group called "I Oppose Gender-Neutral Housing at Yale" for those "who recognize that gender is neither a choice nor an oppressive social construction."
The trend has taken hold at a few big schools, such as Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Connecticut, but mostly it's in the Ivies and smaller liberal arts colleges.
"There are schools I can't imagine would ever have this on their campus," said James Baumann, spokesman for the Association of College and University Housing Officers.
Villanova and St. Joseph's Universities, for instance, do not offer coed dorm rooms but do have coed residence halls.
At Drew University in Madison, N.J., administrators tabled coed rooming two years ago because it was too fraught. Parents did not want it, nor did many alumni.
"It wasn't a clear-cut thing where everyone said this is what we should do, or even a strong majority," said Drew spokesman David Muha.
Elsewhere, parents may not fully appreciate how far things have gone.
"I've heard parents saying, 'Wow, I wasn't even aware this was happening,' " said Willoughby, of Brigham Young. "They're fine with a coed building. But they have reservations about them being in the same room. I wonder if, as this becomes more popular, if there's a parental backlash coming."
So far, officials at Swarthmore, Penn, and Lehigh say they have registered no complaints from parents.
At Swarthmore, Crick and Ikizler consulted their parents and a housing dean before moving in together this semester.
To avoid becoming coed casualties, they developed strategies to handle tensions and found places to retreat to when they needed space.
"I've certainly heard stories about people who have moved in together and their relationships implode," said Ikizler, who is from Nashville.
The challenge of living together has brought them closer, and will help next year when Crick will be studying in Madagascar, the couple said.
And it was, both agreed, an education.
"I felt like I knew everything when I started because I'm 21 - what don't I know?" Ikizler said with a laugh. "But I learned a lot."
4. The Advocate, May 19, 2010
P.O. Box 4371, Los Angeles, CA 90078
Black Lesbian to Lead Montgomery College
By Julie Bolcer
DeRionne P. Pollard, who is African-American and openly lesbian, will take the helm of Montgomery College in Maryland this August.
According to the Maryland Gazette, Dr. Pollard was selected after a five-month nationwide search that drew 50 applicants.
“Pollard, with 15 years of teaching and leading community colleges on her resume, has been the president of Las Positas College in Livermore, Calif., since 2008. During that time, the community college has seen nearly a 15 percent increase in enrollment. The Las Positas College enrolls roughly 8,800 students, while Montgomery College — the largest community college in Maryland — enrolls roughly 60,000 students.”
Pollard and her partner of over 20 years, Robyn A. Jones, have a 3-year-old son, the Gazette reported.
Earlier this year, Raynard Kington, who is openly gay and African-American, was appointed president of Grinnell College in Iowa.
5. Ashland Daily Tidings, May 19, 2010
1661 Siskiyou Blvd., P.O. Box 7, Ashland, Oregon 97520
SOU students arrested for anti-gay graffiti
By Hannah Guzik
Police have arrested two Southern Oregon University students for allegedly writing anti-gay graffiti in dorms on campus and they will face a disciplinary hearing Thursday, university officials said.
Ashland police arrested Kevin Novotny, 20, and Blake Adkins, 19, on April 30 in connection to the graffiti incident, police said. Both were cited for second-degree criminal mischief and Adkins was also charged with second-degree intimidation, according to the report.
Officials do not believe there are additional suspects in the case, said Jonathan Eldridge, SOU's vice president for student affairs.
An SOU board consisting of students, professors and staff members is expected to decide late this week or early next week whether Novotny and Adkins will face discipline from the university, he said.
"We continue to take this seriously and we hope to have final resolution on this within another week or so," Eldridge said Tuesday.
If the students, who both live in dorms on campus, are found to have violated the university's code of conduct, they could "receive anything from a warning to permanent dismissal," he said.
The hearing is separate from any criminal proceeding Novotny and Adkins may face as a result of being cited by police, Eldridge said.
Residents of Diamond Hall found anti-gay graffiti scrawled across their hallway walls and doors shortly after midnight on April 8. Detectives believe the graffiti was intended to intimidate residents of the dorm, which began housing students in a mixed-gender environment this academic year.
Similar graffiti was found in Hawthorne Hall, police said.
The graffiti disturbed residents of the dorms, prompting them to hold campus meetings and speak out about gay rights.
SOU officials believe the incident was isolated, Eldridge said.
"The vast majority of our students find this type of behavior reprehensible and aren't willing to stand for it," he said.
Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 541-482-3456 ext. 226 or email@example.com.
6. The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 19, 2010
1255 Twenty-Third St, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
Marquette Students Want University Censured for Rescinding Job Offer
A group of students at Marquette University is pushing for legal action and academic censure against the institution for withdrawing a job offer to Jodi O'Brien, a sociologist at Seattle University who is a lesbian and was the prospective new dean of Marquette's College of Arts and Sciences. The group of undergraduate and graduate students, known as the May 6th Movement (for the day that Marquette rescinded its offer to Ms. O'Brien), says it has contacted the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the American Association of University Women, among others.
7. Journal Sentinel, May 19, 2010
P.O. Box 371, Milwaukee, WI 53201
Another scholar on gay issues was offered MU job in 2001
By Sharif Durhams and Don Walker
Jodi O'Brien isn't the only Seattle University scholar studying gay and lesbian issues who had been offered a top-tier job at Marquette University.
Isiaah Crawford, Seattle University's provost, was offered the job of dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in 2001. It's the same position that Marquette officials offered to O'Brien but later rescinded.
"Close to a decade ago, an offer was presented to me by Marquette University to become a member of their academic leadership team," Crawford said in a statement to the Journal Sentinel. "I declined the opportunity because of personal and professional commitments in Chicago." At the time, Crawford was a psychology professor at Loyola University Chicago.
Crawford declined through a school spokeswoman to comment beyond the statement.
Marquette announced May 6 that it was rescinding a job offer to O'Brien, a lesbian scholar, because of concerns relating to Marquette's "Catholic mission and identity" and their incompatibility with some of O'Brien's scholarly writings. The university said the decision to pull the job had nothing to do with O'Brien's sexual orientation. Some members of the search committee that recommended O'Brien said they believed her sexual orientation played a role in the reversal.
Crawford, who also is openly gay, described O'Brien as "valued member of our university community" in a statement last week.
In response to an e-mailed question, O'Brien said Crawford has been very helpful since Marquette's decision to pull the job offer. She said the two did talk about the fact that Crawford was offered the Marquette deanship several years ago.
As with O'Brien, some of Crawford's scholarship at Loyola concerned the Catholic Church's teaching about homosexuality. He and a colleague co-authored a paper, published in 2001, arguing there's "nothing inherently pathological or disordered" about gays and lesbians and that the church should base any pastoral outreach on that argument.
In 1998, he co-authored a paper examining psychosocial and legal perspectives on gay and lesbian parenting.
He won an award in 2001 from the American Psychological Association, given to scholars who have disseminated science and scholarship on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
Crawford was appointed provost of Seattle University in July 2008. He was a tenured psychology professor at Loyola when he received the Marquette offer, according to an online biography. He served as Loyola's Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences from 2003 to 2008.
Asked to comment on the job offer to Crawford, Marquette spokeswoman Mary Pat Pfeil said in a statement: "Each personnel decision is made individually, based on a candidate's record. . . . In no case does the university discriminate on the basis of age, culture, faith, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, language, disability or social class."
Marquette held final exams last week, but the debate continues among those who remain on campus. A group of student critics of the decision on O'Brien called Wednesday for several professional and political organizations to censure Marquette. Earlier this week, a group gathered on Marquette's campus in support of the decision.
8. Bakersfield Now, May 20, 2010
1901 Westwind Drive, Bakersfield, CA 93301
Rally set at CSUB after allegations of hate mail
By Carol Ferguson
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- A professor at California State University, Bakersfield says "hate mail" was left outside her office door, and several campus groups now plan a tolerance rally in support of gay rights.
The professor says anti-gay Bible verses were left anonymously, tacked up on her bulletin board.
Social psychology professor Anne Duran said she had put up some Bible quotes and comments from a Rabbi in support of tolerance for lesbians and gays.
Then verses from Leviticus and Romans were hand-written, and left next to her page of quotes. She considers the references in Romans to be a threat.
"It again talks about how people who are gay should be killed, and so should people who disobey their parents and things like that," Dr. Duran said Thursday afternoon. "And so should people who support gay people. So, this is -- I'm perceiving this has a direct threat to me."
Duran said she was angry, and jotted a note on that hand-written page, saying the writer should not post that, especially anonymously.
"To be attacked anonymously with this, essentially what that amounts to is a death threat to me. I'm very angry," Duran said.
CSUB students had various reactions to the incident.
"I don't think it's a really good thing that they did," Vanessa Buenrostro said.
"In the Bible, it says that marriage is between a man and a woman," student Ralph Fairbanks observed. "I'm not advocating harm being done to these people, I'm just saying let's take it through public means and try seeing if they can change to what they're supposed to be in the eyes of God."
Since Duran had put up some Bible quotes to begin with, did she start this debate? The professor says no.
"You can't pick and choose," Duran says of taking quotes from scripture. "Picking and choosing is a very common approach to this argument."
Student Joshua Hunt said he saw the issue as freedom of speech. The person who left the Bible quotes on the bulletin board has that right, sort of.
"People definitely have a right to freedom of speech, to say what they want. But, they should take into consideration other people's thought on it," Hunt said.
The professor disagrees.
"Only maybe if I have the right to go to their house and post my beliefs on their door." Duran said.
The professor has filed a complaint with campus police.
"It's an unfortunate situation that somebody invaded the professor's personal space," CSUB communications director Rob Meszaros said. "The campus does take things like this very seriously."
Several campus groups have now organized an event they're calling the "Ally Rally" for next Tuesday evening on campus. Duran said the goal is "knowledge."
Fliers about the rally say they'll have speakers knowledgeable about tolerance for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people on campus. Organizers say they want to "debunk myths, and increase knowledge about tolerance."
"I'm a straight person in this fight," Duran said. "And I don't want to be on the front lines. Very often I feel like I'm alone, very often I feel like I have to be the one who address these negative, often very hateful attitudes."
Duran teaches courses on discrimination, she said this experience has given her a look at what it's like to be the target of discrimination. That's what she wants to combat, and she said that's through knowledge.
"Examine your own attitudes, and if you don't know about something, find out. Because knowledge is power." Duran said that will be the message of the Ally Rally.
The rally will be Tuesday, May 25 from 5:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Student Union on the CSUB campus.
9. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 20, 2010
900 N. Tucker Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63101
Anti-gay view costs WU prof job on oil spill
By Tim Barker
Just a week after being asked to join an elite team of scientists working on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a controversial Washington University professor has been dismissed from the group.
Physics professor Jonathan Katz's tenure on the team was cut short after Obama administration officials — under pressure from gay rights groups — decided his polarizing opinions and writings could get in the way. Katz has not been shy about expressing his thoughts about a range of topics, including a defense of homophobia.
His writings — which have appeared on his university website — apparently escaped the attention of administration officials charged with putting together the team that also included scientists from Lawrence Berkeley Labs and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
On Wednesday, a spokeswoman for Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu confirmed Katz had been removed.
"Dr. Chu has spoken with dozens of scientists and engineers as part of his work to help find solutions to stop the oil spill," the spokeswoman said in a written statement. "Some of Professor Katz's controversial writings have become a distraction from the critical work of addressing the oil spill. Professor Katz will no longer be involved in the Department's efforts."
Coincidentally, Chu is scheduled to speak at Washington University's commencement Friday morning.
Katz, whose academic credentials have not been questioned, has long been known for his controversial views. They attracted attention as early as 2005, when several students complained about things he had written on his university website.
Some of the criticism has centered on Katz's views questioning whether global warming is really a threat and challenging the value of the diversity movement. But his stance on homosexuality has brought a firestorm of complaints from liberal and gay rights groups.
In his 1999 essay, "In Defense of Homophobia," Katz explained why some people — for both religious and health reasons — support the belief that homosexual behavior is wrong. He ended the essay, "I am a homophobe, and proud."
Katz could not be reached for comment Wednesday. But late Tuesday, he spoke with Bloomberg News by phone, confirming the reason for his removal.
"I don't self-censor myself," said Katz, 59. "There's no doubt there are things on my Web page that've been there for many years that are fairly controversial."
The university issued a statement reiterating its support for academic freedom for students, staff and faculty.
"The views and opinions expressed by Professor Jonathan Katz on his personal Web page are his personal statements and do not represent the opinion of Washington University. Professor Katz clearly states this important distinction on his page, and he has the right to express opinion in this context and under these conditions."
Katz's removal has drawn praise from several fronts, including gay rights organizations who say there's no room for such divisive views.
"These kinds of statements are not acceptable, and they do have repercussions in today's society," said A.J. Bockelman, executive director of PROMO, a Missouri gay rights advocacy group.
The move, however, has drawn criticism from some conservatives.
Kerry Messer, of the Missouri Family Network, said the ousting of Katz suggests that President Barack Obama and his administration place politics ahead of mobilizing the best scientific experts to address the Gulf oil spill. He said Katz's qualifications should be based on scientific credentials, not unrelated personal views.
"This is inexcusable," Messer said, adding that Katz's "lack of political correctness in one area should not discredit his expertise in another."
Matthew Franck of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.
10. San Diego Gay & Lesbian News, May 20, 2010
1010 University Ave #1569, San Diego, CA 92103
Gay Iranian-American college student faces down anti-immigrant forces
By Paul Canning
A gay “illegal” Iranian-American, described in some news reports as "a Muslim illegal immigrant," was arrested then released May 18 at a protest at Senator John McCain's Tuscon, Ariz., office against that state's immigration law.
The protesters walked into McCain’s office just before noon and sat in the lobby.
The law has been the source of furious debate in the United States. It aims to identify, prosecute and deport illegal immigrants. It criminalizes the failure to carry immigration documents and gives the police broad power to detain anyone suspected of being in the country illegally. Opponents have called it an open invitation for harassment and discrimination against Hispanics regardless of their citizenship status.
McCain, facing a battle to retain his Senate seat from a right-wing Republican candidate, has supported the law despite his previous support for immigration reform. President Obama has criticized the bill and its passage has revitalized the cause of immigration reform - this time including support for LGBT bi-national couples - and it has been taken up as a priority in Congress.
Mohammad Abdollahi from Michigan has been in the United States since the age of 3 but due to an error in processing an immigration form - the family paid $20 less than required - their application to stay in the US was rejected. Instead of returning to Iran, Abdollahi’s family chose to remain in the US - illegally.
The protest at McCain's office is, says the New York Times, "the first time students have directly risked deportation in an effort to prompt Congress to take up a bill that would benefit illegal immigrant youths."
Steve Ralls, communications director for Immigration Equality, which has worked for LGBT Iranian asylum seekers, says Abdollahi’s actions put him in “quite a bit of jeopardy.”
Ralls said that his group has worked with many LGBT Iranian asylum seekers, but Abdollahi is in a circumstance many undocumented gay youth find themselves in. In order to seek asylum from the risk of death or oppression, they must apply within one year of entering the US border. “That’s a tough hill for young people to climb,” Ralls notes.
Immigration officials said they were seeking custody of Abdollahi after their cases are completed with law enforcement. One student was not detained because he is a permanent U.S. resident.
Once in custody - which could occur today - immigration officials will determine if the students are in the country illegally. If so, officials will make a custody determination, which could range from a release and a notice to appear in court to a supervised release program. Immigration proceedings would follow.
A lawyer representing the students said she expected them to be put in immigration detention.
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