Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.06.06
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
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1. The Advocate - Gay Hoosiers Welcome at Indiana University
2. The Olympian - 'Pink Prom' held at Olympic College
3. Central Florida Future - Universities right in recruiting diversity
4. The Star-Ledger - Seton Hall committee to consider continuing scheduled gay marriage class
5. Orlando Sentinel - Gay-rights advocates at UCF keep eye on potential repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'
6. Arizona Daily Star - UA offers domestic-partner benefits for employees
1. The Advocate, May 28, 2010
P.O. Box 4371, Los Angeles, CA 90078
Gay Hoosiers Welcome at Indiana University
By Julie Bolcer
The Indiana University athletic department will become the first such department to participate in a gay pride festival on June 12. School officials want the Indy Pride appearance to fuel a fanatical relationship between their Big Ten programs and gay Hoosiers.
People outside the Midwest often ask how to define a Hoosier, the official term for a resident of Indiana and the mascot for the Indiana University athletic teams. While the answer eludes all but the most devoted followers, recent actions by the school’s athletic department indicate that sexual orientation is an irrelevant aspect. Athletics officials say that their top priority is to cultivate fans crazy about their dedication to the Big Ten school, period.
“It’s someone who is passionate about Indiana athletics,” said Pat Kraft, senior assistant athletic director for marketing. “I see what they’re wearing and if they’re Indiana, I’m all fired up. All I care about is that there are 56,000 people at our football game. Gay or straight, it doesn’t matter as long as they’re Indiana Hoosier fans and they’re excited.”
That game-day attitude prompted Kraft, a former Hoosiers linebacker, to agree to attend his first gay pride event and work a booth at the Indy Pride festival in Indianapolis on June 12. School officials believe the appearance will mark the first time an athletic department has participated in such a festival. According to those involved with the process, the arrangement shows what can happen when the LGBT and sports communities let go of their assumptions and stretch outside their comfort (end) zones.
Jon Kitto, secretary of the Indiana University Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Alumni Association, says the breakthrough began last September, when he attended the dedication of a football facility and heard new athletic director Fred Glass say he wanted to reach out to different communities.
“He wasn’t thinking about GLBT groups when he said that,” said Kitto. “They weren’t looking not to. It wasn’t on top of anybody’s list. We needed to ask.” As it happened, the window opened at a pivotal moment in the recent history of Indiana University’s flagship campus in Bloomington, home to more than 40,000 students southwest of Indianapolis. Months earlier, controversy had erupted when the Kelley School of Business presented Marine Gen. Peter Pace, retired chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with a yearlong appointment. The general angered gay rights activists in 2007 when, during his tenure as the nation’s highest-ranking military officer, he expressed his personal view that homosexuality is “immoral” and asserted his support for the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Given the bumpy episode, Kitto says he resolved to approach Glass and the athletic department for a meeting last December with the goal of fostering stronger ties between the gay community and other campus departments. He had no idea what to expect.
“We in the LGBT community generally have stereotypes about people in sports,” said Kitto. “The thing that floored me about all these people is that they didn’t care.”
Support from the athletic department and the football team in particular felt immediate and strong. The department donated items to the silent auction for the LGBT homecoming, and the football coached helped judge the Mr. Out at Kelley contest.
Kitto felt comfortable asking Kraft about making an appearance at Indy Pride, and Kraft responded affirmatively the next day.
Kraft and two others, none of whom have ever attended a gay pride event, will staff the Indiana University athletic department booth during the festival on the same day as the parade. He said he looks forward to the experience.
“Like I feel about all of our events, I’m excited,” said Kraft. “Because it’s a new thing for us, I’m actually really excited. At the end of the day, my job is to get Hoosier fans excited.”
Officials say the pride festival participation and other advances this year have marked the start of a solid working relationship. In fact, they are already talking about an outreach effort to gay youths on the day this fall when area high school students attend an Indiana University football game. No high-profile athletes have come out as gay yet, but as the relationship continues to develop, that is likely only a matter of time. Perhaps the person least surprised by all the progress is athletic director Fred Glass, who mentioned the trailblazing history of Indiana University as the home of the first African-American to play basketball in the Big Ten, the first African-American to be drafted into the NFL, and the Kinsey Institute.
“There’s been no formal feedback, but I can tell you that more than one trustee is aware of it and has told me it’s great and that is what Indiana University should be about,” said Glass, also a vice president of the school. “Indiana University has always been on the cutting edge on acceptance and tolerance.”
When Glass, a former chief of staff for U.S. senator Evan Bayh, took the job of athletic director in January 2009, he said that integrating the department with the rest of the university became a top priority.
“In a word, yes, I think there was still the perception and unfortunately some reality that athletics was a silo comfortable doing its own things and that everybody else could mind their own business,” he said.
In the end, the strategy appears to make for good business, smart politics, and a stronger campus community.
“A lot of what I think our business is, is making memories for all different kinds of people, said Glass. “Today’s young person is tomorrow’s college student and the next day’s alumnus.”
And always a Hoosier.
2. The Olympian, May 31, 2010
1600 Chester Ave., Tech Building 101, Bremerton, WA 98337
'Pink Prom' held at Olympic College
By Josh Nothnagle
The Bremer Student Center at Olympic College played home to a Pink Prom May 22 bringing in people not only from OC but also high schools in the area.
The lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questionable sexuality population in Kitsap County gathered to offer youth a prom where they can be more comfortable bringing whatever date they want.
“I was telling some friends about Pink Prom in Seattle,” said Ian Sherman, OC English professor. “They were surprised about it happening in Kitsap.”
Sherman has been an “on and off” adviser to the Gay Strait Alliance, an OC club that has existed on campus in previous years.
Himesh Bhargo, Associated Students of OC vice president of judicial affairs, said the GSA has been approved as a club with Theresa Jones from the Counseling Center as the adviser. One of the minor objectives of Pink Prom was to gauge the need for a GSA at OC.
“I wanted to come so I could have a good time with some friends,” said Stephanie Malcolm, a Klahowya Secondary School student who attended the event.
Student organizers helped with the preparation for the event by contracting for a dance floor and lighting said David White, student organizer.
“It gives our college recognition for putting on events like this,” said White. “I want OC to stand out.”
Linsey Mayhew, director of youth programs for Kitsap County HIV/AIDS Foundation knows what kind of stress trying to hide your true self can create.
“Doing the work I do,” she said, “I know how this pressure affects youth.”
The night was hosted by “GiGi” and “Vivianne,” both are regulars of the Q Center.
The center is a “safe place where LGBTQ and their allies can get together,” said Justin Mitzlaff, one of the Q Center founders.
The Q Center played a major role in getting attendants for the prom.
“I think it really gives the youth the chance to go to prom feeling like themselves,” said Mitzlaff.
Providing entertainment was Bremerton’s own Miss Tori Marchella. She took the stage to perform to a captivated audience throughout the night and even took the time to pull spectators on stage to show her appreciation for their support.
“As a student myself,” said Marchella, “I’ve never really ran into a problem being a homosexual. When OC is accepting it can overflow to the community.”
Between performances she talked to people looking for advice or taking “thank you’s” from people she has helped in the past.
“Helping out the youth is really what it’s all about,” said Marchella. “There are a lot of very, very beautiful people out tonight, it’s something that’s been needed.”
3. Central Florida Future, June 3, 2010
11825 High Tech Ave. Ste. 100, Orlando, FL 32817
Universities right in recruiting diversity
By Jerriann Sullivan
College fairs are not a new event, but schools across the country are moving to modernize their campuses by attending fairs aimed solely at recruiting gay students.
The New York Times reported on the trend earlier this year, but it is always a good time to talk about making college campuses more welcoming to diverse students.
With every piece on the importance of equal rights for all college students, we, as a society, are closer to achieving that goal. Ideally, students should feel comfortable applying to every single college in the U.S. But because that is not yet the case, I thought I would highlight some of the benefits of these new college fairs.
A university sets the tone of its campus with its rules, policies and procedures. By openly recruiting gay students, these universities are telling the students — and the world — that they will not stand for the type of discrimination that is unfortunately still present throughout the U.S.
Hopefully, as each college moves toward ending useless prejudice against students, parts of the country will follow in its footsteps.
Finding a school that is welcoming of your sexual orientation can make the entire process of higher education easier. Recently, scholarships and additional financial aid have been created to help pay for some of the costs of colleges from groups such as the Point Foundation, the League Foundation at AT&T, and COLAGE — Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere.
A student who is uncomfortable talking about his or her sexual orientation because of fears of discrimination on campus could miss these great opportunities.
It is not fair that a deserving student might avoid specific scholarships because of outside opinions. Again, implementing events such as the college fairs help set the tone that students are welcome to attend these schools without fear of what others might think.
In addition to receiving helpful financial aid, students can feel more comfortable finding or receiving information on gay students and organizations on campus. The Times explained how the University of Pennsylvania received a lot of attention when the online publication
Inside Higher Ed wrote about the school’s new outreach policy.
The arrangement includes taking applicants whose college essay identifies them as gay and putting them in touch with students and organizations on campus.
The school did so in an attempt to make the transition to college easier. Colleges have been doing it for years — just not based on a student’s sexual orientation.
Still, the process could be a little surprising. Attending a school where gay and lesbian students are recruited could make a student feel more open and comfortable to receiving this information, which is the reason for having organizations on college campuses.
I can’t imagine not participating in the clubs that have helped me become a better student. It is only fair that all students feel equally comfortable joining clubs or organizations that help them become successful college graduates.
4. The Star-Ledger, June 3, 2010
1 Star Ledger Plaza, Newark, NJ 07102
Seton Hall committee to consider continuing scheduled gay marriage class
By Kelly Heyboer
SOUTH ORANGE — A committee will meet at Seton Hall University today to consider whether the Catholic school should cancel a course on gay marriage scheduled for the fall.
The fate of the undergraduate class has been in question since Newark Archbishop John J. Myers issued a statement last month saying "the course is not in synch with Catholic teaching." The dispute between the conservative archbishop and university administrators who approved the class has attracted national attention.
The Seton Hall Board of Regents asked one of its subcommittees, called the Mission and Identity Committee, to evaluate the course, said Thomas White, a Seton Hall spokesman. The committee’s dozen or so members will meet behind closed doors on the South Orange campus beginning today, though it is unclear how they will proceed or how long they will take to make their recommendation.
"It’s rather fluid and rather undefined at this point," White said.
The elective course was designed to explore the social and political issues surrounding gay marriage, without advocating for either side. So far, 20 students are registered for the 25-seat class, campus officials said.
The course is scheduled to be taught by W. King Mott, a Seton Hall associate professor of political science and one of the few openly gay teachers on campus.
Mott said he is hopeful the regents will uphold the university’s initial decision to offer the course. To cancel a class because of its subject matter would be inappropriate at an academic institution, he said.
"It would be a horrible thing for this university," Mott said.
Seton Hall officials asked Mott to turn over his syllabus for the class after the archbishop — who serves as a member of the university’s board — raised his objections. But Mott said he declined because he had not yet created a syllabus. Most professors write their outlines for new classes over the summer, he said.
This isn’t the first time Mott has clashed with university officials. He was demoted from his post as associate dean of Seton Hall’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2005 after The Star-Ledger printed his letter challenging the church’s view on homosexuality.
The American Association of University Professors has already taken Mott’s side in the gay marriage class debate. The national group issued a statement questioning whether Seton Hall was stifling academic freedom by discouraging professors from challenging church doctrine in the classroom.
"The AAUP would support that instructor’s right to express his or her own views, and the right of the students to do so as well," said Cary Nelson, the association’s president.
The gay marriage class will be one of several topics on the agenda as the more than 30 members of the full Seton Hall Board of Regents meet today. The regents are expected to consider the university’s search for a new president to replace Monsignor Robert Sheeran, who steps down at the end of the month after 15 years in the job.
Rev. Kevin Mackin, president of Mount Saint Mary College in New York, dropped out of the race in April. That left Monsignor Stuart Swetland, a professor of Christian ethics at Mount St. Mary’s University in Maryland, as the sole finalist of the job. The regents have the option of appointing Swetland or expanding the search to additional candidates.
5. Orlando Sentinel, June 4, 2010
633 N. Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL 32801
Gay-rights advocates at UCF keep eye on potential repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'
By Sarah Wilson
With the U.S. Senate poised for a fight over President Obama's request to repeal the military's "don't ask, don't tell'' policy, gays and lesbians at UCF, as well as leaders of campus ROTC programs, are watching closely to see what happens next.
By a vote of 234-194, the House of Representatives approved the repeal on May 28, moving a step closer to ending the 17-year-old policy and allowing gay and lesbian members of the military to serve openly. The repeal request was attached to a defense bill that now moves to the Senate, which will take it up for debate and a vote some time this summer. It needs 60 out of 100 votes to pass and faces considerable opposition from Republicans and some conservative Democrats. If passed, the repeal would not take effect until next year so that the Pentagon would have the rest of 2010 to study and review its potential ramifications.
Since the advent of "don't ask, don't tell'' in 1993, homosexuals can serve in the armed forces, but only if they keep their sexuality a secret. At that time the policy was designed to be a compromise between President Bill Clinton and military leaders, who said allowing gays to serve openly would compromise unit cohesiveness and military readiness. Repealing the policy has been a major objective of gay-rights groups and President Obama, who promised to end it if elected.
The repeal of "don't ask, don't tell,'' if passed, has the potential to impact the gay and lesbian communities at UCF and ROTC military recruiting programs on campus.
"There's absolutely no reason someone's sexual orientation should come into play serving their country,'' said Kristy Rowsey, a UCF senior and director of Students Advocating for Equality.
She said that if the repeal is passed it will be a great victory for all those who have been working for gay rights. However, Rowsey also said the coming debate in the Senate is likely to open a big can of worms.
"We're taking steps forward toward seeing equality, but at the same time there are a lot of issues that I think people are unaware of when it comes to repealing this act,'' she said.
Issues she cited include benefits for partners of those serving openly gay in the military. While the federal government may run the military, gay-marriage and civil-union laws, which usually cover benefits, are made by individual states. Another issue will be potential grievances filed by gay veterans who have already been discharged from service under "don't ask, don't tell.''
"I think a lot of these issues are going to have to be addressed in the Senate for the first time ever,'' she explained.
Serving in the military while keeping one's sexuality hidden is something Michael Freeman knows all too well. Freeman, of the UCF Office of Diversity, describes his time in the Air Force after being drafted for service in the Vietnam War in 1970 as four years of living in constant fear and pretending he wasn't the person he really was.
"There were some of us who knew some other folks were gay,'' said Freeman, the faculty adviser for UCF's gay and lesbian activist organization, Equal. "But you just never even spoke to each other, you never took a chance of even being in the same room with them or anything. The fear was the fear of being found out.''
Freeman said that he hopes that soon other military service members will never face the same fear he did.
"During the time I was in, it was more of a witch hunt,'' Freeman said. "What you do is you just remain absolutely quiet, you don't do anything. What you do is live in fear that someone will guess that you are, so imagine living every single day of your life thinking someone is going to find out you're gay.''
Even though the repeal passed in the House, Freeman is hesitant to get too excited.
"This could get locked up and never happen,'' he said.
He hopes Obama makes good on his promise to the gay community and that "don't ask, don't tell'' will be finally put to rest. Freeman expects that if it is repealed there will be an upswing in military enrollment in both college ROTC programs and in all branches of the armed forces.
Lt. Ryan Hafer, an ROTC enrollment adviser at UCF, said he does not expect much to change in the ROTC program if the policy is repealed. He said that as far as his duties, and the way the ROTC program is run, everything should stay the same.
Mike Johnson, a public affairs representative for Cadet Command, an organization that oversees ROTC programs, said he also does not expect much, if anything to change. He explained that all requirements to enlist should stay the same. He said he will not know what, if any policy changes, will be made until the legislative process plays out.
Both Freeman and Rowsey are hopeful that the repeal will go through. Each of them also has high hopes for advances in gay rights both at UCF and nationally.
"Although UCF, I feel, is a pretty conservative campus, I feel like for the most part we have a pretty gay-friendly campus,'' Rowsey said.
After years of campaigning for civil rights for African-Americans and gays, and after serving his country in the military, Freeman said he will continue to fight for what he believes is right.
"People found out having a black teacher wasn't really that big of a deal, having a black physician take care of you was no big deal. I think the same will happen with this,'' Freeman said. "I just hope I'm around and alive to see it.''
Sarah Wilson is a UCF journalism student.
6. Arizona Daily Star, June 6, 2010
4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714
UA offers domestic-partner benefits for employees
When the state cut health benefits for domestic partners last year, University of Arizona president Robert Shelton said school officials should come up with a way to help them buy separate coverage.
Now, the university is offering special medical, dental and vision insurance plans for employees with domestic partners. The plans don't use any state money but have similar premiums.
The new state law, which changes partner benefits by redefining the word "dependent," was signed in September 2009 and will take effect on Oct. 1. The new plans will kick in on that day, too. A dependent will then be a "spouse under the laws of this state," which excludes unmarried domestic partners.
The university wanted to cover both gay and heterosexual relationships because "in order for us to be competitive, to be able to attract talented people, we need to be able to offer benefits that other employers are offering," said Allison Vaillancourt, UA vice president for human resources.
The city of Tucson, Pima County and other major employers offer benefits for domestic partners.
Liz Sawyer, a UA staff member in the English department, called the new plans wonderful. Sawyer is a spokeswoman for OUTReach, a campus group that has lobbied for domestic-partner benefits at the UA for many years.
"It's really nice to know that even though the state is not committed to equality, our university is. This administration has been so supportive of the LGTB (lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual) community. We're just all breathing a huge sigh of relief," she said.
About 20 people left the university over frustration with the new law and in some cases, job offers were rejected or reconsidered, according to Vaillancourt.
At the time the law change was announced, the state coverage applied to 40 same-sex partners and 130 opposite-sex partners of university employees.
Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University are working on their own partner-benefits solutions.
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