Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.08.08
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to firstname.lastname@example.org
1. The Sacramento Bee - Co-ed dorm rooms latest option for college students
2. The Oregonian - University of Oregon ranks No. 1 in gay-friendliness
3. The Advocate - UCLA, Princeton Top Gay-Friendly Colleges List
4. ABC News - Buffalo College Professor Claims Discrimination Because He's Straight
5. The Daily Collegian (Penn State) - Penn State receives five-star rating for LGBT friendliness
6. Cleveland Jewish News - Orthodox gay rabbi to speak at Siegal College
1. The Sacramento Bee, August 3, 2010
P.O. Box 15779, Sacramento, CA 95852
Co-ed dorm rooms latest option for college students
By Laurel Rosenhall
College students filling out their dormitory housing requests this summer are making decisions about their future roommate: Messy or neat? Smoker or non? Early bird or night owl?
Now many of them have a new question to ponder: Male or female?
Across the country, colleges are changing the roommate rules and allowing men and women to share a bedroom. Only a small portion of students are choosing the option, college officials say. And when they do, the arrangements almost always are platonic.
But the shift marks the next step in a decades-long evolution that's shrunk the space that once separated the sexes on college campuses.
"Back in the dark ages, a co-ed dorm was separate floors (for men and women) with an RA making sure you didn't have guys on your floor after a certain time," said Vicky Jones, a Bay Area homemaker who graduated from UCLA in 1974.
Then came co-ed floors. And then co-ed bathrooms.
Now Jones' daughter Kendall goes to Occidental College in Los Angeles, where she roomed with a male friend her sophomore year. Occidental is one of more than 50 colleges across the nation that offer what's described as "gender-inclusive" or "gender-neutral" housing – rooms or suites shared by male and female students.
"My main reason for choosing gender-neutral housing was simply feeling more comfortable with a guy as a roommate," Kendall Jones, 20, wrote in an e-mail interview with The Bee.
Jones grew up with three brothers and said she was fed up with female energy after a freshman year in which she was one of three girls squeezed into a room built for two.
"It made me cringe to think about living with a girl the next year, so when I found out there was another option I jumped at the chance," she wrote.
Jones chose to live with her friend James Case. He said they were compatible because they have similar lifestyles and the same tolerance for mess. There was nothing awkward about it, Case said.
"When one of us would change, you'd say, 'Hey turn around for 10 seconds.' It really wasn't complicated," he said.
Other schools that allow men and women to room together include UC Berkeley, UC Riverside, Stanford, Humboldt State and the University of Oregon. UC Davis officials said they will research the option in the coming year.
College housing officials say mixed housing hasn't led to increases in sexual violence. Most schools limit mixed-gender rooms to specific buildings or floors. They assign students to mixed rooms only when both people request it.
And it's generally not couples who are asking to share a room. The requests tend to come from gay and lesbian students who feel awkward being paired with a roommate of the same sex, or from transgender students who feel their identity makes it difficult to fit into a typical dorm setting.
"It's been a natural progression in university housing," said Marty Takimoto, a UC Berkeley housing director. "Students, as the customers, are the determiners of their living situation."
About 10 students on the Berkeley campus lived in mixed-gender rooms last year, Takimoto said – out of a residential population of 5,900. And all the mixed-gender rooms are in Unity House, a dormitory designated for people who care about issues of sexuality and gender identity.
One resident was Rose DeLeon-Foote, 19, of Sacramento. She said she is not a lesbian but wanted to live in Unity House because she is passionate about gay rights. She shared a room with a transgender man, who was born female but identifies as male.
"I have a lot of close friends that are gay," DeLeon-Foote said. "I thought Unity would be fun, it would be a place for me to get some friends at Cal."
The gender-neutral housing at Humboldt State is also in a section of the dorms reserved for people who are gay or care about gay issues. Sophomore Corrina Wells, who described herself as a lesbian, said she enjoyed sharing a room with a gay male friend – for the most part.
"There's the classic boy stuff, where the room smells like boy or there's a pile of laundry," said Wells, 19. "But after a while I got comfortable with it."
Making gay students more comfortable is part of the drive for mixed-gender housing, but not the entire story, said David Norton, executive director of the National Student Genderblind Campaign, which helps students lobby for gender-neutral housing. He co-founded the campaign when he was in college and was forbidden from sharing a room with a woman who had been his best friend since middle school.
"Many best friends these days are opposite genders," said Norton, 24. "It doesn't make sense to have a policy that makes it so you can't live with the person you feel most comfortable living with."
Occidental student Laura Harmon was able to share a room with her best friend, a straight guy. The mixed-gender housing at her school is advertised as being a good option for gay students – but not restricted to them.
"We kind of felt like we were taking advantage of the system as two straight people," she said.
Now, as they plan housing for their senior year, Harmon has decided to rent a house off-campus with a group of women. And her former roommate will be in a campus suite, full of men.
2. The Oregonian, August 3, 2010
1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201
University of Oregon ranks No. 1 in gay-friendliness
By Kimberly A.C. Wilson
Wave those rainbow flags, Oregon!
The University of Oregon tops a list of 230 universities in a new ranking of the most gay-friendly colleges in the nation, followed closely behind in 15th place by Oregon State University.
For ease of navigation, we're sending you to the Huffington Post for some of the winners on Campus Pride's 2010 Climate Index of gay-friendly colleges. For the full list at Campus Pride, a non-profit devoted to creating safer communities for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender college students, check out this link.
Following the U of O in the top slot with 5 star rankings are Ohio State University and Oberlin.
Southern Oregon University and Willamette University came in with 4.5 out of five stars. Lewis & Clark got 4 stars and Eastern Oregon University received 2.5 stars.
Rankings were based on eight LGBT-Friendly factors, including support and institutional commitment, student life, academic life, housing, campus safety, counseling and health and recruitment and retention.
3. The Advocate, August 4, 2010
P.O. Box 4371, Los Angeles, CA 90078
UCLA, Princeton Top Gay-Friendly Colleges List
By Michelle Garcia
Farmington's University of Maine campus, Ithaca College, and the University of California, Los Angeles, are three of the most gay-friendly post-secondary institutions in the United States.
The list, spearheaded by Campus Pride, an advocacy organization for LGBT college students, is topped by 19 universities and colleges with a five-star ranking, the highest since the first list was organized in 2007.
The schools with the top rankings are Carleton College; Humboldt State University; Ithaca College; Oberlin College; Oregon State University; Princeton University; San Diego State University; Syracuse University; Ohio State University; Pennsylvania State University; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Riverside; University of Maine, Farmington; University of Oregon; University of Pennsylvania; University of Southern California; University of Vermont; and Washington University in St. Louis.
“Although not all schools earn a five-star ranking, their voluntary presence and participation in the index shows they are committed to ‘coming out’ for their students and creating truly equal and impactful communities of higher learning,” said Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride executive director.
The full list is available at CampusClimateIndex.org.
4. ABC News, August 4, 2010
7 West 66th Street, New York, NY 10023
Buffalo College Professor Claims Discrimination Because He's Straight
By Sarah Netter
A New York college professor who claims that he was discrminated against for being a heterosexual man and then fired for complaining has caught the interest of the state's Human Rights Division.
Dr. Csaba Marosan told ABC News that he endured years of being ostracized by administrators at Trocaire College, a Catholic, two-year school in Buffalo, for not being part of their clique made up largely of younger, gay men dubbed the "Merry Men."
The complaint filed by Marosan, a native of Hungary, also alleges discrimination based on his accent and his gender. His allegations were investigated by New York Human Rights Division, which has found probable cause that Trocaire College not only discrminated against Marosan, but fired him in retaliation for lodging the initial complaint.
"I want some changes in the school," Marosan said. "I mean, this cannot go on."
Marosan, who holds a medical degree in Hungary but is unlicensed to pratice in the U.S., worked at Trocaire, first as an adjunct professor then as a full-time faculty member in the school's natural sciences department.
In his first complaint, filed with the Human Rights Division in April 2009, Marosan claims that the Rev. Robert Mock, dean of academic affairs for non-nursing studies, and Vice President Thomas Mitchell treated him less favorably than his female colleagues. Mock, according to the complaint, would poke fun at his customs, his clothing and his accent. In April 2010 Marosan amended his complaint to include allegations of discrimination based on his sexual orientation. The amendment came after Marosan was fired in February in what he says was retaliation for the first Human Rights complaint.
In the amendment, Marosan claims Mock and Mitchell "are known or believed to be gay or bi-sexual."
"Mr. Mitchell and Father Mock have given preferential treatment to young and/or gay males," the complaint alleges. "Father Mock formed a group called the 'Merry Men' where these young and/or gay males would socialize on and off campus, leading to preferential treatment."
Marosan pointed to the promotions of two of the members of the so-called "Merry Men" who had less experience and education than anyone else in the department.
He claims he watched other men he believes to be gay as well as less-educated women be promoted to positions above him even though his superiors knew he was interested in a higher level teaching job.
"I have dozens of witnesses to situations I've been through there," he said.
James Grasso, an attorney for Trocaire College, emphatically denied Marosan's claims. He also couldn't speak to Mock or Mitchell's sexual orientation, saying only "those are private matters."
"The college wants the case to be dismissed," he said.
The college, in its formal response to Marosan's amended complaint, says that he was never denied a promotion over anyone based on gender or sexual orientation and that Marosan never applied for the jobs he referenced that were filled by the other staff members.
Marosan, Grasso said, "never raised any of these issues … until the thought he was going to lose his job."
Grasso paints an entirely different portait of the Hungarian doctor, one in which he had to be counseled by school officials in 2008 after administrators received several complaints from female students over "repeated and inappropriate and sexually laced comments in class" during the course of his lecture's on anatomy.
But the state's findings also noted that Marosan's record showed no indication of a finding on the sexual harrassment complaint and that at least one of the student's statements was found to have been coached by Mock.
Grasso also denied that Marosan's termination had anything to do with his accusations.
"The primary reason he was let go was that the Middle States Association [of Colleges and Schools,] as part of their accredited process, came through and did an evaluation," Grasso said. "And he didn't hold what they determined was the preferred degree for the field he was teaching in."
The association wanted all professors to have master's degrees, he explained, and even though Marosan was an M.D., it wasn't a U.S.-held title.
A spokeswoman for the Human Rights Division declined to comment on its investigation, saying the office was prohibited from discussing any case until a final ruling had been issued.
According to the probable cause finding, a public hearing before an administrative judge will be scheduled within weeks.
Though Marosan was let go from the college at the beginning of the year, he continues to draw a paycheck thanks to his union contract. But he is being paid a base salary, which Grasso says is in the "mid-30s."
Marosan said he's lost about 60 percent of his pay, since he's no longer allowed to pick up extra classes, which brought his annual salary up to $75,000 or $80,000.
Though Marosan would like to be compensated for his lost wages, he said there's a larger issue at stake of changing the way things are run at Trocaire.
"This is not about personal gain," he said. "I will get what I lost either way. There is a court system for that."
5. The Daily Collegian (Penn State), August 5, 2010
123 S. Burrowes St., University Park, PA 16801
Penn State receives five-star rating for LGBT friendliness
By Eddie Lau
Penn State is one of 19 colleges and universities in the nation to receive a five-star rating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) inclusion and friendliness.
The Campus Pride Climate Index was announced on Monday by Campus Pride, a Charlotte, N.C.-based organization that promotes an LGBT-friendly learning environment.
Five stars is the group's highest rating.
Colleges are ranked from one to five stars, depending on the answers those colleges provide to Campus Pride, according to the press release. The index looked at university policies, programs and practices concerning LGBT community.
"I am very exciting about the rating -- it shows the progress and the wonderful things that Penn State have in place," said Allison Subasic, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Allies (LGBTA) Student Resource Center director.
This is the second year Penn State has received a five-star rating, Subasic said.
Each summer, university officials are encouraged to fill out new questionnaires and update their index profiles, according to a press release issued by the organization.
Subasic said Penn State was able to score high because the university has welcoming policies and procedures for the LGBT community.
Rated alongside the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania as one of the most LGBT-friendly campuses, Penn State has a long history of student LGBT organizations as well as administrative support, Subasic said.
The university's resource center is located in 101 Boucke Building.
"We have a safe space here for students and knowledgeable staff they can talk to," she said. "We have an amazing resource library."
Subasic said other programs and outreach efforts include seminars, mentorship programs and year-long internships.
Brian Patchcoski, the current LGBTA Student Resource Center assistant director, said he is happy Penn State tops the rating because the school provides a comfortable environment for LGBT individuals.
"The Campus Pride Index is a really great monitor of what schools are doing and how schools are putting their best effort forward and Penn State is definitely in the lead," he said.
When Patchcoski came to Penn State two years ago, he felt Penn State was advanced compared to the college where he finished his undergraduate degree: University of Scranton.
"Penn State has given me so many resources to build and grow upon as a gay male," Patchcoski said. "I really feel like Penn State provided me the foundation to grow personally and professionally."
Campus Pride Executive Director and Campus Climate Index creator Shane Windmeyer said he is grateful more and more colleges and universities in America are creating a friendlier environment for their LGBT students.
"The rising number of campuses across the nation willing to stand up and speak out for their LGBT students is a testament to the growing recognition that educational environments should be safe and inclusive of all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity," he said.
Although not all schools gett a five-star ranking, Windmeyer said their voluntary presence and participation in the index shows they are committed to "coming out" for their students and creating truly equal and impactful communities of higher learning.
The organization listed more than 230 publicly available campus climate reports online at campusclimateindex.org.
6. Cleveland Jewish News, August 6, 2010
23880 Commerce Park, Beachwood, OH 44122
Orthodox gay rabbi to speak at Siegal College
By Arlene Fine
When Rabbi Steve Greenberg, 54, came out of the closet in 1999, he had the unique distinction of being the first openly gay Orthodox rabbi.
Greenberg’s sexual orientation became public that same year, when he wrote an article for Tikkun magazine entitled “Gayness and God: Wrestlings of a Gay Orthodox Rabbi.”
A senior teaching fellow at The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership (CLAL, a think tank and leadership training institute), Greenberg was featured in the 2001 award-winning documentary “Trembling Before God.” He will speak at a free, public lecture at Siegal College on “Gayness and God” on Mon., Aug. 9, at 7:15.
The Columbus native is often asked how he can follow halachah and still justify being a gay Orthodox Jew.
“God and our tradition cannot afford to reject 4% of the human population,” he says during a phone interview from his New York office. “The Orthodox community must find a way to prevent the exile of its gay and lesbian children, and when that process begins, then a deep, not a superficial, conversation will take place.”
The dialogue Greenberg has hoped for has recently been initiated. On July 22, nearly 90 Orthodox rabbis released a “Statement of Principles on the Place of Jews with a Homosexual Orientation in Our Community.” The paper signals an attempt to include gays within the Orthodox community, while not advocating any change in the Jewish laws that govern sexuality.
Greenberg is encouraged by this public stance. “Some Orthodox rabbis are becoming much more empathetic to gay and lesbian members,” he says. Although that does not mean their views on Jewish law will be altered, “they no longer see gay people as a threat, but as their children and students. This growing reality is not just in America, but in Israel, too.”
The traditional view that gays are “spoilers of normal family traditions” is rapidly changing in many parts of the Orthodox world, Greenberg notes. “Now, gay Orthodox Jews are being viewed as victims.” And since Jews always open their hearts to underdogs, “gay people are no longer seen as trying to overturn the family, but trying to belong to it.”
The message of inclusiveness applies to women in the Orthodox rabbinate, a subject that is also being debated in the traditional Orthodox community. “If rabbi means a teacher who has the knowledge and utmost commitment to the Jewish people and if women have those skills, then it is the responsibility of all Jewish people to find a way to include women for serious leadership roles,” Greenberg says.
The rabbi, who came from a Conservative home, developed a passion for Orthodox Judaism when he was 15. “I fell in love with the depth, wisdom and vitality of the tradition,” he explains. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Yeshiva University and his rabbinical ordination from Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, both in New York.
When Greenberg’s family learned about his sexual orientation, most of his relatives responded with unconditional love. It was his mother, a Holocaust survivor, who faced the greatest challenge, and it took her a number of years to accept her son was gay.
“One of my mother’s greatest fears was that I would be alone and unhappy for the rest of my life,” Greenberg says. “When she realized that was not true and saw how happy and fulfilled I am, her fears were quieted, and we now have a wonderful relationship.”
Along with his opening lecture at Siegal College, Greenberg will lead a series of classes during the four-day Summer Institute, exploring Eilu V’Eilu: The Tradition of Sacred Argument in Jewish Life. Among his workshops will be “Eat, Drink and Change the World,” “Eden, Sodom and the Laws of Leviticus,” and “Adam and Adamah: Biblical and Rabbinic Models of the Human-Earth Relationship.”
“Rabbi Greenberg has great versatility as a Jewish scholar and works to bring wisdom to all Jews,” says Rabbi Jeffrey Schein, professor and director of the department of Jewish education at Siegal College. “He stresses Judaism’s importance in how we live our lives in the 21st century.” This includes reaching out to those who don’t normally have an opportunity “to understand how Judaism can relate to their lives in trying times.”
WHAT: Rabbi Steve Greenberg lecture on “Gayness and God”
WHERE: Siegal College
WHEN: Mon., Aug. 9, at 7:15
CONTACT: 216-464-4050 or www.siegalcollege.edu
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