Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.09.12
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. St. Edward’s University Hilltop Views - Rejection of gay rights group detrimental to campus
2. The Vermont Cynic - LGBTQAwesome: UVM ranked among top universities in LGBT-friendliness
3. The Mirror - Fairfield not LGBT friendly
4. The Denver Post - Air Force Academy's alumni group cancels event to honor gay soldiers
5. The Famuan - SGA Explosion turnout is a success
6. The Chronicle (Duke University) - DCR loses annual funds, faces de-chartering
7. The Daily Tar Heel (UNC) - Duke College Republicans lose charter, funding
1. St. Edward’s University Hilltop Views, September 7, 2010
3001 South Congress Avenue, Campus Mailbox #964, Austin, TX 78704
Rejection of gay rights group detrimental to campus
Approximately 35 non-profit organizations are scheduled to participate in the upcoming St. Edward’s University non-profit internship fair, but each group is in danger of being overshadowed by the one that will not be there.
The university recently rejected a request from Equality Texas to participate in the Sept. 15 fair. The group’s stated goal is to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by lobbying the Texas legislature on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender issues. In an e-mail, St. Edward’s notified the group that they were at odds with the university’s Catholic principles, and therefore not allowed to be at the fair.
The university claims that allowing Equality Texas to be on campus to recruit student interns would be an endorsement of the group’s beliefs. Meanwhile, the career planning website Hilltop Careers features internships with the offices of pro-choice state politicians, like state Rep. Valinda Bolton, D-Austin, and Harris Media LLC, a political consulting firm that works for candidates who support the death penalty like Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. Advertising these jobs is not an endorsement of pro-choice or pro-death penalty beliefs, but an avenue for students to become politically engaged.
A critical goal that St. Edward’s sets for students is that they “learn to think.” This motto does not refer to base indoctrination. Rather, it means that St. Edward’s seeks to equip students with the necessary mental tools to solve problems—social, occupational, moral or otherwise—on their own. Having provided students with the ability to think critically and reasonably, the university should trust that they can make their own decisions.
Thus, students should be allowed to freely choose whether they agree with practices like gay marriage, and also to freely choose whether or not they want to intern for an organization that advocates for it.
The remainder of the university’s explanation was equally troubling. When the university incorrectly identified Equality Texas as a for-profit organization, it appeared to be having a knee-jerk reaction rather than a fact-based response. The university’s lack of knowledge about Equality Texas suggests that it did not take the necessary time to evaluate the organization’s purpose and value.
Moreover, the university’s decision to turn away Equality Texas is at odds with the very mission statement that St. Edward’s claims to be defending. The university has long prided itself on being a welcoming place for students, faculty, staff and guests of all beliefs, backgrounds, faiths and ethnicities. This commitment is a central part of the university’s mission statement, and sexual orientation is just as much an element of diversity as economic or ethnic background.
The university seemed to agree with this interpretation of diversity when it took the initiative of sponsoring a LGBT student organization called Pride. However, St. Edward’s now appears to be back-tracking regarding which types of diversity it considers acceptable.
Throughout the years, the university has endeavored to give the concepts of inter-faith dialogue and global understanding their due attention in curriculum and on-campus events. This practice has not required the university to sacrifice the Catholic character central to the campus. Instead, the university embraces the opportunity to learn about other cultures as part of the overriding Catholic belief in the dignity and value of all human life.
If the university is open to discussions of topics that have traditionally been at odds with the stance of the Catholic Church, it should be willing to take on the issue of sexuality in the same manner. Issues of sexual orientation deserve the same respect with which the university has treated issues of diversity in culture and faith.
Ultimately, shutting out groups like Equality Texas is akin to trying to win an argument by refusing to have one. A university should be a place where debate and differences are encouraged, not stifled.
2. The Vermont Cynic, September 8, 2010
LGBTQAwesome: UVM ranked among top universities in LGBT-friendliness
By Staff Report
UVM has been ranked one of the top 19 LGBT-friendly schools nationwide by non-profit organization Campus Pride for its efforts in support of a lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-friendly climate.
Out of the 300 schools that participated, a record 19 received the highest possible ranking of five stars, according to University Communications.
"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," said Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride executive director and creator of the Campus Climate Index.
The campuses include: Carleton College; Humboldt State University; Ithaca College; Oberlin College; Oregon State University; Princeton University; San Diego State University; Syracuse University; The Ohio State University; The 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
“Colleges are ranked from one to five stars, depending on their answers to a detailed, voluntary questionnaire submitted to Campus Pride, a national non-profit working to create safer, more LGBT-inclusive colleges and build future LGBT and ally leaders,” according to University Communications.
The Campus Pride LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index lists more than 230 publicly available campus climate reports online at www.campusclimateindex.org.
3. The Mirror, September 8, 2010
Fairfield University, Box AA, 1073 North Benson Road, Fairfield, CT 06824
Fairfield not LGBT friendly
By Devon Porrino
It’s your first day of classes and whether you’re a boy or girl, freshman or senior, you’re excited and anxious to make new friends and see your old ones. You walk around campus looking through the crowds of people for someone you know, and when you see a friend of yours, your shoulders relax and you feel comfort and have a sense of belonging.
But what if on campus, you receive glares, you’re looked up and down, and were called disrespectful names. To some particular students, this sadly is a reality. A reality that maybe we were not quite aware of but has been brought to our attention.
“Princeton Review” ranked our Fairfield University #19 on the list of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) unfriendly campuses.
Fairfield University is well known for their honorable rankings, but what about the ones that go unnoticed, or are hidden away, such as this one? What about rankings that attract negative attention?
“I wouldn’t say that it’s nonfriendly but I personally don’t know any of the support that we give to the gay community,” Erica Cianchette,’11 said upon hearing the news of the newly stated rankings. “I have never seen any unfriendliness specifically targeted at gay people, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t happen.”
Administration seems to believe heavily in diversity and is known for their efforts on trying to diversify Fairfield University with the support they give to groups, and events they present on campus to students such as Diversity Week. FUSA President, Eddie Muniz, is right on board with adding and accepting diversity on Fairfield, but he added an interesting insight into why Fairfield may have possibly been named an unfriendly gay campus.
“I think that Jesuit Institutions are playing catch up with accepting and integrating a lot of the groups that have been discriminated against, but I can say that Fairfield has made significant improvements from the 80’s and 90’s when there were chants like “stags not fags” because of the first Alliance group that was formally recognized as a student organization,” he said. “Overall, I believe that Fairfield can still do more, but I don’t believe the statement to be completely true.”
Along with being named #19 on the list of LGBT unfriendly, “Forbes” ranked Fairfield #313 of “Americas Best Colleges” which fell behind colleges such as SUNY Stony Brook, University of North Carolina Wilmington, and many others.
Although attention is on Fairfield’s bad rankings, the University also holds many honorable rankings. According to the “US News and World Report’s 2010 edition of America’s Best Colleges,” Fairfield was ranked 4th among the Tier-1 Master’s Universities in the North along with being cited in the report among “Great Schools, Great Prices”. Fairfield was also listed as a “2010 Military Friendly School ranking the university in the top 15% of all colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide,” according to GI Jobs magazine.
Even though administration has their work cut out for them with diversifying the University’s campus and student body life, Muniz is ready to take part and help unify Fairfield.
“As the leader of the student body, I hope to work with Fairfield administrators to identify what needs to be done so that we can make improvements and ensure that all Stags feel like this is their home.”
4. The Denver Post, September 9, 2010
101 W. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80202
Air Force Academy's alumni group cancels event to honor gay soldiers
By Michael Riley
WASHINGTON — With the ban on gays serving openly in the military inching closer to repeal, gay soldiers and their advocates scheduled a dinner this November on the Air Force Academy campus, planning to invite the academy's superintendent and a member of Congress.
The two groups sponsoring the event signed a contract and put down a deposit, but the dinner was canceled last month by the academy's alumni organization, which controls the venue where it was to be held.
A spokesman said the event placed the school's leadership in the tough spot of appearing to endorse repeal of the current ban, known as "don't ask, don't tell."
The turnabout has set off a fusillade of charges and countercharges, focusing attention on the institution that is known as the most conservative of the service academies just as the military studies the possibility of welcoming openly gay fighters.
A spokesman for the group OutServe, one of the dinner's sponsors whose members include gay Air Force Academy graduates currently serving, called the cancelation "blatant discrimination."
The event was meant not as a political statement but to recognize the contribution of gays and lesbians to the country's armed forces, said the spokesman, who is a lieutenant in the active-duty military.
Gary Howe, executive vice president of the alumni association — known as the Association of Graduates — said the groups are trying to embarrass the Air Force Academy at a delicate moment in the debate.
"To think that holding such an event on the United States Air Force Academy (campus) would not be political, I think they're blowing smoke," Howe said.
The dinner and cancelation underscore the complexity of the issue. The Pentagon endorsed repeal early this year, but the ban remains in place. The House has approved it, but repeal awaits a vote in the Senate.
Impatient and increasingly active, gay service members and advocates are pushing boundaries at every level. OutServe, for example, is made up of hundreds of active-duty personnel who would be discharged if their identities became known before repeal was implemented.
The dinner's organizers say the event — scheduled for Nov. 12 — would have been limited to highlighting the biographies of several gay and lesbian AFA graduates who had had successful military careers but are now out of the Air Force.
Opponents "perceive the dinner as being something very different than what we perceive it to be," said Greg Mooneyham, a former combat pilot and the director of Blue Alliance, a group of gay and lesbian academy alumni and the event's other sponsor.
The dinner was scheduled at Doolittle Hall, which is at the center of the Air Force Academy campus but can be rented by the general public for events. The hall and grounds around it are leased from the Air Force by the academy's alumni group.
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall was invited but had yet to accept. And at least one of the groups had begun to reach out to cadets to invite them to attend.
The scale of the event honoring gay fighters would have been unprecedented at the Air Force Academy — and a highly unusual event on any military installation.
But its supporters say it would serve to lay the groundwork for a transition to an open military by showing that gays and lesbians have already made successful soldiers.
Howe said that despite the contract and deposit, he canceled the event when he learned more details, including the invitation to a lawmaker and the participation of OutServe, which he views as a political organization.
"The superintendent of the academy works for the chief of staff of the Air Force, and as far as I know, he hasn't said what he thinks" about repeal, Howe said.
"We will not support any group who is trying to change Air Force policy. That's not what we're about," he said.
Easing toward repeal
Speaking before a Senate committee earlier this year, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he personally supported ending the policy, enacted by Congress in 1993.
But in May, the joint chiefs of the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force asked Congress to hold off on repealing the policy until after a Pentagon study was done.
In recent months, the Pentagon has been careful to ease the tradition-bound institutions of the military toward repeal, surveying more than 400,000 current service members and their families about the move and undertaking the months-long study due to President Barack Obama by Dec. 1.
Don't ask, don't scrum
Some of the difficulties ahead are underscored by recent events at the Air Force Academy itself, which critics say has a more conservative culture than the Naval Academy or West Point.
In 2008, a humanities professor was disciplined for inviting members of the Blue Alliance to a class to talk about "don't ask, don't tell" without her superiors' permission.
In the fall of the same year, the academy's military leadership threatened to disband the women's rugby team after complaints that it had become a "breeding ground of lesbianism," a member of the team at the time said.
"They basically said, 'We've heard these accusations, and . . . if there is any truth to it, then there is a possibility that the entire team would be disbanded,' " said one of the former team members, now a second lieutenant in the Air Force.
Though he had yet to accept the invitation, Udall said he was "disappointed" to learn the dinner had been canceled.
"Supporting our service members, no matter their sexual orientation, is and has always been a top priority," Udall said.
Mooneyham said the groups still hope to hold the dinner on the same date — and in conjunction with a Blue Alliance board meeting — but it will be in a venue off the Air Force Academy campus.
Michael Riley: 202-662-8907 or email@example.com
5. The Famuan, September 9, 2010
SGA Explosion turnout is a success
By Georgia Dawkins
The student government association hosted their annual SGA Explosion Tuesday evening in the Grand Ballroom. The event was set to begin at 7 p.m. Many students became restless while waiting for the event to begin. The doors were finally opened at 7:15, but some students were already making their way out.
“It’s not what I thought it was,” said Jessica Pierre, a freshman from West Palm Beach. On her way out of the ballroom, Pierre stopped to reevaluate her reason for coming.
“I was in SGA in high school and I want to continue in college,” Pierre said. “I want to help them change some things around campus because SGA is more serious at a university.”
The purpose of the annual explosion is to inform the entire student body about the role of SGA on campus as well as to provide students with opportunities to do their part.
Iman Sandifer, 40th Student Senate President, reminisced on last year’s turnout and concluded that this year’s event was more successful.
“This class seems more excited to help people and not just to hold positions,” said
Sandifer, who also chairs the Student Relations Committee that hosts the explosion. “[Last year], I felt like a lot people just came out to get food.”
Students who came out for the 2010 explosion showed up for more than just chicken wings, lemonade and a DJ. Students from all classes talked to SGA officials and studied the mission and purpose of the 16 departments, which include three sections: Diversity, Safety and Sustainability.
The purpose of the Department of Diversity is to integrate the traditional student body with the minorities who often go unnoticed. The department is planning events to raise awareness about the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community as well.
Department Chair, Hannah Brooks, said they already have a mentoring program in the works for LGBT students transitioning to FAMU from high school.
The Department of Safety has partnered with FAMU’s SAFE Team by providing them with two new golf carts and five radios. The SAFE Team, that had been dormant since 2007, now consists of five paid staff members and twenty-four volunteers. The SAFE Team operates from 8 p.m. to midnight.
The Department of Sustainability was inspired by Eco-Rattler, a green initiative launched on campus last year, which brought recycling bins to campus.
“I’m not sure what branch I want to go into,” said Deven Brown, a freshman from
Dallas, TX. “But as far as the student body and my freshmen class, I just want to help them in any way I can.”
For students looking to get involved in SGA there are three senior Senator positions open, 2 sophomore positions, and countless volunteer opportunities. You can find out more information at www.famu.edu/sga.
6. The Chronicle (Duke University), September 9, 2010
DCR loses annual funds, faces de-chartering
By Matthew Chase
In a meeting that lasted more than four hours, the Duke Student Government Senate defunded the Duke College Republicans and took the first step toward de-chartering the group on the basis that the club has demonstrated a “culture of discrimination.”
Securing exactly the two-thirds vote necessary for the de-chartering, the governing body’s decision will cut the organization off from annual funding for the academic year.
The decision to de-charter is not official yet. The Student Organization Finance Committee will have the final say on the group’s charter. De-chartering will only be official if a majority of SOFC members vote for the DCR to lose that designation.
SOFC’s decision could also eliminate DCR funding for the next two years. The group will likely meet in the next two or three weeks, said SOFC Chair Max Tabachnik, a senior.
Because the decision to de-charter is not final, many senators acknowledged that their actions were largely symbolic.
“De-chartering them down to a recognized group would add an element of justice to this, and up until this point there hasn’t been an element of justice to this group,” said senior Will Passo, a student affairs senator.
Despite its defunding, the College Republicans will still be able to host events and have access to the programming fund—which tripled in the Spring.
For senior Justin Robinette, a student affairs senator and former DCR chair who was impeached last Spring allegedly because he is gay, the decision is a move in the right direction. Robinette and senior Cliff Satell, former DCR vice chair, spoke out against the club—especially its executive board—throughout the night, even distributing 54-page packets containing evidence of harassment and discrimination.
“The people who lead this club have a history of witnessed and documented vandalism,” Satell said in the two-hour-long public forum. “We are not asking you tonight to punish any individual students—that is not within your purview.... In de-funding and de-chartering, you would be sending a message to this community, to the UNC community and [to] the state that this behavior is not what Duke represents.”
If SOFC moves to de-charter the group, the DCR could re-apply for charter status in Fall 2011, making it ineligible to apply for annual funding until Spring 2012.
The resolution included claims that the DCR violated SOFC rules—such as the responsibility to not be selective in membership—and the Duke Community Standard, non-discrimination and harassment policies and DSG rules.
Although the Senate’s actions were against the club as a whole—and not individual members—Robinette and Satell presented the Senate with e-mail evidence sent from DCR Chair Carter Boyle, a senior. The e-mails include a derogatory “homosexual image,” gay remarks and racist and anti-Semitic messages, all allegedly sent by Boyle. The packet also includes e-mail evidence of death threats mostly directed at Robinette and images of vandalism painted on the East Campus bridge during the summer.
Boyle was not present at the Wednesday meeting. DCR Chief of Staff Rachel Provost, a senior, and sophomore William Reach, a DCR executive board member, spoke at the beginning of the meeting, at times speaking against Boyle and other DCR members.
“Presuming that the e-mails are true, yes, the e-mails are very offensive,” Reach said. “The University and the College Republicans should take action over this. It is my personal opinion that [Boyle] should be impeached.”
Current DCR members denied many of the allegations presented before them, adding that only one DCR executive board member was in North Carolina when the East graffiti appeared.
“The reason we did not challenge these accusations is that they have been dealt with at every level of Duke and by the student government,” Reach said. “The e-mails do not pertain to the College Republicans in any capacity. They don’t represent the members of the DCR executive board as it stands now.”
Provost declined to comment after the meeting.
The Senate’s vote to eliminate DCR funding was close to unanimous, but the decision to support de-chartering the group was more contested.
DSG President Mike Lefevre, a senior, even mentioned some of the disadvantages of de-chartering the group.
“A chartered group cannot be selective and a recognized group can,” said Lefevre, who cannot vote in the Senate. “By de-chartering them down to a recognized group we are allowing them to do exactly what they did to get here.”
7. The Daily Tar Heel (UNC), September 10, 2010
Duke College Republicans lose charter, funding
By Tarini Parti
Clarification (Sept. 9, 1:12 p.m.) Duke University’s College Republicans have lost their funding from the student government. Although the senate also voted to de-charter the club, it still has to be approved by the Student Organizational Finance Committee.
After months of dodging complaints and defending their actions, Duke University’s College Republicans lost their charter and funding Wednesday night.
The university’s student senate de-charterd the club by a two-thirds vote and de-funded them by a 20-3 vote. If the university’s Student Organizational Finance Committee approves the senate’s decision by a majority vote, the ruling will stand for the next two years.
Senators were presented discriminatory e-mails and anonymous threatening messages received by former chairman of the club Justin Robinette and his supporters, who say they were harrassed by the members of the club.
The senate’s actions were a big victory for Robinette, who has claimed since April that he was impeached by the organization’s executive board for being gay.
Their actions come after Robinette and eight other plaintiffs were denied a hearing against the College Republicans by the student judiciary last month on allegations of harassment and discrimination. The judiciary had ruled that those allegations fell outside of their jurisdiction.
“I really do feel like it’s a victory for us and the Duke student body and whoever cares about harrassment,” Robinette said.
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