Monday, January 17, 2011

QNOC Digest 2010.09.19

Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.09.19

Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals.

Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at

Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to

1. Austin-American Statesman - St. Edward's bars gay-rights group from volunteer fair
2. The Chronicle of Higher Education - Gay Students and College Employees Face Significant Harassment, Report Says
3. University of Rochester - EVENT: University of Rochester's Pride Network Celebrates 40 Years
4. The Michigan Daily - Mich. attorney general chastises employee for blog targeting MSA president
5. The GW Hatchet - GW makes list of most desirable, diverse colleges
6. Student Life (Washington University in St. Louis) - Bonifield hired as LGBT liason
7. San Jose Mercury News/AP - Student's suit over gay marriage speech dismissed

1. Austin-American Statesman, September 13, 2010
P.O. Box 670, Austin, TX 78767
St. Edward's bars gay-rights group from volunteer fair
By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz

St. Edward's University has barred a gay rights group from participating in a campus fair to recruit volunteers because the group's support for same-sex marriage conflicts with Catholic Church teachings.

Chuck Smith, deputy director of Austin-based Equality Texas, said Monday that the organization still hoped it could participate in Wednesday's event. But a statement issued by the Holy Cross institution in South Austin said the matter was closed.

"By requesting participation in the volunteer fair, Equality Texas is asking the university's Office of Campus Ministry to facilitate recruitment of students for work that includes advocacy for same-sex marriage," the university said. "This is not something we can agree to."

The statement went on to say, however, that if people at St. Edward's decide "through a process of personal discernment" to work for Equality Texas or any other organization, "they are of course free to do so."

Catholic colleges sometimes struggle to meet students' needs while complying with church policy, said Anne Wynne, a lawyer in Austin who serves on the board of directors for Equality Texas and who formerly was a member of the St. Edward's board of trustees.

"St. Ed's has such a rich history and tradition of introducing students to diversity and inclusion and all of life's complexities in a safe setting," Wynne said. "They let the kids down in this instance."

Last month, St. Edward's declined to host a speech on higher education by President Barack Obama, explaining that the short notice and the impending start of classes made it logistically difficult for the small school. Some Catholics had criticized another Holy Cross institution, the University of Notre Dame, last year for hosting Obama, who supports abortion rights.

This is the first time Equality Texas has sought to participate in a recruiting fair at St. Edward's and the first time any campus has rejected the group, Smith said. Equality Texas has previously recruited at Texas State University and at various schools and departments at the University of Texas, he said.

Diaz said about 28 organizations are scheduled to participate in the volunteer fair, including the Girl Scouts of Central Texas, Meals on Wheels and More and the American Cancer Society.

In contrast with its view of Equality Texas, St. Edward's has given its blessing to a gay rights organization for students called Pride. The group, whose name was changed to Pride this summer from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Straight Alliance, "seeks to end discrimination and violence directed toward the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered community," according to the university's website.

"Pride is a support group and exists as a means of pastoral outreach," said Mischelle Diaz, a spokeswoman for St. Edward's. "This type of outreach and support is encouraged by the bishops in their pastoral letter called 'Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination.'\u2009"

Alex Barron, the faculty adviser to Pride, said, "We have to walk kind of a fine line where the administration wants to allow Pride to support our students, but they don't want it to take a position that goes against church teachings. We don't take any political positions in Pride."; 445-3604

2. The Chronicle of Higher Education, September 14, 2010
1255 Twenty-Third St, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
Gay Students and College Employees Face Significant Harassment, Report Says
By Sara Lipka

Whether they are students, staff members, professors, or administrators, people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender report significant harassment at their colleges and discomfort with the overall campus climates, according to a new national report.

The report, "The 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People," was based on a survey conducted by the Q Research Institute for Higher Education, which is run by the advocacy group Campus Pride in partnership with Iowa State and Pennsylvania State Universities. The survey drew on responses from 5,150 people—primarily those who described themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender but also heterosexual "allies"—in the spring of 2009 at about 100 institutions nationwide.

About a quarter of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer students and employees said they had experienced harassment, as did more than a third of transgender and "gender nonconforming" respondents, compared with 12 percent of heterosexuals.

Seventy percent of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer students and employees felt comfortable with the overall campus climate, the report says, a rate that was higher than that among transgender and gender-nonconforming respondents but lower than that of heterosexuals. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer students who were also members of racial minority groups felt less comfortable in their classes than did their white counterparts, and faculty members were more likely than were students and staff members to have considered leaving their institutions, the report says.

"Colleges and universities have the responsibility to create safe learning environments for everyone, regardless of sexual identity or gender identity," Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, said in a written statement. "Now is the time to act."

The report offers a series of recommendations for institutions to improve their campus climates, a step that it says will lead to better learning outcomes for students and professional development for employees. Among more than six dozen recommendations, the report says colleges should:

-Include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in institutional nondiscrimination statements.
-Extend health-insurance coverage to employees' same-sex partners.
-Establish a resource center with a full-time professional staff member for gender and sexuality education and support.
-Provide gender and sexuality training to athletic-department, public-safety, and residence-life staff members.
-Distribute a pamphlet to faculty members about inclusive language in the classroom.
-Offer a clear, visible procedure for reporting incidents of bias.
-Recruit and provide scholarships for prospective lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, and develop a peer-mentoring program for new students.
-Offer students who don't describe themselves as male or female the ability to self-identify on applications for admission and housing, as well as other forms, and allow students and employees to change their gender designation on records.
-Offer gender-neutral housing and restrooms, as well as a "matching program" for students to be placed with gay-friendly roommates.
-Create gender- and sexuality-related support groups in the counseling center.
-Develop an alumni group for graduates who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning.
-The complete report is available for purchase on Campus Pride's Web site. Next Tuesday the group will conduct two Webinars, and on Thursday its leaders will hold a policy briefing at the U.S. Capitol.

3. University of Rochester, September 15, 2010
500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd., Rochester, NY 14627
EVENT: University of Rochester's Pride Network Celebrates 40 Years
Contact: Melissa Greco Lopes

Alumni Weekend Events Look at History of LGBT Community on Campus

For 40 years, the Pride Network, a student organization at the University of Rochester, has provided a safe and welcoming environment for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) students on campus. During the University's annual alumni gathering, Meliora Weekend (Thursday, Oct. 14 through Sunday, Oct. 17), a series of events will celebrate the group's important milestones. Open to all alumni, the events will look at the history of the Pride Network and explore the future of diversity issues on campus.

The group, which was originally named the Gay Liberation Front, held its first meeting in 1970. Early activities included publishing the Empty Closet newspaper, hosting lectures about issues of concern to the LGBT community, and organizing social events for students and community members.

"I think for the founding members, we created the group so that future kids wouldn't feel like they were growing up in isolation," says RJ Alcalá, who was an undergraduate at the Eastman School of Music when the Gay Liberation Front was formed. "It was about making it easier for people on a personal level; the group gave us permission to explore and express ourselves, and not face the future with fear. We felt and became empowered to combat stereotypes and misinformation about being gay."

Open to both students and community members, the large group eventually branched out to create the Gay Alliance of Genesee Valley, while the student organization continued on campus.
Through its history, the University of Rochester's chapter and name have evolved, and in 2002 it was renamed the Pride Network. Today, the group continues to provide support through education, activism, and the sponsorship of events and social activities for LGBT students and their straight allies.

"The group was instrumental in starting the gay liberation movement in Rochester by providing a place for students and community members to go if they had questions," says Cristin Monahan '11, a current member of the Pride Network. "We hope to continue to provide all students at Rochester a safe space to discuss the many issues they may face."

Alumni can register for any of the events by visiting the Meliora Weekend Web site at

The planned events include:

The Neurobiology of Sexual Orientation – The Gay Brain Lecture
Thursday, Oct. 14 from 5 to 7 p.m.
Dr. Jerome Goldstein '63 is a recognized medical neurologist with a specialization in neurobiology and an advocate for gay rights. Goldstein will speak on the neurobiological basis for sexual orientation, drawing upon research that has given credibility to a widely held conclusion that most sexual orientation is in place at or shortly after birth. A reception will immediately follow the lecture.

The Neurobiology of Sexual Orientation – The Gay Brain Lecture II
Friday, Oct. 15 at noon in Room 3-7619 at the University of Rochester Medical Center
Dr. Jerome Goldstein '63 will discuss the neurobiological basis for sexual orientation during a program designed for those with a background in medicine and science. This event is presented by SPECTRUM and the Student Interest Group in Neurology.

Feature Film: "You Should Meet My Son!"
Friday, Oct. 15 at 9:15 p.m. in Hubbell Auditorium in Hutchison Hall
The 18th annual ImageOut Festival, Rochester's Lesbian and Gay film and video festival will screen "You Should Meet My Son!" on the River Campus, highlighting the strong ties the Pride Network has with the Rochester community. Tickets for the film will be available at the door.

Pride Network 40th Anniversary After Hours
Friday, Oct. 15 from 9 p.m. to midnight at the Bridge Lounge of Wilson Commons
Join Pride alumni and their friends and allies for relaxing conversations and reminiscing while enjoying a cash bar and complimentary appetizers.

Pride Network 40th Anniversary Luncheon and Panel
Saturday, Oct. 16 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Ballroom at The Meliora
Join a panel of Pride alumni who will discuss the group's past, present, and future.

College Diversity Roundtable: Conversations about Diversity at the College
Saturday, Oct. 16 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in Room 318 & 418 of Gleason Hall
A panel of undergraduate student scholars and campus leaders will discuss campus diversity and inclusion as it relates to their campus experiences, activities, leadership, research, and community service. A reception will immediately follow the presentation.

Contact: Melissa Greco Lopes

4. The Michigan Daily, September 16, 2010
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Mich. attorney general chastises employee for blog targeting MSA president
By Jillian Berman

Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox scolded one of his employees, Andrew Shirvell, for his outspoken criticism of Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong last night, according to an article published by The Detroit Free Press.

The Michigan Daily first published an article about Shirvell's derisive criticisms of Armstrong on Monday.

Shirvell, who’s rants on his “Chris Armstrong Watch” blog slam Armstrong for his “radical homosexual agenda,” has also been showing up at events on campus criticizing the MSA president. Shirvell spoke during the community concerns portion of last week’s MSA meeting, calling for Armstrong’s resignation and he repeatedly talked over Armstrong and accused him of being a racist at a protest urging tolerance in May.

“All state employees have a right to free speech outside working hours,” Cox said in a statement yesterday, according to the Free Press. “But Mr. Shirvell’s immaturity and lack of judgment outside the office are clear.”

A spokesman for Cox, John Sellek confirmed to the Free Press yesterday that Shirvell is a civil service employee in Cox’s office, but wouldn’t comment further on the matter. Cox officials also confirmed to The Michigan Daily last week that Shirvell works in Cox’s office.

Shirvell graduated from the University in 2002 and was active in the pro-life community while a student.

In an e-mail interview with The Daily last month, Shirvell said he decided to start speaking out against Armstrong because of Shirvell's “pro-life, pro-family” philosophies.

“Armstrong’s agenda is immoral, in my opinion,” Shirvell wrote in the e-mail interview.

One post on the blog includes a photo of Armstrong with a rainbow flag, a swasticka and the word “resign” drawn in. The post also criticizes Armstrong’s push for gender-neutral housing as a ploy to force heterosexual students of different genders to room together. In addition, Shirvell discusses exchanges on Facebook between Armstrong and his friends, Armstrong’s upbringing and refers to him as a “privileged pervert” on the blog.

At last week’s MSA meeting, Shirvell accused Armstrong of lying to students about his intention to join the senior society Order of Angell.

“Even the first gay MSA president is corrupted by his power,” Shirvell said at last week’s MSA meeting.

The society, once known as Michigauma, has been criticized by some for allegedly using Native American rituals and artifacts in its meetings in the past. In an effort to distance itself from its controversial past, the society changed its name in 2007 and began publishing a list of its members and making its records available to the public — though the society’s activities still remain largely secret.

In an interview last month, Armstrong declined to comment on Shirvell. He also declined to comment following Shirvell’s comments at last week’s MSA meeting.

"I have always been open and honest about who I am in my life, and I can only do the same in my role as MSA president," Armstrong wrote in an e-mail to the Daily last month.

— Daily News Editor Devon Thorsby and Daily Staff Reporter Elyana Twiggs contributed to this report.

5. The GW Hatchet, September 16, 2010
2140 G Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
GW makes list of most desirable, diverse colleges
By Emily Cahn

GW made two of Newsweek magazine's lists of the top colleges in the country Wednesday, taking the No. 14 spot on the list of both the most desirable large colleges in the country, and the most diverse colleges in the country.

"Newsweek… ranks GW the 14th most diverse school in the nation, with a student body that is ten percent Asian, seven percent African-American, seven percent Hispanic and five percent from outside the United States. Fifty-six percent of George Washington students are women," according to Newsweek's website.

The University of Pennsylvania took the No. 1 spot on the most diverse colleges list, and Harvard University ranks No. 1 on the most desirable large college list.

Three other D.C. colleges made at least one of the Newsweek ranking lists.

The University of Maryland took the No. 15 spot behind GW on the most desirable large colleges list. American University was named the No. 6 gay-friendly school in the country. Georgetown University took the No. 24 spot on the gay-friendly list, despite multiple instances of bias-related crimes against gay and lesbian students reported at the school last year. Georgetown was also named the No. 23 most diverse school in the country.

Newsweek used "dozens of sources to compile these rankings including information from the National Center for Education Statistics, The Washington Monthly, and College Prowler," according to Newsweek's website.

6. Student Life (Washington University in St. Louis), September 17, 2010
1 Brookings Drive #1039, Saint Louis, MO 63130
Bonifield hired as LGBT liason
By Sally Wang

Saida Bonifield was named the new coordinator for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender student involvement and leadership at Washington University this summer.
Bonifield was the LGBT coordinator at the University of Kansas while she was in graduate school and wanted to continue in the field.

“We are excited to have Saida Bonifield join us to continue the momentum that the first coordinator has done since 2007,” said Julia Macias, assistant director of campus life. “Under Saida, we hope to continue to help [present] Wash. U. as a welcoming experience for all students.”

According to Macias, who was spearheading the hiring process, a new coordinator was actually hired in November 2009 and scheduled to fill the post in January 2010. But because of family reasons, the new coordinator ultimately passed on the job. The University reopened the search process in January 2010 and Washington University was without an official LGBT coordinator for much of the 2009-2010 school year.

Michael Brown, the previous coordinator, left after September 2009, Macias said. “During the [interim], we had the help of two graduate students to continue the work of the coordinator position,” Macias said. “The LGBT advisory board, which is made up of faculty and staff, was also very helpful during that time.”

Finally, in the summer of 2010, the University hired Michael Brown’s successor, Bonifield.

“I wanted to continue my work as an advocate, but in a different context,

Bonifield said. “Working with college students specifically on issues related to sexuality and gender seemed to be a logical next step for me [after graduation].”

In 2006, Chancellor Mark Wrighton appointed a task force to investigate the possible help and resources that could be allocated to the LGBT community on campus. The position of coordinator for LGBT student involvement and leadership came about as the task force determined that more visible support was needed for the LGBT community on campus. The position was created in May 2007 via a Student Union resolution.

With the new coordinator in place, LGBT is expected to continue pursuing its mission of creating programs and resources to support the recruitment and retention of a diverse student body with particular attention paid to the needs and concerns of the LGBT community.

“My predecessor, Michael Brown, laid the framework for the LGBT student involvement and leadership position,” Bonifield said. “I hope to continue his efforts and work with students and the LGBT advisory board to pursue new LGBT-related initiatives.”

Bonifield indicated that first and foremost, she hopes that students will continue to see the LGBT coordinator as a resource for them.

She plans to work on a graduate and undergraduate mentorship program, a special graduation ceremony, an initiative for alumni engagement and the annual Holobaugh Honors. She will also be acting as the advisor for various campus groups such as Pride Alliance, Safe Zones, Open and the Alternative Lifestyle Association.

“I think it’s important to make sure that students are involved in all levels of the decision-making process,” Bonifield said. “I look forward to responding to current issues and continue to improve the current structure of the position.”

So far, Bonifield has been working closely with student groups.

“We have contact with her on a weekly basis and [Saida] is extremely helpful with the planning of events to reach a larger audience,” said junior Adrienne Sands, the co-president of Pride Alliance. “She is very involved in helping us with the reorganization of our constitution. She is also very active in bringing the different LGBT student groups together.”

Bonifield received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas in Spanish literature in 2005. She spent three semesters abroad during college, including one year in Costa Rica and a semester in Spain.

When she was not studying abroad, she volunteered at the local domestic violence shelter and helped to organize various related campus events like Take Back the Night, Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Upon graduation, Bonifield lived in San Francisco for a year working in the non-profit field before returning to Kansas to work full time as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. She continued this work before deciding to make a career change and pursue a master’s degree in higher education administration.

7. San Jose Mercury News/AP, September 17, 2010
750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95190
Student's suit over gay marriage speech dismissed
By The Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO—A federal appeals court has tossed out the lawsuit of a California community college student who claimed that a teacher illegally berated him in class for making a speech opposing same-sex marriage.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday unanimously overturned a lower court decision allowing Los Angeles City College student Jonathan Lopez' case to go forward.
A three-judge panel says Lopez failed to show he was harmed by the incident days after California voters in November 2008 enacted Proposition 8 a ban on gay marriages.
Lopez alleged that speech instructor John Matteson cut him off midway through his oration when he quoted a dictionary definition of marriage and recited a pair of Bible verses. He said Matteson also called him a "fascist bastard."

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 regarding fair use of copyrighted work, this material is distributed without profit for information, research, and educational purposes. The Consortium has no affiliation whatsoever with the originators of these articles nor is the Consortium endorsed or sponsored by the originators.

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