Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.10.24
Brought to you by the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals. http://www.lgbtcampus.org
Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at http://queernewsoncampus.blogspot.com
Reminder: If you come across articles that should be included in the digest, please email a link to the article to email@example.com
1. The Tufts Daily - Tufts celebrates Coming Out Day amid the somber backdrop of recent deaths
2. The Tufts Daily - Bacow: Support LGBT community
3. The Tufts Daily - Annual Coming Out Day rally draws large crowd
4. The Brown Daily Herald - BUCC discusses gay rights, homophobia on campus
5. Inside Higher Ed - Quick Takes: Antioch Los Angeles President Tells Gay Youth 'It Gets Better'
6. Indiana Statesman - Homosexual abuse fought with fashion
7. The Oregonian - Gay activist Dan Savage to visit Pacific University
8. San Jacinto Times - San Jac's Gay-Straight Alliance
9. Times Daily - Gay bullying in the spotlight after recent string of suicides
10. The Citizens Voice - University of Scranton students hold vigil to raise awareness for gay rights
11. WDIV Detroit - Oakland University Student Commits Suicide: Family Says Student Was Bullied For Being Gay
12. Journal Sentinel - 'Legalize Gay' message spreads after UW-Whitewater assault
13. 9News - Students stand up to anti-gay bullying
14. WSVN - Local college holds anti-bullying rally
15. The Pacer (University of Tennessee at Martin) - Openly gay UTM students provide perspective, hope for future
16. The Record - Rally calls attention to safety of gays on Rutgers campus
17. Messenger Post - Students, community pay tribute to gay suicides
18. Daily Illini - LGBT center holds candlelight vigil to honor victims, support students
19. The Michigan Daily - UMEC event takes hard look at campus diversity
20. NPR - After Suicide, Pressure Grows For Rutgers Officials
21. The Miami Herald - Events at NSU campus show support for gay community
22. Gazette Times - University acceptance
23. The Ticker (Baruch College) - Students rally against LGBT intolerance
24. The Eastern Echo (Eastern Michigan University) - EMU org SAGA aims to defeat homophobia in sports
1. The Tufts Daily, October 11, 2010
Curtis Hall, Tufts University, 474 Boston Ave., Medford, MA, 02155
Tufts celebrates Coming Out Day amid the somber backdrop of recent deaths
By Danna Solomon
Across the country this week, one thing occupies the minds of activists, proud queer students and allies: coming out. Today is National Coming Out Day (NCOD), and events planned for the week aim to give people an opportunity to come out, whether as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or allied.
On the Tufts campus, though, individuals are invited to come out a couple days later than the rest of the country. While campus events relating to the celebration will begin today, Tufts will officially observe the event on Wednesday to ensure maximum participation.
It is important to include everyone who wants to take part in NCOD, and although classes are in session, a lot of staff and faculty may not be on campus because today is also Columbus Day and a university holiday, according to senior Simon Katz, co−president of the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA).
"We want to involve the staff as much as possible, so we pushed it to a day when they would actually be there and be able to participate," he said.
Katz said that many staff and faculty members who identify as queer or allied have been extremely supportive of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and make significant contributions to Coming Out Day events at Tufts.
Some staff members are particularly crucial to the campus events, he said, since they work in the LGBT Center. The center not only sponsors the Coming Out Day rally at the Mayer Campus Center, but also oversees all of Tufts' LGBT interest groups, including the QSA, Team Q, Queer Peers, Bisexual Students Group, Men's Group, Women's Group and Queer Students of Color and Allies.
Since its inception, NCOD has taken place every October across the nation, but it was established fairly recently in 1988, when Jean O'Leary, a former nun turned lesbian activist, and psychologist Rob Eichberg, author of "Coming Out: an Act of Love" (1990) decided to rally a group of activists and dedicate a day to the celebration of coming out. The day they chose was the anniversary of the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which occurred exactly one year before on Oct. 11, 1987.
At Tufts, Coming Out Day is accompanied by a certain set of celebratory traditions — and new ones are being added each year. Historically, the day has been honored with a rally that packs the campus center patio, during which students and faculty share stories about overcoming anti−gay mentalities they have encountered.
Katz explained that the rally, which will take place this year during open block on Wednesday, intends to encourage members of the community to be public about who they really are — and possibly have the opportunity to find others who are like them.
"It is an event that is really about showing everyone in the community that there are people going through similar experiences that they are going through," he said.
Tom Bourdon, director of the LGBT Center, expects this year's rally to draw an unprecedented crowd.
"I suspect that this year's NCOD will be the biggest we've seen at Tufts," he said.
This year's rally might take on a more somber tone, though, as Tufts commemorates the recent cases of teen suicides resulting from anti−gay bullying, senior Kara Takasaki suggested. Still, raising awareness of such tragedies is an important part of Coming Out week, she said.
"We wanted the Tufts student body to have the opportunity to show that what happened, whether it was harassment, abuse, invasion of privacy or physical violence on other campuses which drove students to suicide is neither acceptable nor tolerable in our community," she said. "At the same time we wanted to foster a sense of solidarity, pride and support for difference on our campus."
The events planned for the upcoming week do just that. The LGBT Center last year published an "Out List," a register of names of faculty and students at Tufts who openly identify as queer or allied and are willing to serve as resources for struggling LGBT students. This year, a second, updated list will be published.
Additionally, the LGBT Center will host a free rapid HIV testing session on Wednesday, and Julia Weldon, a queer musician, will perform at Brown & Brew that night.
According to Katz, Weldon, who will also attend Wednesday's rally, writes her own songs, many of which feature LGBT themes.
"A small, intimate celebration like this has never been done before as a part of NCOD, but we wanted to [do] something a little more different and exciting to bring people in," he said.
Another new initiative this year, funded by the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service, will give students — gay or straight — an opportunity to broadcast their support to everyone who passes by their homes. At the second of two open forums that took place in the LGBT Center to discuss a campus−wide response to the recent teen suicides, junior Elliott McCarthy suggested hanging rainbow flags in the windows of Tufts' houses and fraternities.
Under Bourdon and Tisch College Senior Program Manager Mindy Nierenberg's leadership, the idea blossomed, and the initiative was approved by Yolanda King, director of the Office of Residential Life and Learning, who was impressed with the level of support she has witnessed.
"Everyone involved, including students, faculty, staff and the administration, has been greatly moved and motivated by each other during this process," she said. "Everyone's committed to fostering a safe and supportive environment at Tufts. The outpouring of positive response and excitement about the flags from the community has been inspiring for all of us involved."
Free rainbow flags will be available starting today for students to pick up from the LGBT Center and display in their windows. They will also be distributed at Wednesday's rally. According to Bourdon, the flag initiative marks the Tufts allied community's desire to act.
"Not only is the queer community activated, but so are large numbers of allies," he said. "People I have never met before have been approaching me and asking, ‘What can I do?' This year, you will see hundreds of rainbow flags all over campus."
In the wake of the many deaths that have occurred in the LGBT community nationwide, Tufts has intensified its commitment to creating a tolerant community in which people can feel safe and accepted, regardless of their sexual orientation.
These types of initiatives serve as models for eliminating the enduring expressions of hatred that exist in the fabric of society, sophomore Bruce Wang, an LGBT Center intern, said. Wang, who is involved with Team Q, a group that runs discussions and workshops on LGBT issues, explained that many people still overlook how difficult it is for people to come out about their sexuality — and just how important coming out is.
"Although it might sound clinical, coming out is important because it increases visibility for gay and lesbian people," he said. "People are more sympathetic when someone they know is gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. It makes it easier for gay, lesbian, bi and trans people to win their legal rights, along with the dignity and respect they deserve."
2. The Tufts Daily, October 11, 2010
Curtis Hall, Tufts University, 474 Boston Ave., Medford, MA, 02155
Bacow: Support LGBT community
by Ben Gittleson
University President Lawrence Bacow this afternoon called on the Tufts community to attend the university’s celebration of National Coming Out Day on Wednesday.
In an e-mail to the community, he said that he and his wife Adele hung a gay-pride flag from their house last night to show solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community at Tufts and to support Coming Out Day.
A rally to mark Coming Out Day — observed nationally today — will take place at noon on Wednesday on the lower patio of the Mayer Campus Center. The rally is part of an array of events and initiatives held after a number of recent deaths across the country have called attention to anti-gay and cyber bullying.
Read the full text of Bacow’s email after the jump.
Last night, Adele and I hung a rainbow flag from a second-story window at our home, Gifford House. We did so to show support for the LGBT community at Tufts and to call attention to National Coming Out Day, which will be celebrated on the Medford/Somerville campus this Wednesday, October 13, with a rally on the lower patio of the Campus Center during the open block, starting at noon. In the past few weeks, the news has been filled with reports of gay bashing, cyber bullying, tragic teen suicides, and anti-gay remarks by public figures that reflect more on their own character than they do on those they are targeting. In light of these recent events, I think it more important than ever for the Tufts community to come together to show support for our fellow students, faculty and staff who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. We are one community and we must stand as one community. If you cannot attend the rally, please stop by the LGBT Center to pick up a rainbow flag or button and proudly display or wear it throughout this week. At Tufts, we need to model the behavior we would hope to see in the rest of the world, and that is of a community that is supportive and welcoming to all.
3. The Tufts Daily, October 14, 2010
Curtis Hall, Tufts University, 474 Boston Ave., Medford, MA, 02155
Annual Coming Out Day rally draws large crowd
By Matt Repka and Corinne Segal
Students, faculty, staff and area residents gathered yesterday at the Mayer Campus Center for a rally marking Tufts' observance of National Coming Out Day, sharing stories before what speakers called a historic turnout.
The celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) identity on campus this year came in the wake of a recent string of LGBT teen suicides nationwide. The event, hosted by the Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) in conjunction with the LGBT Center, featured speakers and a musical performance.
National Coming Out Day took place on Monday, but organizers scheduled the Tufts rally for Wednesday to avoid a conflict with the Columbus Day university holiday, according to QSA Co−president Simon Katz.
"We pushed it forward to make sure that everyone on campus, including faculty and staff, would be involved," Katz, a senior, said.
Rally organizers praised the high turnout for the event.
"I am so excited. It was the best show of support I've ever seen here at Tufts toward the LGBT community," LGBT Center Director Tom Bourdon said after the rally, which took place at noon on the campus center's lower patio. "I hope this is a sign of the direction the school is taking toward showing compassion and support toward all marginalized communities."
"There has never been a turnout like this" for National Coming Out Day, Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman told attendees.
Addressing the crowd, Adele Fleet Bacow said she and her husband, University President Lawrence Bacow, had received feedback about the rainbow banner now on display at Gifford House.
"Not all of those … reactions were positive, and that's very sad," Fleet Bacow said. "But I think being here today, on this bright sunny day, surrounded by all of you … says so much about what we are and what the future holds.
"There's a lot of work to be done, but there's a lot to be appreciative of as well," Bacow added.
State Rep. Carl Sciortino (LA '00), one of the few openly gay members of the state legislature, told the story of his positive undergraduate experience at Tufts.
"What I saw here on campus, and the courage that I see here today is heartwarming," Sciortino (D−Medford/Somerville) said.
Speaking at the rally, Bourdon asked attendees to observe a moment of silence for the victims of anti−LGBT bullying that committed suicide in the past month.
"I have never felt an energy like this on a National Coming Out Day before," Bourdon said. "I feel so lucky to work at a school like Tufts, where we have so many vibrant LGBT community members and allies."
Bourdon called on rally attendees to erase the use of homophobic language on campus, to foster openness with peers and family members, and to participate in events through the LGBT Center.
Faculty members, including Philosophy Department Chair Nancy Bauer and Assistant Professor of Music Stephan Pennington, also shared stories.
Other speakers at the rally affirmed their support for the campus LGBT community. University Chaplain David O'Leary and Rabbi Jeffrey Summit, Tufts Hillel's executive director, both spoke at the rally.
"If it doesn't bring more love into the world, it probably isn't religion," Summit told the crowd. "More people have to understand that this is not about tolerance. This is about embracing people's differences."
Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) Sgt. Christopher McGee spoke on behalf of TUPD. McGee encouraged students to report incidents and crimes without fear of discrimination or bias.
"We depend on the LGBT community here. You are one of the best communities at this place," Reitman said to attendees.
"Somebody said, ‘What would it be like if everybody were straight on this campus?' Well, the answer is, it would be boring," Reitman said, drawing cheers.
Reitman added that the university plans to examine the growing issue of cyber−bullying highlighted by the recent spate of highly publicized LGBT teen suicides.
Rally organizers opened up the microphone midway through the event, encouraging attendees to share their stories with the crowd. Students shared their own experiences with coming out, either as LGBT or as an ally. Students also addressed themes like confronting parents and experiencing homophobia.
Between speakers, musician Julia Weldon performed for the crowd. Weldon performed again later that evening at Brown and Brew as part of the continued Coming Out Day celebration.
Bourdon said current events played a role in increasing students' awareness of the issues. "I think people are starting to realize that this isn't just something that's out there — it impacts the lives of people on our campus every day," Bourdon said, referring to LGBT issues in light of the recent suicides. "If we're not all there to help create a safe environment, we're all at risk of experiencing the direct negative consequences on our own campus."
4. The Brown Daily Herald, October 13, 2010
P.O. Box 2538, Providence, RI 02906
BUCC discusses gay rights, homophobia on campus
Following the suicide of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi and amid increased national media attention concerning homophobia and the issue of gay rights, the Brown University Community Council addressed the dangers of anti-gay sentiments on campus and the means through which the University could eliminate and react towards such currents of thought.
The council met Tuesday evening at Brown/RISD Hillel to discuss the increased visibility and availability of LGBTQ community resources and upcoming events, as well as ongoing University initiatives for Pakistan relief effort.
"This is one of those moments that a lot of things seem to be coming together in some pretty terrible ways," said Gail Cohee, director of the Sarah Doyle Women's Center, saying that gay rights and homophobia are issues that permeate all of society. "At Brown, we have to wonder how many students come here having already been harassed and bullied," she said, opening the floor for discussion of the available resources the University offers.
"We are pretty lucky at Brown — we have great support and resources," said Kelly Garrett, coordinator of the LGBTQ Resource Center. Garrett outlined various events that the center will be undertaking for National Coming Out Week, which started Monday. Such events include the Out for Lunch Program with keynote speaker Charles Glickman and a Oct. 20 event addressing bullying.
Garrett also spoke of the increased effort to create on-campus "safe zones," through which community members can increase tolerance and open discourse concerning gay issues, as well as make evident allies within the community.
"There are lots of resources here, but sometimes that isolated student may not know what those resources are," Garrett said. Just as "there are allies here, there are lots of allies, but students don't always know who they are," she said.
The center hopes to change this with a visibility campaign intended to make resources more readily accessible — not just for undergraduates, but for graduate and medical students, she said.
"There is a feeling that Brown is mostly pro-gay, but there are some anti-gay sentiments still around," said Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services. The council expressed concern over numerous accounts of the expression of such sentiment on campus in recent months, including the vandalism of white boards and doors on the fourth floor of Keeney Quadrangle with homophobic slurs. The council also addressed the speed with which University administration takes action against these incidents and the individuals responsible for them.
"There is nothing more intimidating than a faceless threat," President Ruth Simmons said, who emphasized it is the responsibility of the University to act, particularly in instances where there are threats to student safety. "There is nothing more serious in an academic environment than having students be afraid," Simmons said.
The Council also heard an update on Pakistan relief efforts. Speaking on behalf of the Pakistan relief efforts group, Farrukh Malik '11 and Areebah Ajani '11 underlined future events the group hopes to hold. Following the success of the Sept. 24 Brown/RISD teach-in, which considered the sociopolitical implications of the flood on Pakistan, and a video campaign that raised approximately $2500 for the cause, the group is now turning toward creating an art installation to be displayed on the Main Green in mid-November, they said.
Additional events may include an open mic event, allowing "different community members to come out and perform their reactions to the flood," Malik said. The group may also attempt to bring in more guest speakers to increase and contribute to University discourse on Pakistan. "All efforts are aimed at promoting an understanding of what is going on in Pakistan," Ajani said.
5. Inside Higher Ed, October 18, 2010
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Quick Takes: Antioch Los Angeles President Tells Gay Youth 'It Gets Better'
The "It Gets Better" campaign, a response to a recent string of suicides of gay youth, features gay people making videos about how life for gay people improves as they get older. The latest such video is from Neal King, president of Antioch University Los Angeles and one of the small number of gay college presidents. He notes in the video that he was raised in an era when children were taught that gay people were "sick, sinners and criminal." His message for gay youth is that "bullies are losers," that there are many people "who care about you," and that "it gets better." He closes by saying: "You are wonderful. You are complete, just the way you are."
The "It Gets Better" campaign videos are on YouTube, including this new one by King:
Click link for video.
6. Indiana Statesman, October 17, 2010
Hulman Memorial Student Union 420, 550 Chestnut St., Terre Haute, IN 47809
Homosexual abuse fought with fashion
By Richard Rainwater
The traditional blue and white seen around ISU will be traded in for purple Wednesday, as students, faculty and staff hold a rally against bullying aimed at homosexual students.
The rally was sparked by events off campus as, according to CNN, Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University, took his own life after a sexual encounter with another man was streamed live on the internet, allegedly by his roommate.
Clementi was so distraught that, later, that night he jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
According to the Palm Beach Post, Clementi was not alone, as four homosexual high school students nation-wide have also taken their own lives since July. Among those was a fifteen-year-old student in Greensburg, Indiana who was found dead in his parents' barn after complaining of bullying at his local high school.
These tragedies across the nation have sparked rallies and legislation to deal with bullying, especially bullying targeting homosexual students.
Langston Anthony, a freshman psychology major, is a homosexual student on the ISU campus who understands the feeling that the students have had to deal with.
"It's a shame that they felt so alone," said Anthony. "However, it's understandable because the community surrounding gay and lesbian students is so closed minded that it doesn't help them fit in."
According to Indiana Equality, a watchdog group that monitors hate crimes in the United States, the Terre Haute community has not been immune to action against minority groups.
In 2008, there were graffiti and obscenities painted on an interracial couple's property, an African-American church and an Asian restaurant.
Students across campus could not believe what had happened because of bullying. Wade Creasey, a freshman mathematics education major, was one of those students.
"I know two gay students here at ISU," said Creasey. "The only example of discrimination that we have seen has beenthe preachers that come with signs on campus. I haven't seen any signs or name calling."
Creasey also said that he was surprised at the extent of some of the abuse that occurred.
"I can't believe that someone would do that to their own roommate," he said. "I wish that people facing discrimination, either here or somewhere else, would get help rather than take their own life."
According to an advertisement in the Commons, there will also be a candlelight vigil held at 6:30 p.m. at Dede Plaza.
The vigil will be held to "remember those that are victims of bullying."
Prayers and memorials for those who have taken their lives over bullying will also take place.
There are those, however, that would propose a more subtle approach.
Lesley Hensley, a freshman science education major, is a homosexual student.
"It's a good thing that they want to bring awareness to it, but I'm not sure you need to wear a color to symbolize a certain orientation," said Hensley. "I'm not sure if I will wear purple because, right now, the big issue is ‘we don't want people to do this stuff to us.' Then why bring attention to ourselves? I think it's a great thing, don't get me wrong, but I think they can do it in a more subtle approach."
While the methods being used may not be universally popular, the idea of ISU students facing bullying and discrimination together resonates with Hensley.
"However, I think that it is very important for us to come together as a school and make people aware and take steps and approaches to keep people from coming to the point where they feel like they must kill themselves," she added.
There is also help available for ISU students that feel despondent.
Students that feel a need to seek help can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
"No one's sexual preference should be worth the life of a human being," said Creasey.
7. The Oregonian, October 18, 2010
1320 SW Broadway, Portland, OR 97201
Gay activist Dan Savage to visit Pacific University
By Kelly House
Gay activist and author Dan Savage will visit Pacific University on Nov. 4 to deliver his "Savage Love Live" presentation.
Savage, author of the nationally syndicated Savage Love advice column, has attracted attention in recent weeks for his It Gets Better Project, which features video messages from gay individuals, discouraging lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth from attempting suicide.
Savage began the project in September, in response to the suicide of Indiana 15-year-old Billy Lucas, who was harassed for being gay. The project quickly gained national attention, following Rutgers University student Tyler Clemente's suicide. Clemente jumped from a bridge after two schoolmates secretly taped and streamed online a video of his sexual encounter with a man in his dorm room.
Savage's presentation, sponsored by the university's Center for Gender Equity and
the College of Arts & Sciences Student Senate, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Taylor-Meade Performing Arts Center on campus.
Admission is free for Pacific University students who acquire an advance ticket at the box office inside the performing arts center, Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m.
Tickets for students at other schools are $7, and non-student admission is $12. Those tickets must be purchased at the doors on the night of the show.
The university has billed the presentation as "a hilarious and provocative presentation driven by audience questions about sex, relationships, gay rights, politics, and other hot topics."
Savage will hold a book signing in the Taylor-Meade lobby following the presentation.
8. San Jacinto Times, October 18, 2010
San Jac's Gay-Straight Alliance
By Mario Mendoza
The organization Gay-Straight Alliance, here at the Central Campus, is a group for like-minded, open-minded individuals to not push an agenda they've created, but to promote education and awareness to the general population regardless of gender, sexual orientation or any political or religious affiliations.
On October 8 the GSA sponsored an event called the Safe Sex Seminar, which was directed to all of the population here on campus as an educational tool. Also, the organization will cosponsor with Student Life, free HIV testing October 22, from 11:00-3:00 in the student life ballroom on the second floor. The event is about "knowing your status", Nathan White said, events coordinator for GSA. Rapid results will be delivered on site in about 20 minutes. The event should in no way be stigmatized, whereas the purpose of the event is to promote tolerance and for many individuals who can and are at risk to know their status. Tattoos, piercings, blood transfusions, are reasons for this type of event, and to promote self-awareness.
A topic GSA is focusing on presently, is a discrimination clause that fails to specify gender identity or sexual orientation in San Jacinto's handbook. Other campuses in the Houston area such as UHCL, Rice, and College of the Mainland have moved to update this clause in order to meet with these specifications. GSA is trying to bring awareness to the issue and striving to get the clause ratified. The clause addresses sexual discrimination and protects against it, but it does not specifically protect based on sexual orientation or gender identity. There are federal and local laws that protect individuals. San Jacinto does not oppose such ratification, but has yet to update said clause.
Anyone interested in any future activities is welcomed to attend, "to see what (the meetings) are all about, and if you don't agree that's fine", says White.
Tuesdays, 2:30-3:30, CADM 204, is the where and when GSA's scheduled meetings are held. To find out more about the social activities that they have planned on campus and off campus, the club can be found and contacted through Facebook: SAN JAC GSA, or by visiting with them in their weekly meetings.
9. Times Daily, October 18, 2010
219 W. Tennessee St., Florence, AL,35630
Gay bullying in the spotlight after recent string of suicides
By Lisa Singleton-Rickman
Scott Dyar knew he was gay at the age of 13 and took a chance on telling a friend, but her reaction prompted him to stay quiet until seven years ago when he 20.
Now, an outspoken advocate for gay rights, the University of North Alabama senior and president of UNA's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender organization said full attention must turn to the bullying-induced suicide by young gays.
Gay bullying has come into the national spotlight the past four years with cases of suicides from Ohio to Florida involving students as young as middle school age.
The most recent was the suicide death of a promising violinist at Rutgers University, Tyler Clementi, 18, who jumped from the George Washington Bridge after intimate images of him were broadcast over the Internet.
His roommate, Dharun Ravi, planted a webcam in their dorm room and captured live-stream images of Clementi on Sept. 22. Another student, freshman Molly Wei, participated in the cyber voyeurism.
Ravi and Wei are facing charges that could result in prison time if convicted.
Dyar said while he doesn't believe the two students could have known how Clementi would react, tougher laws should be in place to severely punish those who recklessly “commit such crimes against other human beings.”
“It seems obvious to me that parents, teachers, someone failed these two students in teaching discriminatory behavior,” Dyar said. “It's a hate crime, plain and simple. It's inexcusable that someone would cause another individual to lose his will to live. It's an atrocity.
“I remember as an elementary school kid back in 1988 being taught at school not to discriminate against race. That needs to be expanded upon to include other groups. It starts that early.”
Dyar's group of 110 members hopes to be part of the solution in helping bring about greater sensitivity for non-heterosexual students.
He said he hasn't had to deal with bullying, other than an occasional derogatory remark in high school.
“I didn't have any more problems in high school with bullying than anyone else,” he said.
As for life in college, Dyar said he believes it is impossible for UNA or any university to institute a blanket policy regarding gay bullying. It's far too diverse, he said, and while it would be great if it could happen, there would always be someone, as in the Rutgers case, taking it to the next level.
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, plans to introduce anti-bullying legislation to protect vulnerable people, such as gay youth. The proposed legislation would require schools and universities receiving federal money to adhere to a code of conduct prohibiting harassment and bullying and establish clear procedures to respond to allegations of such behavior. Such policies are not required by federal law. The bill also would provide funding for schools to establish programs to deter harassment of students.
“If you can't be safe on a college campus, it's an outrageous, outrageous condition,” Lautenberg said during a forum last week on the Rutgers campus.
Nancy Atkinson, UNA associate professor of English, is a longtime faculty adviser to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender organization. She said membership has steadily risen the past few years, a trend she credits to the prevalence of Facebook and other social websites.
“Our university is very supportive,” Atkinson said. “It does what it can for all students, but there's also good support for me in this role and this organization.”
Dyar said he has heard the argument from anti-gay groups that heterosexuals are bullied too, and that suicide rates are even higher among that population. He doesn't deny the argument but questions how anyone could compare the two societal ills.
“Sure heterosexuals are bullied, but they're not being bullied for being straight, and that's the difference,” he said.
According to a recent report by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, nine of 10 lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender students said they experienced some form of harassment at school. But other groups are challenging the survey's objectivity.
“It's a widely recognized problem that surveys that rely on self-selection have the most risk of unreliability and being tainted because people that choose to participate, that self-select who participate, are usually highly motivated for a reason to do that,” said Candi Cushman, an education analyst with Focus on the Family.
Despite Dyar not being the subject of harsh bullying himself, he knows others who are or have been. His organization is starting two programs on campus this year to help with that issue and others that affect non-heterosexual students.
The Safe Zone program will designate “safe” areas on campus: places where students can get help from faculty and staff who have had sensitivity training.
“We'll designate places on campus by putting an emblem on the door or some other distinction so that a student knows that this person is trained and willing to help,” he said.
The other service will be a help line where students may call anonymously and have a compassionate, trained individual to talk to.
Dyar stresses the help line is not intended as a suicide prevention service.
“The students who most need help are the ones not seeking it,” he said. “We're trying to get these programs in place and market them well so everyone will know it's available, and there will be total confidentiality, which is the big thing. Who knows — if Clementi had access to services like these, he might not have committed suicide.”
Lisa Singleton-Rickman can be reached at 256-740-5735 or lisa.singleton-rickman@TimesDaily.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
10. The Citizens Voice, October 19, 2010
75 N. Washington St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18711
University of Scranton students hold vigil to raise awareness for gay rights
By Erin L. Nissley
If it could happen at Rutgers University, it could happen here.
That was the thought University of Scranton senior Jessica Rothchild had as she learned of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi's suicide after a video of his intimate encounter with a man was posted on the Internet. And though the news has been filled with similar stories lately, Rothchild said it is not a new problem in the young, gay community.
"The statistics are astounding," Rothchild said. "And when it happens as close as Rutgers â ¦ it really comes close to home."
And although she feels harassment and bullying of gay students at the University of Scranton is no worse or better than at any other campus, she hoped that a vigil Monday night on the campus green will help raise awareness and inspire students to speak out.
Monday's "Pennsylvania Night to Live" vigil was held at more than a dozen colleges across the state as a way to remember Clementi and others who have lost their lives because of bullying and harassment.
Rothchild is the president of Scranton Inclusion, a gay-straight alliance group based at the University of Scranton, and the regional chairwoman of the Student Network Across Pennsylvania, a group that encourages activism and equality. She said the university has been very supportive of efforts to raise awareness and promote equality on campus and in the larger community.
Monday's vigil was part of the university's celebration of "Ally Week," created by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, to recognize those who stand up for gay rights and speak out against bullying and harassment. For information, visit www.allyweek.org.
11. WDIV Detroit, October 20, 2010
Oakland University Student Commits Suicide: Family Says Student Was Bullied For Being Gay
ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. -- A 19-year-old Oakland University student took his own life on campus Tuesday.
OU police said the death of sophomore Corey Jackson from Warren is still under investigation.
The Oakland County medical examiner's office confirmed that Jackson's death had been ruled a suicide.
"Any death in the campus community diminishes us all. We know there will be no quick antidote for the pain that Corey's sudden death has caused, and that only time can heal the sorrow felt by his family and friends," said Oakland University President Gary Russi in an e-mail to students. "In our mourning, I am hopeful that we will not focus on the manner of Corey's death, but rather celebrate the life he lived and the people he touched."
Jackson's family said he recently revealed to them that he was a homosexual, and that they believe he was bullied over his sexual orientation. They think the bullying led him to commit suicide.
"I believe (it happened) because he recently realized he was a homosexual and he was getting pressured at school by his peers because he told his family and nothing changed here," said grandmother Carolyn Evans. "Corey was the most loving, giving, funny person. He had the most wonderful personality. He had cousins from ages 14 down to 2 and he never said a bad word about anybody. When he went to school and he realized his sexual preference had changed, he changed completely. He withdrew."
Evans said her grandson had always been outgoing and loving before suddenly becoming self-conscious about himself.
Jackson's Aunt, Kim Jones, said Corey revealed to her he was having a difficult time.
"He said 'I don't know what's wrong. Ever since I came out people are treating me different. I don't know what to do. I don't know where I belong," Jones said.
Student Legislator Darrell Boyd said the campus has a very accepting enviconrment.
"Oakland's an accepting school and we're pretty broad and diverse so it's pretty shocking something like that would happen here," he said.
Another student, Ashley Kres said, "I have a lot of family members and friends who live a gay lifestyle and I couldn't imagine someone losing someone over that. It seems like a normal life to me and doesn't seem so out of the ordinary." She added, "You never think it's going to touch home. I never want to attend another vigil here again."
Friends and family of Jackson gathered Tuesday at Van Wagoner Hall to comfort each other. At 10 p.m. Wednesday night they will gather again to celebrate his life at the bridge that crosses Bear Lake.
There have been a string of gay suicides lately on college campuses. Recently Tyler Clementi, from Rutgers, jumped from George Washington Bridge, taking his own life.
12. Journal Sentinel, October 20, 2010
P.O. Box 371, Milwaukee, WI 53201
'Legalize Gay' message spreads after UW-Whitewater assault
By Sharif Durhams
Students and faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater held an anti-bullying rally last week after a student was punched in the face for wearing a pro-gay-rights T-shirt.
On Wednesday, the company that makes the T-shirts announced that it's helping the anti-bullying effort.
Fashion maker American Apparel, which makes the “Legalize Gay” T-shirts, delivered nearly 500 T-shirts with a slogan “Legalize Gay” to campus and offered to give a free shirt to any UW-Whitewater student who wants one.
The company ran a full-page ad in the UW-Whitewater student paper Wednesday, noting that company employees have faced harassment over the shirts.
“We were deeply moved and inspired to hear how quickly a student rally was organized and how strong the response to this hate crime was,” the ad said. “American Apparel is a company that believes in freedom of expression and equal rights.”
The school had already been planning a unity rally for last week, but increased efforts after a female UW-Whitewater student who was wearing one of the T-shirts reported being was punched in the face Sept. 26 after her assailants shouted a homophobic slur. Officers have not made an arrest in the case.
Other Wisconsin college campuses have organized rallies in recent weeks as the news has filled with reports of anti-gay bullying driving several gay teenagers to commit suicide during the past several weeks. Thousands of Facebook and Twitter users turned their profile pictures purple Wednesday to bring attention to the bullying and suicides.
13. 9News, October 20, 2010
500 Speer Blvd., Denver, CO 80203
Students stand up to anti-gay bullying
By Nelson Garcia
DENVER - They came from three different schools to unite together wearing purple. It was a sign of solidarity on the Auraria campus to tell gay and lesbian students: "It gets better... Because I give a damn."
"Whatever situation you're in, your home situation, school situation, just hang in there, it gets better" said Steve Willich, interim director of GLBT Student Services at Auraria.
Willich organized a rally on campus Wednesday bringing together students from the University of Colorado Denver, Metropolitan State College of Denver and the Community College of Denver.
He combined two national campaigns to form the theme of the rally.
"It gets better" was started by an advice columnist trying to keep bullied gay and lesbian students from feeling down. It is now popular on YouTube. "Give a Damn" was started by the True Colors Foundation founded by pop star Cyndi Lauper.
Willich says he was motivated by the recent string of suicides of teenage gay students across the country.
The most publicized case is that of 18-year-old Tyler Clementi. He was a Rutgers University student who had his sexual encounters broadcast on the Internet by his roommate, according to police. Clementi later jumped off a bridge to his death.
"These teens had been bullied or teased for being gay or for being perceived as gay," Willich said.
More than 100 students, faculty, and staff stood together clad in purple to represent the spirit of homosexuality. They listened to speakers talk about the need to end bullying while supporting those who feel persecuted.
"It's not OK to make a racist joke or make a homophobic comment and just blow it off like it's nothing because those words have meanings," Joanna Storey, president of the Auraria Gender Sexualities Alliance, said.
Storey knows the pain, because she's been there.
"I tried to commit suicide," Storey told the crowd. "I'm really glad that I didn't succeed at committing suicide and I know that I'm not the only one."
Speakers talked about mental health and other support services available for students who might be thinking about ending their own lives.
"Never think that suicide or any kind of thing like that is a last resort," Kathryn Cammack, student trustee for Metro State, said.
Willich doesn't want other students to feel alone.
"We as a campus want to let these teens know that it will get better," Willich said. "Don't do anything right now. We're here for you and we give a damn."
14. WSVN, October 20, 2010
1401 79th Street Causeway, Miami, FL 33141
Local college holds anti-bullying rally
Click link for video.
MIAMI SHORES, Fla. (WSVN) -- Dozens of students took part in a rally to remember those who have lost their lives after being bullied.
"Spirit Day" took place across the country, including Barry University's main campus, Wednesday. "The hate has to stop. In the words of Harvey Milk, let's give them hope," one man said.
Dozens wore purple to take a stand against gay bashing. The names of the six teens who recently committed suicide after being taunted about their sexual orientation were read aloud. Enbar Cohen, a 22-year-old student activist, said, "When people commit suicide, it's their last escape. They feel so alone. They feel like nobody can relate. They feel like they have no support system."
Cohen came out as a lesbian when she was 16 years old. According to Cohen, some of her classmates taunted her because she was gay. "I came to school one day, and someone had created a poster about me, actually a flyer. They created 300 flyers, and that flyer had my name, my address, my cell phone number. It said I was a dyke, I was a lesbian and I would perform sexual favors," she said.
Barry University students, faculty and staff also gathered at the peace pole on campus in a united front against bullying. "They are being abused. They are facing injustice, and it's time for us to take a stand for them, in solidarity with them," said Richard Newell, who participated in the rally.
The national rally was spearheaded by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which asked Americans to draw attention to the recent deaths caused by gay bashing, like that of Tyler Clementi. The Rutgers University student killed himself after his roommate allegedly live-streamed Tyler having sex with another man online. Thomas Severino of Barry University said, "We can do something to step forward and say, 'No bullying.' Parents, no bullying. It's not kids just acting like kids. It's unacceptable."
15. The Pacer (University of Tennessee at Martin), October 20, 2010
314 Gooch Hall, Martin, TN 38238
Openly gay UTM students provide perspective, hope for future
By Marquita Douglas
A recent publicized teen suicide related to homosexuality raised questions about the level of acceptance on college campuses.
All Kenneth Hollis and Galvyn Hill want is for people to know them before they judge them.
Hill, a junior Spanish major, and Hollis, a freshman Pre-Med Biology major, are homosexual males.
"Our lifestyle isn't just parties, makeup, dresses, and all so flamboyant and so extra. No, we are doing things, we are trying to obtain a good GPA and attend a four-year college," said Galvyn Hill.
The recent case of Rutgers University freshman, Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide on Sept. 22 after his roommate streamed a live encounter between another male and Clementi on the Internet, is the latest incidents that have raised questions about the level of acceptance on college
"The Rutgers situation hurts my heart, it really does, because I lost a boyfriend to suicide. I take suicide and people getting picked on in that manner very seriously," said Hill. "With this lifestyle you have to have a tough skin, you have to. If you don't have a support system or an outlet, you are going to break."
For Hill and Hollis both, this is an emotional situation, in that both have lost loved ones to suicide, making the situation in Rutgers seem close to home.
"As far as the suicide, I'm hurt by it. It kills me to know that he was driven to that point, and it makes me so mad that someone could be so cruel and childish to push a person to suicide," said Kenneth Hollis. "I bet you that half of the people that did it, do not care that they pushed him that far."
Both men feel as if the coming out process is very hard and brings about plenty of discrimination, but fortunately for them their coming out process was more like a breakthrough experience. Hill and Hollis stand firm that they knew at an early age that they were gay.
Hill, who decided to live his life a homosexual male at 17, and Hollis, who came out to his parents at 11, felt as if a tremendous weight had been lifted off their shoulders.
"I just felt like enough was enough. I decided to be completely open. I truly accepted myself," said Hill.
The day both men came out it was as if they were "born again." Hollis and Hill mutually know the exact date when they decided to live their life as free, openly homosexual males.
"I felt so great. It was like this weight was lifted off my shoulders, because I always knew, even though this was at a young age. My friends accepted me for my family accepted me for me. It was like this liberation," said Hollis.
Even though Hill and Hollis both are comfortable with their sexuality that does not mean they do not face discrimination and other challenges on campus. Both have been the butt of many cruel jokes and harassment.
Hollis, who recalled a recent experience at the 9:09 comedy series, when the comedian made a joke about how gays and college students would be excluded from the army. While Hollis and his friend enjoyed a good laugh at the fact that they would be excluded from the army aloud, the male students behind them didn't find it quite funny.
"There was a group of boys sitting next to us that actually followed us from the show. It is kind of crazy. So now it is at the point to where we have people following us when we are on our way to different places," said Hollis. "My best friend was on his way from The Reserve and he got followed so he took off running. I'm on my way to class and all of a sudden there is a group of guys standing there and I feel them walking closely behind me, so I quicken my pace and took a left, going to a class that wasn't even mine, just to make them think that I was in class."
When it comes to gay slurs Hollis and Hill believe they have heard them all.
"I've been called everything you can be called, and some of them even had a creative spin on them, and others are tired and played out," said Hollis.
Hill and Hollis said they would love for the clichés and stereotypes that go along with being a openly gay male to all be erased, but until that time they hope to reach, educate and inform as many people as possible about what it is like to live in a heterosexual world.
"There are a lot of ignorant people that do not want to listen, and then again there are a lot of people that are willing to listen. I'm not trying to reach the ignorant. If I do reach the ignorant then that is just a added bonus," said Hill.
16. The Record, October 21, 2010
Rally calls attention to safety of gays on Rutgers campus
By Stephanie Akin and Hannah Adely
NEW BRUNSWICK — A gay rights group, citing what it called a “hidden population of Tyler Clementis” asked the Rutgers University administration Thursday to do more to ensure gay students’ safety on campus.
“What we want is to address the issue of this hidden population that is hidden because of a lack of understanding of what they are dealing with,” said Robert T. O’Brien, an assistant instructor of anthropology and one of the co-founding members of the group, Queering the Air.
Speaking before a small demonstration, O’Brien and other campus community members said Clementi’s widely publicized suicide less than a month ago, along with another suicide of a gay Rutgers student in March, exposed what they said was a pervasive stigma against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people at Rutgers and in society at large. Unacknowledged prejudices, they said, can prevent students from getting the help they need during traumatic situations or even to address their daily medical and social needs.
Rutgers University President Richard McCormick said he is taking the groups’ concerns seriously, and the university is considering many of its specific demands, including introducing gender-neutral campus housing, improved counseling services and better sensitivity training for faculty.
“I know they have concerns that we need to address in the months and the years ahead,” he said. “They deserve to feel as comfortable and as welcome at Rutgers as everyone else.”
The group used a student government meeting to air their concerns. Top university administrators were on hand to discuss the results of a student campus life survey, including concerns about the student dining hall, tuition rates and campus transportation. Shortly before the meeting, O’Brien presented McCormick with a three-page copy of an e-mail he sent earlier that evening outlining the group’s concerns.
“Our society is not as safe or tolerant a place for LGBTQ and other historically-oppressed groups as many would like to believe,” the e-mail read. “and, as a consequence, the suffering of individuals in these groups too often goes unnoticed until a tragedy occurs…”
Clementi, a Rutgers freshman from Ridgewood, killed himself after his roommate allegedly broadcast Clementi’s sexual encounter with a man over the Internet. The incident, which followed a string of suicides committed by gay young people who had been harassed on the Internet, sparked a national conversation about gay bullying and Internet privacy.
Aaron Lee, a fourth-year transgender student, said Rutgers is safer for gay students than many other places, but the university’s resources are not always easy to find.
“Not everyone is prepared to be in a position where they have to try multiple times to reach out for help,” he said.
University student body President Yousef Saleh, a senior from Jersey City, also said reports that Clementi had attempted to address his problem through a resident assistant and had written about his concerns on a gay Internet forum demonstrated that the university’s counseling services are not as accessible as they should be.
“The support is there, but they’re not aware of it, or it’s not advertised,” he said.
Queering the Air leaders say they have compiled complaints from LGBT students about safety, housing and medical and counseling.
The New Brunswick-based group, which is not a university club but includes members who are students, faculty and staff, asked the Rutgers administration to take the following steps:
-Create gender-neutral housing — housing with mixed-gender dorm rooms and bathrooms — where members of the LGBT community might be more comfortable.
-Change residential screening practices to ask students if they would be comfortable living alongside LGBT students.
-Establish a committee with LGBT students, faculty and staff to review policies and procedures regarding harassment complaints and student services.
-Empower the committee to investigate the events leading up to Clementi’s suicide and determine steps to provide a safer campus.
17. Messenger Post, October 21, 2010
73 Buffalo St., Canandaigua, NY 14424
Students, community pay tribute to gay suicides
By Alysa Stryker
Greece, N.Y. - On Wednesday evening, members of the University of Rochester’s Pride Network and Interfaith Chapel stood alongside students and community members in order to pay tribute to a recent spate of teen suicides in the gay community all across the country.
Dozens gathered in the room, standing together in purple clothing, holding candles to represent all LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) teens who have resorted to taking their lives because of issues involving their sexual orientation.
The evening began with organizer and student, Charles Genese, who stood in front of the microphone, calling the recent string of suicides “a national tragedy.”
In his speech, Genese reminded the audience that these tragedies are ones that could have been prevented.
“These preventable deaths weigh heavily upon us,” said Genese.
At the culmination of his opening remarks, Genese held up his candle, urging all in the audience to follow suit, saying, “Let our love shine.”
Members of the University’s Interfaith Chapel say they were eager to join the ceremony.
“I think that sometimes religious leaders and teachings can be very hurtful, and it is important tonight for us to say that religious leaders and faith traditions are very supportive of gay youth,” said director of religious and spiritual life, Allison Stokes.
Laurie Tiberi, protestant chaplain with the Interfaith Chapel, said the event had dual purposes.
“I hope it sends two messages, one to LGBT youth that the community does stand behind them, and also, that things do get better.”
Andrew Moran, president of Pride Network, said he hoped the event would not only serve as a way of healing, but would also give a voice to those who often remain silent.
“In my view, it gives us a forum to show people who may not be out or have an avenue to talk, that there are people out there that support them,” said Moran. “At this event, there is a visible support group. Now they may be able to see it.”
Chili resident Vinessa Buckland said she came out for the event to show a sense of community support.
“I came tonight to show solidarity,” said Buckland. “I hope people feel a sense of empowerment because really, love is stronger than hate. Hate packs a powerful punch but love is stronger. I hope people see that so many people care, and have the same feeling.”
18. Daily Illini, October 21, 2010
512 E. Green St., Champaign, IL 61820
LGBT center holds candlelight vigil to honor victims, support students
By Darshan Patel
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center held a candlelight vigil at the Alma Mater Wednesday night to remember youth lost to suicide nationally in recent weeks.
“The recent string of highly publicized youth and young adult suicides has deeply saddened the University of Illinois LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning) and Ally community,” according to the resource center’s website.
Leslie Morrow, director of the resource center, said LGBTQ community members have been very supportive of each other through the crisis.
“They’ve been very helpful in wanting to get together with folks to talk about it,” Morrow said. “We’re here as a safe haven.”
Morrow said the vigil was to honor the victims and to celebrate their beliefs.
“It’s a way to embrace who we are,” Morrow said.
The LGBT Resource Center offers assistance to students, where they are welcome to speak with a staff member.
Names and ages of the youth and young adults lost were read aloud at the vigil. Some students also wore tombstones, which represented each person who had taken his or her own life.
Along with University students, members of the LGBTQ community and their allies — an outreach network of students and faculty members — showed their support at the vigil.
Kevin Ng, sophomore in AHS, said he hopes the vigil will promote awareness throughout society.
“Hopefully it promotes a call to action,” Ng said. “I had to (be here to) honor those who have committed suicide.”
During the vigil, students and members of Registered Student Organizations were invited to share their thoughts on the recent suicides and offer words of encouragement.
Morrow said the community at the University had to do something as a sign of unity.
“I think Rutgers (The State University of New Jersey) was probably the first school that had the most watched vigil with all the events,” Morrow said. “As a sign of solidarity and support, we’re going to do the same.”
A recent string of suicides, such as Rutgers student Tyler Clementi, have sparked an outcry of emotion across the nation.
But this is not something that affects only a certain area, said William Blanchard, president of PRIDE, an RSO which serves the LGBTQ community through political activism, educational awareness and social events.
“This is not an incident occurring just at Rutgers or down in Arizona. This is an incident occurring here in Champaign too,” Blanchard said.
The Global School-Based Student Health Survey, which was developed by the World Health Organization, reported in a study conducted between 2003 and 2006 that 34 percent of students who have been bullied said they felt sad and hopeless for two or more weeks.
“There’s a lot of bullying going on, and some people think it’s harmless. Words are powerful, and they can hurt. They can attack,” Morrow said.
19. The Michigan Daily, October 20, 2010
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109
UMEC event takes hard look at campus diversity
By Bethany Biron
The University of Michigan Engineering Council hosted a town hall meeting at the Lurie Engineering Center last night that featured discussion on the importance of establishing a positive social climate on campus and increasing tolerance among students.
A panel of University officials opened the program, including Jim Toy, a leading gay rights activist in the state and co-founder of what is now called the Spectrum Center, Director of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities Stuart Segal, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering James Holloway, and Managing Director of the Center for Engineering Diversity and Outreach Robert Scott. The group spoke to a crowd of about 75 students about increasing diversity on campus and then opened up the floor for questions.
In light of recent incidences of bullying against LGBT young people, including Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong, Toy spoke about why the Spectrum Center is a crucial tool for gay, lesbian and transgendered students on campus. As a co-founder, Toy helped launch the center — which was called the Office of LGBT Affairs at the time — after the Gay Liberation Front in Ann Arbor asked the University to develop an organization that would cater to the needs of homosexual students.
Toy said he hopes to foster an environment of increased tolerance at the University by quelling hateful speech and cheers at hockey games, which he hopes University Athletic Director David Brandon makes a priority.
“The climate at hockey games is totally sexist and totally homophobic, and that situation has got to get addressed,” Toy said.
Extending the conversation beyond sexual orientation, the panel emphasized decreasing segregation in the classroom and on campus, particularly within the College of Engineering.
Holloway said many students view the liberal arts and humanities classes as pivotal places for learning the basics of respectful discussion and diverse interaction, but many don’t think they can learn the same values in the more science and math-based and less interactive discipline of engineering — a notion he believes is false.
“Sometimes as engineers, we tend to step back and say we do analytical stuff that’s all very clear cut and scientific, and so we don’t have that same kind of issue, we don’t interact in the same way,” Holloway said. “Of course that’s garbage, because we interact with each other in exactly those ways.
“Our ability to interact with each other in a respectful way, to hear each others' needs, to take into account how various stakeholders have competing needs and how to balance those are very important as engineers,” he added.
Scott, a University alum, said while integration has greatly increased since he graduated in 1975, he still sees students of the same ethnicity clinging together and not venturing outside racial boundaries.
“The fact that minority students are here does not mean that they are necessarily included and engaged,” Scott said. “You can walk around campus and see diversity, and see that diversity moves in clumps. Our center is all about trying to change the paradigm.”
Halloway said the College of Engineering is also working to increase diversity in gender in the engineering field.
He added that the college has been trying to implement various techniques to enroll more women in engineering programs, especially computer engineering which has been a predominantly male-driven concentration.
“One strategy that we are trying to peruse is to recruit faculty that are more representative of the student body, and we’ve actually had some pretty good success with women faculty in some departments,” Holloway said.
Scott said while female enrollment in computer science engineering is low, information technology companies are continually looking to recruit female employees, adding that women engineers should not be discouraged by the prevalence of men in industry.
“Women do as well or better than men in industry from an IT standpoint,” Scott said. “Corporations are doing everything they can to encourage women to go into computer science and computer engineering because there’s a desperate need for that talent going forward.”
In addition to embracing racial and gender equality, Segal said he believes students need to be more aware of the prevalence of disabilities and unreported mental disorders on campus. Segal said he hopes that students with mental disorders will someday feel more comfortable about being open about them in order to get rid of negative stereotypes.
“Most of the disabilities that are on campus are invisible,” Segal said. “A person with a disability has their own sort of needs, wants, desires, comforts, and securities around the issue. There’s a lot of stigma within these groups to be public and identify themselves.”
Segal said that because students he works with want to keep their mental disorders secret among friends, when he encounters them on campus they often ignore him.
“There’s still a lot of work to do to get people even comfortable with their own disability, to see it not in such a stigmatized way, because we all carry a bunch of stereotypes, particularly with mental health issues,” Segal said.
Engineering senior Bethany Glesner, honors and services director of UMEC, said the group decided to throw the event after receiving grievances that meetings were failing to focus on improving the state of campus life.
“We had gotten complaints in the past that our general body meetings were boring and not useful, so we were trying to come up with a way to get not only the student organizations involved but also the student population at large to come and actually participate,” Glesner said.
“People are willing to talk about campus climate and people are willing to help if you have problems,” she added. “There are resources and campus climate can be a problem, but it can also be improved.”
20. NPR, October 22, 2010
635 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20001
After Suicide, Pressure Grows For Rutgers Officials
By Joel Rose
One month since the death of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi, gay activists at the university are still fighting for changes, even as life on campus returns to normal.
On Sept. 22, Clementi committed suicide after his roommate allegedly posted video of his sexual encounter with another man on the Internet. The tragedy sparked national discussion about bullying of gay youth.
Now, the TV cameras are mostly gone, and the debate over Tyler Clementi's suicide has quieted down.
"People make references to it sometimes. Should certain events remind them of it, it'll come up. But I don't think anybody really has a conversation about it at this point anymore," says Rutgers freshman Rachel McGovern.
Senior Frank Blaha thinks university administrators — right up to Rutgers President Richard McCormick — could have handled the Clementi situation better. "I think [McCormick] had a real opportunity to open up a dialogue about tolerance, and more than that, what is and is not acceptable behavior for the students of this university. I think they just let it go by," Blaha says.
A Hidden Population
McCormick has said very little about the events surrounding the suicide.
"I recognize that people wish we could say more than we're saying. But we're not able to do so while an investigation is being conducted. I'm sorry about that," he said, speaking briefly with reporters before a recent student assembly meeting. While most of the meeting was devoted to mundane concerns like parking and tuition, anthropology professor Robert O'Brien used the occasion to bring up the problems that gays and lesbians face on this campus.
"I get phone calls, e-mails, office visits, crying before class, crying during class, crying after class, as a result of the treatment that particularly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students are experiencing. These things make them what I call a hidden population of Tyler Clementis," O'Brien said during the meeting.
Rutgers senior Aaron Lee told the group that the university does offer counseling services for gay, lesbian and transgender students like him. "Rutgers has great things, but sometimes it is very hard to find them. Not everyone is prepared to be in a position where they have to try multiple times to reach out for help," Lee said.
Lee and other activists repeated their call for the university to create gender-neutral housing and take other steps to make the lesbian, gay and transgender communities feel more comfortable. McCormick promised to consider those demands.
"We're not going to relax our commitment to making this a welcoming environment for everyone," McCormick said.
Pushing To Change, Trying To Move On
Not everyone likes the way gay and lesbian groups have responded to Clementi's suicide. Blaha thinks these groups should not be using the tragedy to advance their own agenda. "I think they were so out of line. If you wanted to hold a rally for tolerance, that would've been fine. But instead they tried to co-opt it for their own gain, so that they could get their own housing and dining halls, or whatever it was they were after," Blaha says.
But activists, including O'Brien, want to use the issue to maintain pressure on the university. "The real crisis is below the tip of the Tyler Clementi iceberg. It's the daily suffering of LGBTQ [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer] youth that is not appreciated by the wider society," O'Brien says.
As long as people keep talking about Clementi, O'Brien says he will keep pushing Rutgers to change. That may prove to be a tough sell on a campus that is largely trying to move on.
21. The Miami Herald, October 21, 2010
One Herald Plaza, Miami, Florida 33132
Events at NSU campus show support for gay community
By Julie Levin
For the first time, gay students celebrated National Coming Out Day on the Davie campus of Nova Southeastern University, mirroring similar events around the country.
Angie Freeman says she has known the loneliness and pain of not being accepted as a gay woman. Nearly 10 years ago, at the age of 15, she came out to her father, expecting his full support.
Instead, she says, he told her she needed counseling and threw her out of his home.
So, being able to take part in the first-ever celebration of National Coming Out Day at Nova Southeastern University in Davie recently meant plenty to the 24-year-old graduate student.
``It means support,'' she said. ``Having all these people here for the same reason means a lot. Some have already come out, some haven't, but having everyone here means tolerance and acceptance.''
That was the goal organizers had in mind when they organized a celebration at NSU. Several dozen NSU students took a stand to support the gay community with a series of events Oct. 11, echoing other events around the country for National Coming Out Day. NCO was created in 1988 as an annual celebration of the march on Washington for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. In its 22-year history though, it had struggled to find the spotlight on the Davie campus.
``There really hasn't been a lot going on here in previous years.'' said NSU student Jessica Wilson of Davie, who organized the event. ``We thought this would be a prime opportunity and hopefully one of many more to come.''
Wilson is working on her doctorate and serves as the committee coordinator of the Student Coalition for Human Rights' Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) Committee. She is also a member of the executive board of the Gay Straight Alliance at the NSU Center for Psychological Studies.
In order to make their presence known, they began with a short march in front of the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center, holding signs and chanting slogans, such as ``gay rights are civil rights.''
Immediately after, a panel of speakers answered questions on issues of pride and visibility. The speakers included Enbar Cohen, assistant director of Safe Schools South Florida; Marc Paige, representative of the YES Institute; Timothy R. Moragne, Psy.D, former chairman of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Committee of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology; and Steve Rothaus, author of the Gay South Florida blog and The Miami Herald's gay issues reporter.
``I want to talk about the current events and where gay people are in terms of their civil rights and in terms of their personal safety,'' Rothaus said.
Organizers say their celebration came at a critical time, particularly in the wake of several disturbing instances of gays being tormented and attacked. In October, nearly a dozen men were arrested in a series of vicious anti-gay attacks in the Bronx, N.Y. In another incident that highlighted the problem of gay suicides, a Rutgers University student took his own life after being filmed having an intimate encounter.
Organizers say the suicide rate for homosexuals has always been high, but incidents such as the Rutgers student tragedy has brought the issue to the forefront of public awareness.
``It is more important now than ever to take a stand to promote diversity and acceptance on campus,'' said Maria Espinola, a NSU doctoral student and president of the Student Coalition for Human Rights. ``No one should have to hide who they are, live in fear, or pretend to be something they are not.''
The gay committee of the Student Coalition for Human Rights is planning more events for the future to continue to promote understanding and acceptance on campus. In November, the group will show the movie Bullied and plans to hold a ``queer'' formal for students not allowed at their own proms.
For information on the group and its events, call 954-380-2119 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. It is also on Facebook at Student Coalition for the Defense of Human Rights.
22. Gazette Times, October 24, 2010
600 SW Jefferson Ave., Corvallis, OR 97333
By Bennett Hall
Craig Bidiman remembers how hard it was to tell his friends and family that he's bisexual.
After agonizing about it all summer, he came out in August. Then, just weeks later, came the suicide of Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers University student who jumped off a bridge after someone videotaped him having a sexual encounter with a man and posted the images on the Internet.
"I was still coming to terms with what that meant to me," said Bidiman, a 22-year-old senior at Oregon State University. "My first response was: Really? This is still happening? I didn't want to believe it."
His second response was to take action.
At a friend's suggestion, Bidiman launched the Campaign for Understanding, which asks the campus community to sign a simple promise:
"By signing this," the form reads, "I pledge to create and promote a positive and welcoming environment on the Oregon State University campus in all regards."
Bidiman is the president of OSU's Memorial Union. He's well-connected on campus, and he called on university administrators and student leaders to support the idea. He got plenty of takers.
The Campaign for Understanding began in early October. Within a week, Bidiman and his legion of helpers had collected around 1,000 signatures on paper and another 1,000 on the project's Facebook page. Now the total is approaching 3,000.
In addition to getting people to sign its pledge of inclusion, the campaign has created posters, buttons and T-shirts imprinted with the slogan "Be Aware" in rainbow-striped letters. The message goes beyond support for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and faculty, Bidiman says.
"It's really a symbol of difference. Be aware that we are all unique, and that's what makes us so beautiful."
The response has been extremely positive, Bidiman said, not only from students but from faculty and administrators as well. The university has promoted the Campaign for Understanding on its website and signed on as an official sponsor.
"We want to give a face and visibility to this campaign," said Larry Roper, OSU's vice provost for student affairs. "It really represents one of our core values. We want to represent human dignity."
Similar campaigns have sprung up on other campuses around the country in reaction to Clementi's suicide and the Internet outing that prompted him to take his own life.
Many people were shocked to discover that American universities, widely perceived as bastions of progressive ideas and politically correct behavior, still harbor pockets of intolerance toward homosexuality.
They shouldn't be, says Shane Windmeyer, executive director of Campus Pride, whose mission is to create a safe college environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
The group recently published a survey of more than 5,000 LGBT students, faculty, staff and administrators on campuses in all 50 states. Nearly one in four respondents reported experiencing some form of harassment based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In addition, less than 7 percent of colleges in the study offer any formal institutional support for LGBT students, and only about 13 percent have nondiscrimination policies that include sexual orientation.
That's not acceptable in this day and age, Windmeyer said.
"By not having a policy, you send a signal that you're silent about sexual orientation issues," he said. "I had hoped by 2010 we would have actually implemented policies. I was hoping we would have gone beyond policy and be putting it into practice."
Still, Windmeyer said, shows of support such as the Campaign for Understanding are a hopeful sign.
"I think there's value anytime you create education and awareness," he said. "Where we need to go a step farther is getting campuses to actually live up to their pledge, getting students to stand up and take action when they encounter prejudice, in the classroom or out of the classroom."
Bidiman thinks the Campaign for Understanding is already creating real change at Oregon State University. He said one of the most rewarding aspects of the effort for him is the people he's had a chance to meet while staffing a table on the quad, gathering signatures for his pledge.
"I talked to one girl who said she was looking at all the people in her class who support her, and it made her feel so welcome," Bidiman said. "I think by signing this, these people are saying they're not afraid to be allies. They're not afraid to stand up and be who they are, and that's so cool to me."
Bennett Hall can be reached at 541-758-9529 or email@example.com.
23. The Ticker (Baruch College), October 24, 2010
One Bernard Baruch Way, Suite 3-290, New York, NY 10010
Students rally against LGBT intolerance
By David Ospino
As the issue of gay suicides and bullying begins to die down in the mainstream media, many students and faculty members at Baruch show no signs of slowing their fight to promote the well being and acceptance of the gay community.
"Intolerance, ignorance, and hate is an everyday thing and so we should fight against it everyday," said senior Hector Tavarez, a member of Baruch's Gay Lesbian And Straight Society.
GLASS is comprised of the rich diversity that Ben Corpus, dean of student life, boasted of in a college-wide e-mail to students addressing issues of harassment and intolerance. But not everyone seems to be on the same page.
"The college has actually received hate mail in response to the email Ben Corpus sent out last week," said Dr. Ryan Androsiglio, director of an LGBT support group at the counseling center, while handing out purple ribbons on the second floor last Wednesday.
The administration encouraged students to wear purple on Oct. 14 and 20 in support of those whose lives that had been lost to gay bullying in the past weeks.
As part of a week-long series of events, several organizations including the Office of Student Life and GLASS, held a rally on Thursday for the Rutgers University student, Tyler Clementi, who jumped off the George Washington Bridge after his roommates recorded and streamed footage of him engaging in a sexual act with another man.
Clementi's death was the most recent in a string of suicides of lesbian, gay and bisexual young adults.
"Gay suicides have always been this bad, but we are taking advantage of this unfortunate event and bringing light to the problem to fix it," said junior Mingjian Chu, president of GLASS.
These untimely deaths proved to be a catalyst in the fight against homophobia especially as state governments in California and New York have outlawed gay marriage and when the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, which essentially bans gay participation in the armed forces, is being repealed little by little.
"Cyber bullying should be addressed, period. But gay and lesbian youth tend to hurt themselves more because of the lack of support," said Tracy Espinet, who works in the Office of Student Life.
In the 1980s, the club meetings of GLASS, then known as the Gay And Lesbian Association, were held under the protection of three security guards at the door and eventually had to move off campus, according to Espinet.
The AID/HIV crisis of the 80s fueled intolerance that manifested itself through students verbally harassing and attempting physically assaulting members of GALA, Espinet claimed.
As the years went on, things slowly began to change. "In 2006 we changed the name to GLASS because of the amount of straight allies we had and that same year we elected [GLASS's] first straight president, Elizabeth Joseph," said Espinet with a smile on her face.
Yet even after such a monumental step forward, others believe there is still a long way to go at Baruch. In response to "coming out" at Baruch, sophomore Denique Williams, who is a member of GLASS and the Lambda Nu Sigma sorority, said, "You lose a lot of friends that way."
"People say: ‘Oh! You're gay? I don't want to be around you,' or they make anti-gay jokes, and stare at you weird when you wear non-gender stereotypical clothes," said senior William Rozario, member of GLASS.
At times, even those merely perceived to be gay are subjected to the same intolerance. This was the case with 11-year-old Tyler Wilson of Ohio who was taunted and beaten after school by two other students because he had joined the cheerleading squad, as reported by Toledo, Ohio's local ABC news
Straight members of GLASS confirm the prejudice. Freshman Ewen recalled stopping by the GLASS clubroom with a friend. "He saw the ‘big gay flag' outside the room, refused to walk in, and asked me if I was a lesbian," she said.
For those who may have experienced similar incidents or who feel alone, there are resources on campus like Peers Advocating Wellness Services, which provides peer counseling in VC 3-241, and the Counseling Center in the Annex Building.
24. The Eastern Echo (Eastern Michigan University), October 24, 2010
228 King Hall, Ypsilanti, MI 48197
EMU org SAGA aims to defeat homophobia in sports
By Kyle Wackrow
It’s common for homophobia to be overlooked in the world of sports, but such actions were the inspiration for Eastern Michigan University’s Student Alliance for Gay Athletes (and Allies).
“A friend was at a team party where he was being harassed and verbally abused and we didn’t want anyone else to go through that,” said Maggie Manville, co-founder of SAGA. “We thought there needed to be a lot more awareness in the athletic community because there’s barely any. There are few who know gay athletes, or gay people in general, so it’s something that isn’t talked about.”
Stemming from EMU’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, SAGA is a new addition to the LGBT community of EMU and its athletic community. The group plans to promote and push for a homophobia-free athletic environment for student-athletes through awareness and education.
“SAGA member Shawn Gancarz and I started talking about it around March and it became a real organization this past fall,” Manville said. “We were corresponding with the University of Michigan’s Michigan Athletes and Allies Partnership but they fell through. Once initiative taken and we spoke to the LGBTRC’s Program Coordinator Mary Larkin, the group finally started to form. Once we were assertive things started to work out, but it was a long process.”
The organization strives to create a safe space for LGBT athletes and allies to come together, educate and promote awareness in the athletics program and campus. According to the student organization’s description, the group is open to everyone who is willing to participate respectively and positively to the betterment of the group. Even if one does not identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered, any potential members are encouraged to be an ally and participate.
“We hope to offer support for LGBT-identified athletes and create awareness in the athletic community,” Manville said. “Hopefully the leaders on campus will take initiative and extend it further across campus.”
Whether one identifies as a student athlete or not, SAGA is looking for more members. While they have approximately seventy-five members on Facebook, up to ten members attend meetings regularly.
“We have a lot of support on Facebook but some are afraid to attend if they don’t identify as LGBT,” Manville said. “Some are scared to attend meetings because they don’t want to be perceived as gay which is why we have added Allies to our group’s name.”
Despite the organization’s title, SAGA’s focus isn’t strictly athletics, working out or hitting the gym every chance available.
“We had a bowling night few weeks ago and another time we met at my house just to hang out,” Manville said. “It’s not just an athletic group but also a support group where members can hang out with like-minded people.”
Students interested in joining don’t have to worry about member inductions or the like.
“To become a member, just show up,” Manville said. “Anyone can be a member and allies are one of the most important parts of the group. A big part of SAGA is providing ally training and educating them and to help make a safe space for LGBT athletes.”
“Our biggest goal is to implement safe training in EMU Athletics and have all the coaches and all the captains go through this training,” Manville said. “We’re teaming up with the LGBTRC to provide this safe training. They provide ally and diversity training and it’s something athletics needs now with all that’s happening in this country with the recent gay teen suicides. If we can reach out and educate others, I think SAGA will have a bright future.”
The Student Alliance for Gay Athletes and Allies meets twice a month on the third floor of the EMU Student Center. For more information on meeting times and becoming a member, join SAGA on Facebook or contact Manville at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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