Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2010.12.19
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 Harvard Crimson - LGBT Books Vandalized With Urine in Lamont Library
2. The Harvard Crimson - Damaged LGBT Books in Lamont Not Result of Hate Crime, Dean Says
3. Inside Higher Ed - Calling Gay Leaders
4. The Daily Illini - Gay community, allies had busy year of activism in C-U
5. University of Wyoming News - University of Wyoming Rainbow Resource Center Receives Donation
6. The Salt Lake Tribune - MBA students at U. launch gay club
7. Inside Higher Ed - NCAA Considers Transgender Policy
8. The Harvard Crimson - Harvard LGBT Community Upset By Lamont Incident
9. The New York Times - Lesbian Coach’s Exit From Belmont U. Has Nashville Talking
10. The Chronicle of Higher Education - Gay and Lesbian College Presidents Go Public With Web Video
11. The Tennessean - Belmont faculty wants sexual orientation added to nondiscrimination policy
1. The Harvard Crimson, December 12, 2010
14 Plympton Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
LGBT Books Vandalized With Urine in Lamont Library
By Sirui Li
Approximately 40 books dealing with LGBT issues were vandalized with what appeared to be urine in Lamont Library on November 24, according to a report filed Friday by the library security staff to the Harvard University Police Department.
HUPD spokesman Steven G. Catalano wrote in an e-mail that the vandalized books' subject matters included lesbian and gay issues and same-sex marriage. Due to the nature of books, HUPD is currently investigating the incident as a bias crime.
"The HUPD has zero tolerance for any bias-related incidents or crimes," Catalano said.
"Harvard College will not tolerate acts of vandalism, especially those that appear to be motivated by hate or bias," Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds wrote in an e-mail to The Crimson. "[As] a community, we will continue to affirm our shared values of dignity and respect for everyone in our community."
The library staff members found an empty bottle next to the vandalized books that may have contained the urine, according to Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth S. Brainard. The staff initially responded to the incident as a health hazard, quickly removing the bottle and relocating the damaged books to the Collections Conservation Lab on Level D of Widener Library.
Brainard said that the library staff assessed the value of the vandalized books before reporting the incident, accounting for the space of two weeks between the incident and the report to HUPD. The books—which Brainard estimated to be worth a few thousand dollars—will be discarded due to the severity of the damage.
"Once the urine is poured, they can’t really fix [the books]," she said.
It remains unclear whether Lamont will replace the books, since Widener usually has copies of the books in Lamont, according to Brainard.
Marco Chan '11, co-chair of the Harvard College Queer Students and Allies, called the incident "extremely frustrating" and "disconcerting," and said that it represents a concern not only for the LGBT community, but for the Harvard community at large.
"I am very outraged. It is hard to conceive this as a coincidence when there are 40 books on the same subject," Chan said. "The message that this incident sent to me is that we need more resources not only for the LGBT community but also targeted towards other people."
Chan suggested workshops on homosexual, bisexual, and transsexual issues—similar to the mandatory freshman orientation event Sex Signals—as one possible way to respond to the bias evidenced by the incident.
"Everyone in our community should know that they play an important role in adjusting homophobia," Chan said.
Books about LGBT issues are located on Level B of Lamont Library.
Staff Writer Sirui Li can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. The Harvard Crimson, December 13, 2010
14 Plympton Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Damaged LGBT Books in Lamont Not Result of Hate Crime, Dean Says
By Alice E.M. Underwood
UPDATED 9:51 p.m.
After conducting an investigation in response to a recent police report that 36 books treating LGBT topics had been damaged with what appeared to be urine in Lamont Library last month, the University determined Monday morning that the incident was an accident and will no longer be treated as a hate crime, according to a statement sent from College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds to the Harvard community on Monday.
On November 24, library staff at Lamont discovered the damaged books—on subjects including lesbian and gay issues and same-sex marriage—along with a bottle assumed to have contained what investigators believed to be urine. This past Friday, library personnel reported the incident to the College and Harvard University Police Department as vandalism, and the affair was subsequently investigated as a hate crime for the "focused nature and related topics" of the affected books, according to Hammonds.
But upon an investigation by HUPD, it was revealed Monday morning that "our own library personnel" had accidentally spilled a bottle, containing what was reported to be urine, that had been found on the shelf, according to Hammonds. Harvard College Library plans to replace all 36 damaged books as soon as possible, she added.
"I believe this is an important new fact in the investigation and warrants my sharing it with you immediately. While we should not minimize the seriousness of this incident, HUPD is no longer classifying this incident as a hate crime," Hammonds wrote in her statement. "This nuance in the facts in the case also explains why library personnel did not immediately report the incident and treated it instead as a prank."
Faculty of Arts and Sciences spokesman Jeff Neal wrote in an e-mail that it remains unclear why a bottle of urine was stowed in the library, adding that the spill was reported by the library employee—the same person who caused the spill, according to his understanding—and cleaned up the same day that it occurred.
In response to the initial appearance of the incident as an act of homophobia, Neal reiterated the significance of an inclusive and diverse community as highlighted in Hammonds’ statement.
“Dean Hammonds has repeatedly emphasized the importance of creating a welcoming environment for all students and all affiliates of all backgrounds throughout the Harvard community,” Neal wrote, adding that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in Harvard’s non-discrimination statement.
Harvard College Library spokeswoman Beth S. Brainard declined to comment, referring all questions regarding the incident to Neal.
Though Harvard College Queer Students and Allies Co-Chair Marco Chan '11 expressed relief that the damage was the result of an accident and not a targeted act of homophobia, he said that he remained concerned by facts of the incident that remain unexplained.
"On the one hand, I feel relieved by the news—but on the other hand, I’m still holding breath on questions that are still unresolved," Chan said. "Why was there a bottle of urine on the shelf? Why did it take two weeks for library or HUPD to figure out that this was just an accident? Did someone suddenly come forward?"
QSA Co-Chair Emma Q. Wang ’12 said she was disappointed that Hammonds is only now speaking out about LGBT issues, and that her statement does not address problems faced by the community beyond the incident at Lamont. Wang described Hammonds' e-mail regarding the books as "poor timing," considering the series of LGBT suicides across the nation and the two hate crimes—one an assault on an undergraduate by people shouting homophobic slurs, and the other anti-gay graffiti in a graduate dorm—that occurred at Harvard earlier this semester.
"I don’t think this issue was handled with the degree of sensitivity and care it could have been," Wang said, noting that while the incident is no longer being characterized as a hate crime, it still had an impact on the LGBT community. "It is the College’s responsibility to treat everyone in the community as an equal and to shoulder equal responsibility for incidents that affect that community."
While Hammonds did not release a statement in response to the incidents affecting the LGBT community earlier in the semester, today’s statement does stress ongoing attempts to foster inclusion and diversity on campus. She wrote that these attempts reflect the College’s desire "to uphold important community values of civil engagement on moral and ethical questions in a diverse world," naming both the ongoing BGLTQ Working Group and the Sustained Dialogue Program as striving to fulfill these missions.
Hammonds convened the BGLTQ Working Group in October with the purpose of evaluating the needs and resources of LGBT students and allies. She wrote in the statement that she has asked the Working Group to consider the Lamont incident in formulating their recommendations to the Dean, to be delivered in March, regarding LGBT needs at Harvard. The Sustained Dialogue Program is part of a nationwide network with the aim of creating venues for discussions on issues of diversity and was also adopted at Harvard at the start of the fall semester.
With this emphasis on encouraging conversations within the campus community, Hammonds concluded her statement on a positive note: "In the end, I am heartened by the chorus of support that this incident has elicited for all students, faculty, and staff within the Harvard College community, and value the important conversations it has prompted."
In the e-mail containing the link to Hammonds’ official statement, the Dean addressed students at the College with the hope that the incident would reaffirm the integrity of the College’s diverse community.
“This is an important moment to reiterate our shared values and to note that Harvard College mandates that everyone show respect to all members of our community," Hammonds wrote. "I hope you will join me in espousing and practicing these shared principles."
Staff writer Alice E.M. Underwood can be reached at email@example.com.
3. Inside Higher Ed, December 13, 2010
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
Calling Gay Leaders
By Michael Roggow
Competition among colleges has forced boards to beat the bushes in search of the best leaders. Fewer provosts are drawn to the presidency. More talent is needed, and the performance bar continues to be raised. Who has emerged in this competition? The answer: many, and many more than in the past who are openly gay.
Historically, the gay college president is not so rare. Yet who could name one from previous generations who was open about his or her orientation? I cannot recall one, and for good reason: the out college president or presidential candidate probably would have paid a heavy price. However, times are changing. There now are at least 25 openly gay presidents, and they are nothing short of pioneers. Their stories forever grab my attention. So two years ago, I set out to interview them for a long-term research project. To date, I’ve met 13, but hope to meet more.
All are remarkable, but there are a few who made a lasting impression: among them, Charles Middleton, from Roosevelt University; Theodora Kalikow, from the University of Maine at Farmington; and David Wain Coon, from Evergreen Valley College in California. They spoke about many topics, and they offered up plenty of career advice for other gay people who hope to become presidents. As gays often make good managers, they say, search committees and boards of trustees would be wise to recognize their promise in advancing institutions. And as a gay man who continues to reach for leadership positions, I got my share of good advice, too. I’m most likely not bound for a presidency, but their words still hold great value for me. Here, I will share what I heard, with hope that others will also learn, regardless of where they happen to be in their careers at the moment.
You may be surprised to learn that most of these presidents waffled about coming out to search consultants, committees and boards. Yet without gay presidential mentors, they were left to their own devices. They found ways to be out and land presidencies, though it was hardly smooth. What I’ve learned from them is that we can be out. But that’s secondary. The first priority is performance, as an administrator or professor, and leading with integrity.
Authenticity: the Cornerstone for Gay Leaders in Academe
Honesty and openness will never fail us. Being out is being authentic.
Hire a gay president and you often get someone who is thoroughly committed to diversity, says Charles Middleton. A gay candidate knows what it means to struggle. You will also certainly get a role model for members of the community, both LGBT and others. This authenticity encourages other people to relax, feel safe and be more open.
Faculty and students will benefit. Presidents who offer the role model of authenticity send a message that others are free to be themselves. It is symbolic and powerful. The president is a public figure and it’s as important for him to be out as it is for a public official like a state senator or governor.
Yet, might authenticity get in the way of fund-raising? Also, how have alumni reacted? "The alumni don’t care if the president is gay," says Theodora Kalikow. "They care that you’re a good president. They care about how you ask them for money. They care about how you follow through after they donate. They don’t care that you’re gay. If they do, you don’t want their money."
Another who oversees a selective liberal arts college agreed: "If the alumni had problems with the fact that there’s a gay president, then they probably wouldn’t return for alumni events. What’s important is bringing energy to campus and running it well."
Advice for Gays Who Seek a Presidency
"Presidential searches work best when the common focus becomes mission-driven, and race, gender, sexual orientation and other factors go by the wayside," says Nancy Martin, an executive search consultant.
To be successful, your search and selection process must be open. If we are at ease with who we are, boards will be as well. Angela Provart, a consultant who helps identify candidates for senior positions at community colleges, said that more and more candidates are out, and they often want assistance with finding a comfortable place to work. In fact, many search consultants agree that it is now more common to meet candidates who are openly gay. Some consultants work comfortably with them. Still, others do not. Some well-meaning but homophobic professionals suggest not coming out at all. Others don’t respond to gay candidates, period.
But it is important to let the search committee know you’re gay. Don’t surprise them, most presidents and consultants warn. A search and selection process must be open. Unless you want to live and work in the closet, everyone involved should be aware of your orientation, and a job offer should be made only with this knowledge.
When you are ready to work with a search firm, express that you are gay or lesbian early on. The consultant can then be prepared to find the most effective ways of including this information in a conversation with the chair of the search committee (without necessarily identifying you). They can often judge whether it is likely to be an issue in the search process.
Determine as accurately as possible whether you will be a match with a particular institution. Get as much information as you can. As David Wain Coon advises, be sure it’s a safe place to be out. "Don’t put yourself at personal or professional risk," he says. "It’s about reading your environment. If I feel a bad vibe after an interview, I won’t work there."
For Search Committees and Boards of Trustees
Board membership carries with it a moral and fiduciary responsibility. Boards must seek out excellence, and voices for the future. Leaders in education must come from the broadest spectrum of our treasure chest of possibilities. If they limit the possible candidates, our nation is diminished and board members will not have fulfilled their trust to their institutions, says consultant Nancy Martin.
Middleton adds that if boards are to attract more talent, they are going to have to focus on accomplishments more than personal characteristics. When they advertise presidential positions, they should state that LGBT candidates are encouraged to apply. They need to make it very clear as early as possible in the search process that sexual orientation per se is not an issue to the board, and they should say that explicitly by including sexual orientation in a list of qualities under which the institution does not discriminate.
When it comes time to invite candidates to campus, the domestic partner should be invited, as well, several presidents agree. "The board should put them through the same process as a heterosexual candidate," Middleton says. "If an institution doesn’t do this, then fine. But the institution should then make it clear that it doesn’t do it for anyone. The more explicit the institution is, the better."
To Gay Leaders Who Want to Advance
"It is important to prove yourself — as a scholar, in administrative roles, as department chair and as a committee chair," says Kalikow. “People need to see how you perform in these positions."
She adds, “It’s also important to have good friends. You need a network of supportive professional persons at your institution. You develop friends in the wider communities that you work in. As a scholar and administrator, those friendship networks are important."
Middleton adds that we need to be very effective and professional in our jobs, and especially reliable. Opportunity is enhanced if we do all these things — and while nothing is guaranteed, our careers are more likely to prosper by making these a priority.
Finally, David Coon reminds us never to hide. “If you hide, people may wonder what else you’re hiding,” he says. “By being out, you’re saying: This is who I am. I’m comfortable and I’m humble.” People may find you more approachable and more trustworthy.
Tips for Gay Presidential Candidates
-Focus on your accomplishments. Your sexuality is important, but it's not the most important feature you bring to the table.
-Make certain the values of an institution are consistent with your own. Take the institution's tolerance temperature.
-Be upfront with the search consultant and with the board. Your search must be open. Candidates who are gay should say so, when the time is right.
-Those campuses that welcome gay leaders are not always obviously welcoming. Some rural or suburban colleges may be more welcoming to gays than colleges located in urban centers with large gay populations.
-If you are comfortable with yourself, the board will be as well.
How Search Committees and Boards of Trustees Can Signal That They Welcome Gay Candidates
-When advertising presidential positions, state that LGBT candidates are encouraged to apply.
-Make it clear as early as possible in the search process that your institution welcomes diversity with regard to sexual orientation.
-When inviting candidates to campus, invite the candidate’s partner as well.
-If your institution provides benefits to same-sex partners, advertise it on your institution’s human resources web page.
-Communicate your institution's values when you advertise professional positions. If you value social justice and challenging the status quo, say so.
Michael Roggow has conducted interviews with many gay college presidents over the last two years. He works for the Office for Academic Affairs and is an adjunct assistant professor of psychology at City University of New York’s Bronx Community College. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. The Daily Illini, December 13, 2010
12 E. Green St., Champaign, IL 61820
Gay community, allies had busy year of activism in C-U
By Joseph Ward
Whether it was to get out the vote locally or honor victims of a sad, national trend, members of the University’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community and its allies had a busy year.
Editors note: This article is part of The Daily Illini's semester in review edition. These articles are meant to round-up the most important news of the Fall 2010 semester.
Kicking off their season of political and social activism, the LGBT community celebrated National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Support groups such as PRIDE, BI-PRIDE and the Women’s Resource Center helped the LGBT Resource Center have a continual presence on the Quad that Monday in order to campaign for equal rights and acceptance of gay students.
The annual event had significant added weight this year according to event organizers, because of the highly publicized string of gay suicides on college and high school campuses across the country this fall.
To remember those who had taken their lives, LGBT members and their allies held a candlelight vigil by the Alma Mater on Oct. 20.
“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,” said Leslie Morrow, director of the LGBT Resource Center.
Students at the event said they hoped their actions, along with similar vigils nationwide, would help usher in a new found acceptance of young gay individuals.
“Hopefully it promotes a call to action,” said Kevin Ng, sophomore in AHS. “I had to honor those who committed suicide.”
And while the gay community sought social change, they also made efforts to influence local, state and national politics and policies. On Oct. 26, the LGBT community and its supporters staged a rally to encourage political activism at the Canopy Club.
“I think there is some resentment within the LGBT community towards the government,” said Nathan Fredrickson, graduate student. “I realize there may be more important things to deal with, like the economy and wars, but it’s frustrating when we get all stirred up with hope when nothing really happens, like with the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ repeal being overturned. But I believe we should still keep working even though things are disappointing.”
LGBT issues were of great political concern, particularly in the race for Illinois Governor. Whereas Republican candidate Bill Brady supported constitutional amendments banning gay marriage, Gov. Pat Quinn — the eventual winner — supported, and eventually signed into law, a bill legalizing civil unions.
5. University of Wyoming News, December 13, 2010
University of Wyoming Rainbow Resource Center Receives Donation
The University of Wyoming's Rainbow Resource Center (RRC) is expanding its library.
During its recent ASPIRE (Association of Special Programs in Region Eight) conference, TRiO, an educational assistance program at UW, designated the RRC to receive funding through its Bring-A Book Community Service Project.
The library offers materials on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer identity, health, politics, spirituality and history, as well as fiction, poetry and memoirs. The library is used extensively for research purposes.
The RRC serves more than 3,000 UW students, faculty, staff and community members.
"It provides a safe and supportive environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, questioning and queer individuals, their families and other allies," says Sandy Straley, UW Student Support Services project coordinator and Wyoming ASPIRE president. "We are thrilled to support this important and unique collection of LGBTQ literature."
More than 240 TRiO professionals and other educational opportunity personnel attended the recent conference. These professionals represent TRiO programs that provide services to increase access to higher education for low-income, first-generation (neither parent holds a college degree), minority students and students with disabilities.
For more information about the RRC, call Dolores Cardona at (307) 766-6228 or Emily Hart at (307) 766-3478.
6. The Salt Lake Tribune, December 14, 2010
90 S. 400 West, Suite 700, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101
MBA students at U. launch gay club
By Rosemary Winters
Student clubs for gay and transgender students have become commonplace at Utah’s colleges and universities. But the University of Utah is believed to be the first in the state to have such a club specifically for business students.
Marc Stillman and J.J. Oliver, two gay students working on their MBAs at the U.’s David Eccles School of Business, have founded the Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Students and Allies in Business, also known as GLBT Alliance. Such clubs already exist at business schools at Stanford, Columbia and elsewhere.
"We hope to be a catalyst to help businesses in the state to create vibrant work environments that will be magnets for diversity," Oliver said in a statement. Many job candidates now look to the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies on their treatment of GLBT employees, to judge an employer’s workplace climate, Oliver noted.
The new club, which has about a dozen members, including many straight students, hopes to boost awareness of academic and professional issues faced by GLBT students and professionals. Some employers offer health insurance benefits to employees’ same-sex partners and some don’t. Nine Utah cities and counties, including Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County, have adopted ordinances that make it illegal to fire someone for being gay or transgender, but those protections are not offered statewide.
"We know that fair treatment for gay and transgender employees is key to overall respect for diversity in the workplace," Brandie Balken, executive director of Equality Utah, said in an interview. "For the school of business to endorse inclusion of all employees makes sense."
The GLBT Alliance wants to host networking events to connect undergraduate and graduate students with Utah employers. In October, members of the group attended the 2010 Reaching Out MBA Conference in Los Angeles. This month, the alliance held a forum on the experiences of GLBT employees and managers in a variety of workplace situations.
"We want to be known as a place that can be an excellent educational home for people from all backgrounds," said Scott Schaefer, associate dean of the David Eccles business school. "We want people to know that if you’re GLBT, we’d love to have you at our school. If you’re LDS, we’d love to have you at our school."
7. Inside Higher Ed, December 15, 2010
1320 18th Street NW, 5th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20036
NCAA Considers Transgender Policy
By David Moltz
A working group of the National Collegiate Athletic Association has proposed an interpretation of existing policies to create paths for transgender athletes to compete on teams. This is the first time that the NCAA, in any capacity, has offered advice on this issue.
The interpretation endorsed by the NCAA’s Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports is nearly identical to a set of recommendations issued in a report earlier this year by the National Center on Lesbian Rights and the Women’s Sports Foundation. The NCAA’s national office staff are “reviewing the interpretation to determine if it sufficiently addresses the issue or if there is a need for further legislation.” If any legislation is needed, then it would be considered by the NCAA’s membership during its upcoming 2011-12 legislative cycle.
Under the proposed interpretation, a male athlete transitioning to female would be permitted to play on a women’s team if "that athlete has undergone testosterone suppression treatment for at least one year.” The member institution would have to provide the NCAA with “written documentation of testosterone suppression for the year of treatment” and “documentation of ongoing monitoring” to be eligible to play on a women’s team.
In the instance of a female athlete transitioning to male, the athlete would be permitted to play on a men’s team at any time. If the athlete wants hormone treatment, however, then the athlete “must get a medical exception for the use of testosterone before being eligible to participate in intercollegiate athletics” because the substance is on the NCAA’s banned drug list.
Athletes who transition socially, but do not seek hormone treatment, also have the option to compete for their “birth-gender team.”
NCAA officials did not return requests for comment about the proposed interpretation. The announcement was posted on the NCAA's website Tuesday, but was removed, and an NCAA official said it had been placed there before it was scheduled to be released. The article said that the association “acknowledged the need to clarify existing guidance, which recommends a student-athlete compete in the gender recognized on his or her state documentation, such as a driver’s license.”
Last month, Kye Allums, a George Washington University junior and player on its women’s basketball team, publicly came out as a transgender man. Allums is believed by many to be the first openly transgender person to play Division I college basketball, though not the first to play on an intercollegiate team.
Transgender advocates believe Allums’s coming out spurred the need for a formal clarification from the NCAA as to how these athletes should be treated. Some experts, however, have been urging action on the issue for years.
“Kye put a face on this,” said Helen J. Carroll, director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ sports project. “It’s not just another issue now.
“I’m very encouraged that the NCAA is moving forward in a positive way including transgendered student-athletes in a way that’s practical and works. It’s a very exciting time for the entire transgendered community.”
Carroll added that this move by the NCAA may make it easier for transgender athletes to publicly come out about their status now that they know how they can maintain their eligibility to play sports.
Nancy Hogshead-Makar, senior director of advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation and professor at Florida Coastal School of Law, echoed Carroll’s praise. Given the NCAA’s work with her organization, she noted that she was not surprised by the association’s move.
“This is very consistent with all of the other things that they’ve done recently,” Hogshead-Makar said. “This is not inconsistent with work the NCAA has done on drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, pregnant athletes, etc. This is consistent with making sure that the most number of people can share in the educational experience called sports. It’s about breaking down barriers.”
8. The Harvard Crimson, December 15, 2010
14 Plympton Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Harvard LGBT Community Upset By Lamont Incident
By Alice E.M. Underwood
Though the damage of 36 LGBT-related books in Lamont Library is no longer being characterized as a hate crime, the incident has brought to light the issue of homophobia on campus and left the LGBT community at Harvard feeling confused and frustrated.
The University’s response to the Lamont incident initially disappointed many members of the Harvard College Queer Students and Allies because of the lack of information, seemingly contradictory facts, and failure to explicitly address the problem of homophobia on campus, according to Co-Chair Emma Q. Wang ’12.
“We first felt on the alert because it was reported as a hate crime, and the LGBTQ community remains sensitive, as issues of homophobia must be comprehensively reported and commented on, especially by those in positions with the most information and influence,” said Wang, who participates in the BGLTQ Working Group that currently explores LGBT life and needs at Harvard.
Upon an investigation in response to a police report that 36 books treating LGBT topics had been damaged with what appeared to be urine in Lamont last month, the University determined Monday morning that the incident was an accident. A library staffer had spilled a bottle of what was reported to be urine on the shelf, according to a statement made by College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds.
Wang, who received several e-mails from strangers expressing their support for the LGBT community in light of the recent incident, said that the College must be forthcoming with clear information to prevent future incidents of this nature, as consistent information is crucial in dealing with sensitive issues. Wang added that the administration is taking steps to further address the lingering concerns of the LGBT community, but she was unable to provide details.
History and Literature Lecturer Timothy P. McCarthy ’93 expressed concern about the handling of the Lamont affair and its effects on the LGBT community.
“At this point, this peculiar incident has produced many more questions than answers, especially in the LGBT community. Until that changes, I think it’s premature to downgrade this from a ‘hate crime’ to an ‘accident,’” McCarthy wrote in an e-mail. “I’m no expert on bodily fluids, but it takes an awful lot of urine to destroy 36 books. Are the bathrooms not working in Lamont?”
QSA Political Co-Chair Sam J. Bakkila ’11-’12 echoed the frustration with the hazy explanation of the incident. He said that the accidental urine spill may be plausible, but wondered why it took over two weeks for the issue to be brought to public attention, why the story changed, and why the initial police report interpreted the issue as vandalism. As a member of the Harvard LGBT community, he said he felt put off to have found out about the issue from the press and not the administration.
“It’s quite unfortunate that so much attention has been given to this incident that was likely an accident, when there were two confirmed anti-LGBT hate crimes on campus earlier this semester,” he said. “Even if this incident was an accident, the fact is that homophobia is an issue that many LGBT students struggle with, even here at Harvard.”
Though pleased with the dedicated LGBT-friendly administrators on campus, Bakkila said that the Lamont occurrence, whether a hate crime or an accident, reflects the rift in communication between the College administration and the queer community and highlights the need for an LGBT center or office with professional support—resources enjoyed by other Ivy League schools.
Some of the media coverage of the story—though highlighting the issues faced by the LGBT community—has “gotten out of hand” since several news sources have expressed skepticism about the accidental nature of the urine spill in Lamont instead of accepting Hammonds’ explanation of the incident.
“Dean Hammonds has been a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community, particularly this year with the BGLTQ working group, and I fully trust her analysis of the incident,” he said.
Though most of the suspicions of a hate crime have been dispelled, the incident has shed light on the ongoing concerns facing the LGBT community, according to QSA Co-Chair Marco Chan ’11, who participates in the BGLTQ Working Group.
“At the end of the day, the incident does bring to mind that we too can be vulnerable to homophobia,” he said. “Going beyond relationships between LGBT students and the rest of the community, I believe that in thinking about inclusion and support, we need to think about how we’re actively supporting each other.”
On Nov. 24, library staff at Lamont discovered a group of damaged books that covered subjects including lesbian and gay issues and same-sex marriage, along with a bottle assumed to have contained urine. On Friday, library personnel reported the incident to the College and Harvard University Police Department as vandalism, and the affair was subsequently investigated as a hate crime due to the subject matter of the affected books.
Hammonds revealed on Monday morning that given the accidental nature of the incident, it will no longer be treated as a hate crime. She added that Harvard College Library plans to replace all 36 damaged books as soon as possible.
“I believe this is an important new fact in the investigation and warrants my sharing it with you immediately. While we should not minimize the seriousness of this incident, HUPD is no longer classifying this incident as a hate crime,” Hammonds wrote in her statement.
In a written statement to The Crimson, Hammonds elaborated saying that the library personnel only reported the incident to the police for insurance purposes.
“As a result, the filing did not need to be immediate,” Hammonds wrote on the two-week delay.
Staff writer Alice E.M. Underwood can be reached at email@example.com.
9. The New York Times, December 17, 2010
620 Eighth Avenue, New York, NY 10018
Lesbian Coach’s Exit From Belmont U. Has Nashville Talking
By Campbell Robertson
NASHVILLE - The day before Thanksgiving break, the members of the Belmont University women’s soccer team gathered in the locker room after a strength training session. Their coach, Lisa Howe, had something to say.
She told them that she was a lesbian, and that she and her partner of eight years, the team’s former assistant coach, had decided to have a baby.
“She said she wanted to talk about her personal life one time only and there would never be a discussion again,” recalled Erica Carter, a senior on the team.
But the topic was far from finished. It continued the next week when the players learned that their coach was leaving her job. And it has swelled into a full-blown existential debate at this fast-growing private university.
Belmont, once a small Baptist university whose students were mostly commuters, has had a remarkable decade. Student enrollment has roughly doubled since 2000, and 10 new buildings have gone up. A college of entertainment and music business, the university’s showpiece, was established in 2003, and next year Belmont will open a law school. The university has rapidly risen in national rankings, and scored a high profile coup in 2008 as host of one of the presidential debates.
But the growth has not come without growing pains.
Three years ago, the university severed its 56-year-old ties with the state Baptist convention after a debate about whether the board could include non-Baptist trustees. But the university promised to remain Christian, if nondenominational.
Still, some see a continuing identity crisis — on the one hand, the university has a long reputation as conservative and Christian, a reputation safeguarded by the board of trustees, which includes several Baptist ministers; on the other hand, Belmont has aggressively earned a reputation as a progressive, artsy place to study the music business.
“What are we trying to do?” asked Cassidy Hodges, a senior. “It’s kind of back and forth, push and pull, between what we want at the university.”
That identity crisis is now in full public view.
The university will not comment on the circumstances of Ms. Howe’s departure, nor will Ms. Howe, citing contractual reasons. They refer to her departure as a “mutual agreement.”
Ms. Howe did say in an interview that her decision to become a mother is what prompted her to talk to the players, many of whom knew she was a lesbian anyway. Ms. Howe’s partner, Wendy Holleman, left Belmont in 2008 to coach at a private high school; she is due with the couple’s first child in May.
“By continuing to hide, I felt like that was the wrong message to send,” said Ms. Howe, 41, who describes herself as a churchgoing Christian. “I thought maybe they assumed I was ashamed or that I was doing something wrong because it wasn’t coming straight from me.”
Ms. Carter said most of the players were excited about the baby. But the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Ms. Howe called Ms. Carter and told her that the father of one player had complained over the weekend. Ms. Howe also said that she had been told by the athletic director that morning that if she did not resign, she would be fired, Ms. Carter said.
Ms. Howe had led the team to two conference championships, but the 2010 season was a disappointment, and on Dec. 1, Sari Lin, the team captain, asked the athletic director, Mike Strickland, if that was the cause for Ms. Howe’s departure.
Mr. Strickland told her that team performance was not the issue, Ms. Lin said, but that the baby “was going to be a problem” and would conflict with the university’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” approach.
The story has dominated headlines in Nashville, though the facts remain unclear. Students staged protests on campus. Members of the faculty passed a resolution of support for gay faculty members and students. Nashville metro council members introduced a bill to rescind an agreement that allowed Belmont to use a city park for a soccer field. The state Baptist convention commended Belmont officials for appearing to take a stand that “respected their Christian mission as well as their heritage.”
Nothing resonated quite like the surprise statement by Mike Curb, a trustee emeritus of the university and the deep-pocketed donor for whom the college of music business is named.
“It’s time for Belmont to change,” Mr. Curb, a prominent record executive and successful Nascar owner and sponsor, told The Tennessean newspaper. “Belmont has to decide whether they want to be a national, recognized university, particularly with their school of music business, or they want to be a church.”
A day later, Robert Fisher, the university’s president, made his first public comments, declaring that sexual orientation was not a consideration in hiring, promotion, salary or dismissal decisions at Belmont.
While many welcomed this statement, others said that the issue seemed to be whether gay faculty members could openly be in relationships and start families.
“We’ve always had gay faculty as long as I’ve been here,” said Michael Awalt, a professor of philosophy who has been at Belmont since 1970. But, he said, “it’s been a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ kind of mentality.”
In 2001, after a business instructor named Michael Burcham was outed by a student, he was told he would need to defend himself in front of the board. Mr. Burcham, who now teaches at Vanderbilt University, said that he did not feel that the faculty, students or even the administration had a problem with his sexual orientation, but that he sensed the board would not approve. He resigned.
In a joint interview, Dr. Fisher, who has been the engine behind the university’s decade of rapid growth, and Marty Dickens, the chairman of the board, said the Belmont community needed to have a serious discussion before making any official changes or clarifications of its policy.
Dr. Fisher has met with some of the faculty and with a gay Christian student group whose requests for recognition have been denied.
He said he welcomed the discussion. But, he added: “I would have envisioned this kind of discussion being a lot more measured and taking a lot longer and probably producing a lot less heat in a typical, structured university approach. But we’ve got what we’ve got.”
Asked if having openly gay faculty and staff members could create a conflict with the university’s Christian character, Mr. Dickens said, “there could be.”
“But everything needs to be taken in a proper context, and we are continuing as a university to dialogue on all of these issues,” he said.
Mr. Dickens also said that this controversy had little to do with the university’s recent growth.
But others said that a debate like this was bound to arrive at some point.
“We feel at Belmont that we’ve moved academically to a very different place,” Mr. Awalt said. “I’m not sure a lot of other things at the university have fully caught up.”
10. The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 17, 2010
1255 Twenty-Third St, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20037
Gay and Lesbian College Presidents Go Public With Web Video
By Paul Fain
Click link for video.
A small but growing group of openly gay and lesbian college presidents will make its official debut at a March meeting of the American Council on Education. But the group publicly introduced itself on Friday with a Web video, which features several of its members and their partners.
"I'm black, and I'm a woman. But what you don't see is that I am a very proud lesbian president of a university," says Charlita L. Shelton, president of the University of the Rockies. "And my coming-out process could not have been better because I had someone who supported me, who's sitting right next to me."
Lynne Schumal, Ms. Shelton's partner, then says: "And most importantly, we're an out and proud lesbian couple."
The group, LGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education, was created at an August meeting in Chicago, and now includes about 25 member presidents. Its founders say they hope to provide professional support for members, as well as a possible platform for future advocacy. Leadership is needed on rights, scholarship, and advocacy, according to the group.
During the four-minute video, which was filmed during a second meeting of the group, held in November in Los Angeles, members give advice to other gay and lesbian leaders in higher education.
"Get and keep a sense of humor - it will serve you well," says Charles R. Middleton, president of Roosevelt University and a founder. "I did, and I became an out, bearded, bald, gay president. Who knew?"
While there are many openly gay and lesbian administrators at the vice-president and dean levels, progress has been slow at the top. The group hopes to change that.
"We're making this video for you, so that you know who we are, what we're doing, and as we proudly assume our rightful leadership role in United States higher education," says Neal King, president of Antioch University-Los Angeles. "We're here to stay. We want to get to know you. Join us."
11. The Tennessean, December 18, 2010
1100 Broadway, Nashville, TN 37203
Belmont faculty wants sexual orientation added to nondiscrimination policy
By Jennifer Brooks
Belmont University faculty members are calling on the school to adopt an official policy that would protect gay students, teachers and staff from discrimination.
In a closed-door session Friday, the faculty Senate passed two resolutions, one calling for sexual orientation to be added to the campus's nondiscrimination policy; another calling for the faculty, student and staff handbooks to include language that prohibits harassment.
The vote comes after soccer coach Lisa Howe left the university shortly after telling her players that she and her partner, former assistant Belmont soccer coach Wendy Holleman, are expecting a baby in May.
The faculty Senate unanimously approved a resolution in support of gay members of their community. A copy of the resolution language won't be made available until Jan. 10, when the Senate returns to approve the minutes of Friday's meeting. Howe's departure sparked campus protests, national headlines and a pledge from Belmont President Bob Fisher that the university does not base hiring and firing decisions on sexual orientation.
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.