Thursday, January 27, 2011

QNOC Digest 2011.01.09

Queer News On Campus [QNOC] Articles Digest
For the week ending 2011.01.09

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

Archives of the QNOC Digest can be found at

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

1. North by Northwestern - University forms team to handle discrimination
2. The Florida Times-Union - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness Days coming to UNF
3. Daily Record - Rutgers University hosting conference on gay youth suicide risks
4. The Daily of the University of Washington - Repealing the silence
5. The Providence Journal - URI hires first associate vice president to focus on diversity
6. The University of Michigan Spectrum Center - Doin it for 40 Years

1. North by Northwestern, January 2, 2011
PO Box 1597, Evanston, IL 60201
University forms team to handle discrimination
By Camille Beredjick

Derrick Clifton knows what it’s like to feel “different.”

He says he comes from a multicultural background “with regard to race, class, sexual orientation and religion.” A junior in the School of Communication, he’s committed to honoring his identity; he attends interfaith events on campus and works in the LGBT Resource Center.

Clifton, an African-American man, was working out with a friend at SPAC in November, when he noticed an older white male staring at him with contempt. The man approached him, spat at him, and walked away. Clifton missed dinner waiting for the police; he’s pressing charges for assault.

Faculty members are working together to create a resource to help students who have gone through similar experiences.

“Regardless of whether or not it was hate-related…whatever it is, that may happen to somebody else, or it may be a worse incident,” he says.

Doris Dirks, coordinator of the LGBT Resource Center, and other members of Northwestern’s faculty have been working for the past year to implement a bias incident reporting team (BIRT) on campus to make it easier for students to deal with bias-related incidents.

The goal, she says, is to create a more systematic way for students to report and follow through on bias incidents. The team would serve as a resource for students to find all the support needed to deal with a bias incident or hate crime.

“There should really just be a centralized place where, if you are a target of a bias incident or a hate crime, this is where you go,” Dirks says. “As a community, to have a bias incident response team sends a signal…that it’s a serious thing that the institution values.”

As the system stands now, students who have experienced bias incidents contact University Police and, if they so choose, an organization like the LGBT Resource Center, the Women’s Center or Multicultural Student Affairs, which may provide resources for the group they identify with.

Dirks says students can easily be overwhelmed by the number of decisions they have to make in a short amount of time — whom to contact, how to follow through, where to find support and acceptance. A bias incident response team would eliminate the confusion, incorporating links to University Police, representatives from various campus organizations and qualified individuals to assist with victim support and follow-up.

Ideally, she says, a victim could report a bias incident via a hotline or a web site. Within 24 hours, the team would contact the victim and discuss options. Tracking down the perpetrator, seeking legal justice or other follow-up procedures would be completely at the victim’s discretion, Dirks says, as everyone will want to deal with an incident differently.

“Having a clear procedure in place would speak to creating a campus climate where people feel valued and safe,” she says. “Then you know that something’s going to be responded to quickly, addressed quickly and resolved quickly.”

Dirks has researched reporting system mechanisms at other colleges, such as Indiana University, for general guidelines and ideas. Indiana launched its first team in 1988 in response to student protests after an African-American student was physically and verbally assaulted while jogging on campus. The school now has four separate teams – one each for incidents relating to gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.

Pamela Freeman served on a committee that founded Indiana’s first reporting team, known as the TRUST program. As the Associate Dean of Students and Director of the Office of Student Ethics and Anti-Harassment Programs, she still works closely with the TRUST program. She says she agrees that the victim should play an important role in working through a bias incident.

“We let the victim take the lead,” she says. “Especially if [the perpetrator is] in their peer group, they may not want a whole lot to be done.”

She says the TRUST program is careful not to appear too judicial or punitive. They try not to use the term “hate crime” when incidents clearly aren’t criminal, and when they are, the victim is still in charge of determining what steps should be taken.

“Most of the incidents we get involve something verbal,” she says. “They could easily be described as freedom of expression — it doesn’t quite rise to the level of a hate crime, but it’s still very disturbing.”

Campus Pride, a nonprofit organization working to make colleges safer for LGBT students, hosted a webinar on November 17 about the benefits and technicalities of creating a BIRT. About ten Northwestern students, faculty and administrators, mostly those who have already been working to create the BIRT, sat in to listen.

The webinar moderators, Greg Miraglia and Shane Windmeyer, spoke about the successes of reporting teams at other institutions. Both shared words of wisdom from their experiences working on projects related to campus diversity; Windmeyer is the founder and coordinator of, and Miraglia is a dean at Napa Valley College with experience in law enforcement.

“A team sends a message against hate,” Windmeyer says. “Having a visible presence of a team on campus can go a long way in prevention itself.”

Dirks says she thinks representation at the webinar was good; it shows people from different circles of campus are interested in helping. Though the details aren’t entirely worked out, she’s hoping there’s enough momentum for the team to be up and running as early as this month.

The next step is working with administration, particularly the president and the dean of students, to launch the program. Much of the preliminary work is done, Dirks says. Though there are imperfections to iron out, the team is ready to move forward — with some help.

Freeman says administrative cooperation has been crucial in keeping the TRUST program going at Indiana, particularly because of the program’s limited power as a judicial force.

“We derive more power through influence because we’re free to recommend anything and we have established a sense of respect and trust on the part of the administration,” she says. “They often rely on us.”

As for Northwestern, Clifton says he thinks creating a BIRT should be a priority. At the very least, he says, students from all backgrounds need to feel safe on campus.

“It’s very important that students are aware that they have administrative support via policy and moral support,” he says. “[A BIRT would] help us create a culture where multiple identities and multiple cultures feel that they have a safe space everywhere on Northwestern’s campus, and not just in select circles.”

The precise shape and structure of Northwestern’s bias incident reporting team are still in the works, incorporating considerations for students’ privacy, security and general peace of mind. How it will affect campus culture is still up in the air.

2. The Florida Times-Union, January 3, 2011
P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL 32231
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness Days coming to UNF
By Dan Scanlan

A series of workshops and events highlight Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Awareness Days, set for Monday, Jan. 24, through Thursday, Jan. 27, at the University of North Florida.

Hosted by the university's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center, the educational programs are designed to increase education regarding gender and sexuality as well as increase visibility of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally communities on campus.

Events include:

-"Fearless" at 3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24, at the Student Union, Building 58W, Ballroom D - Photographer Jeff Sheng will discuss his photography exhibit of more than 100 high school and collegiate athletes who are self-identified themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The exhibit is on display from 7 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Sunday, from Monday, Jan. 24, until Friday, Feb. 25, in the Carpenter Library, Building 12.
-"Gay? Fine by Me": 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, in the Student Union Osprey Plaza - The "Gay? Fine by Me" T-shirt campaign brings visibility to allies of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
-"Bullied" documentary: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, Robinson Theatre - A documentary that chronicles one student's ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies, followed by a question-and-answer segment.
-"Queers in the Spotlight": 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26, Student Union, Building 58W, Room 3804 - A discussion series on healthy living for the LGBT and ally communities, discussing media portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.
-"Out in the Workplace": noon Thursday, Jan. 27, Student Union, Building 58W, North Star Board Room - A panel of LGBT professionals in Jacksonville will speak with students about career and professional concerns as well as personal experiences of being "out" in the workplace. This event is sponsored by UNF Career Services and the UNF LGBT Resource Center.

For more information about Awareness Days, log onto

3. Daily Record, January 6, 2011
6 Century Drive, Parsippany, NJ 07054
Rutgers University hosting conference on gay youth suicide risks
The Associated Press

SOMERSET, N.J. (AP) — A conference focusing on suicide prevention among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people is being held Thursday in New Jersey, where the suicide of a Rutgers University freshman in September cast an international spotlight on the issue.

The conference theme was chosen before 18-year-old Tyler Clementi killed himself after his roommate had allegedly used a webcam to spy on him during a liaison with another man, organizers say.

The conference is focusing on the crucial role that families and other support systems can play in helping prevent suicide and other health problems among LGBT youth, according to organizers.

Keynote speaker Caitlin Ryan, the director of the Family Acceptance Project, has researched how a family's reaction to an adolescent coming out can affect a young person's physical and mental health.

"The strong message should be that sexual orientation is a part of human development, and we really need to have education across all systems about supporting gay people," Ryan said. "Because LGBT young people are coming out at younger ages, there's a general lack of information in the systems that work with them."

The conference agenda includes topics ranging from the difference that family acceptance can make in a young LGBT person's life, to the role of schools in preventing or intervening when harassment of LGBT youth occurs.

The conference is being organized by the Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth Program, based at New Jersey's University of Medicine & Dentistry, with support from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology and the Multicultural Family Institute.

Donna Amundson, program manager of the Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth Program, said conference attendees include administrators from the legal and child welfare systems, schools, health care professionals, law enforcement and academics as well as those the conference is focusing on helping: families and young people.

"We know that one of the protective factors for suicide is family and peer connections," Amundson said. "The more that you can strengthen that, the better it's going to be; that's why we want to help these families help their kids embrace their identity and sexuality and help them to thrive."

4. The Daily of the University of Washington, January 6, 2011
Repealing the silence
By Suzanna Parikh

Leaders from the University of Washington’s Army ROTC program, which has gained popularity in recent years, said they expect little change to their programs due to the implementation of the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) that passed last month.

“Nothing changes for us,” said Maj. Stephen Frank, associate professor of military science. “Army core values are fair and equal treatment for everyone. … It doesn’t affect how we do business.”

After much heated debate, Congress agreed to repeal the DADT policy in late December. President Barack Obama cemented the decision four days later, signing the bill into law on Dec. 22.

For Obama, who promised the repeal of DADT during the 2008 presidential election, this comes as a major political victory. Since the establishment of the policy in 1993, gay and lesbian soldiers have been unable to serve openly in the U.S. military, resulting in the overall discharge of about 13,000 people, according to The Washington Post.

Frank not only expects little to change, he also said that with the repeal of DADT, he hopes more people might see the program in a “better light.” Members of the gay and lesbian community at the UW too are optimistic about the change, such as Emily Juhre, a member of the campus GLBTC advocacy group, SOLE.

“I think it’s going to present more of an opportunity for people who would otherwise not have an interest in the military,” Juhre said of the repeal.

The UW’s Army ROTC won’t be alone: the UW’s Naval ROTC and Air Force ROTC, too, will have to comply with the former law’s repeal.

U.S. Army Maj. and associate professor of military science Brett Rubio said the UW’s Army ROTC program has done its best to foster a community of openness and diversity.

“We are all-inclusive; we want a variety of viewpoints in our classroom,” Rubio said. “We want people from all walks of life and foster a welcoming environment in our classes.”

The Army ROTC program, established at the UW in 1916, has gained popularity during recent years, with approximately 50 students currently in the program. Many students also take the ROTC introductory course, Military Science and Leadership Development, as an elective.

In autumn of 2005, 22 students were enrolled in the class. This past fall, 106 students were signed up for the class. Out of this number, approximately 13 students were actually contracted at the time, meaning that they are part of the ROTC program. Frank encourages interested students to give the ROTC a chance, and is always open to a dialogue with anyone interested to determine if the program would be a good fit.

The UW ROTC program is one of 489 programs in the nation. Although it is too soon to tell the full effects of this decision, many remain hopeful that it will encourage the expansion and reimplementation of ROTC programs at colleges around the nation.

ROTC programs on campus allow students to train for future careers with the U.S. military while completing their college educations. To encourage this, the organization Advocates for ROTC promotes the re-establishment of the military program at colleges that once had it.

DADT was one of the major factors that influenced schools, such as Harvard, Columbia and Yale, to remove ROTC programs from their campuses due to what they considered to be discriminatory practices.

There is still a long way to go before the repeal of the policy will take full effect, as the Obama administration wants to ensure that the new policy will not have a negative effect on the military, with the aid of a recent Pentagon study concerning gays in the military. In addition, the Pentagon has created an 87-page implementation plan for the repeal of DADT, which may take months to fully enact. The repeal will be officially implemented 60 days after the Obama administration decides that the military is prepared for the policy change.

Frank welcomes anyone who is interested in possibly pursuing a career in the army.

“We find out if [the ROTC] is a good fit,” he said, “and if it works out, we make them second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.”

Reach Co-Copy Chief Suzanna Parikh at

5. The Providence Journal, January 7, 2011
75 Fountain St., Providence, RI 02902
URI hires first associate vice president to focus on diversity
By Gina Macris

SOUTH KINGSTOWN Kathryn A. Friedman, former executive director of diversity and equity at the University of Vermont, began work Tuesday at the University of Rhode Island in the new position of associate vice president for community, equity, and diversity.

URI President David M. Dooley announced Thursday that she will report directly to him and supervise the Women’s Center; Multicultural Center; Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual Transgender Center; the Bias Incident Response Team; and the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity.

“This position is critical to achieving our goals,” Dooley said in a statement.

He said he envisions URI as an “exemplary community built on a foundation of diversity and equity,” which “must become ingrained in the full array of work of the entire university.”

The appointment fulfills one of several promises made by URI last year to end a two-week, round-the-clock sit-in of the library’s 24-hour room by about a dozen GLBT students trying to call attention to anti-gay bias on campus.

6. The University of Michigan Spectrum Center
3200 Michigan Union, 530 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109

(Ann Arbor, MI) - The Spectrum Center, The University of Michigan’s office focusing on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, will kick off Doin it for 40 Years, a year-long celebration of forty years of LGBT activism, with a Birthday Party hosted at the University Of Michigan Museum Of Art on January 10, 2011. Doors will open at 6pm and the program will begin at 7pm, followed by live music, student created art work, catering by University Catering, and birthday cake. Join us to receive Spectrum Center 40th Anniversary gift giveaways and to hear about the many events to come over the next year.

Throughout the Doin it for 40 Years celebration the Spectrum Center is collaborating with Schools and Colleges across the University and many units within the Division of Student Affairs to put on a multidimensional program that has something for everyone. Highlights include a monthly film series with featured directors, musical performances, a health panel series, youth dialogues, and keynote speakers and entertainers.

In conjunction with Doin it for 40 Years, the University of Michigan has also been chosen as the 2011 host of the Midwest Bisexual Lesbian Gay Transgender Ally College Conference (MBLGTACC). This is the largest student-led LGBT conference in the nation and will be taking place on campus from Friday, February 25 through Sunday, February 27. Featured speakers and entertainers include Mara Keisling, Executive Director of the National Center for Transgender Equality; Mandy Carter, founder of the National Black Justice Coalition; and P.J. Serrano, President of Puerto Rico Para Tod@s. For more information on MBLGTACC please visit

When the office opened its doors in 1971, then known as the Human Sexuality Office, it was the first office in the nation to service LGBT college students. Throughout the year we will take the opportunity to celebrate the experiences current students and alumni have had with the Spectrum Center. Michigan Student Assembly President, Chris Armstrong describes why he will take time to celebrate the Spectrum Center’s 40th Anniversary, “The Spectrum Center is truly a place where out LGBT leaders can grow and develop. It connects students to the many resources that are around them and shows them the larger Michigan community they are a part of. If I had not found Spectrum my first week on campus, I would not have succeeded on campus the way I did.” This year of events not only celebrates this event on our campus, but celebrates student services focused on gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation throughout the nation. For more information on Spectrum Center programs and the Doin it for 40 Years program of events visit us at , email us at, or call us at 734-763-4186.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment