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Verdict in Dharun Ravi’s Trial

By now you’ve heard about the verdict in Dharun Ravi’s trial: he was convicted of intimidation bias, invasion of privacy, and tampering with evidence. Do you think this is the correct outcome? I’ve read a couple articles on this tragic incident which were very thought-provoking, so I’ll re-post them here for your perusal.

I appreciated this commentary by Dan Savage (yup, the dude from the sex advice column, Savage Love), which he re-linked from his Twitter account in light of the verdict. Basically, Savage feels Ravi is bearing the burden of our society’s issues with sexual orientation. It’s not that Ravi’s behavior wasn’t self-centered and reprehensible, but he’s a product of the society in which he lives.

This New Yorker article on Tyler Clementi and Dharun Ravi is lengthy (it’s a New Yorker article, after all) but it’s incredibly insightful (again, it’s a New Yorker article) and ultimately heart-breaking. This piece seems to point the finger at a lack of communication between the roommates; they scarcely exchanged five sentences during their time together. Instead, Ravi and Clementi Googled each other, made assumptions, and never got to know each other as whole human beings; just “types.”

I think both of these articles have an element of truth; the thesis of one doesn’t cancel out the other. What do you think? Have you seen other thoughtful commentaries?

Read All About It

Welcome to a new week and a new Inside HigherEd. This time our stories include: the importance of the dining hall, changing the Greek system as we know it, and asking potential undergraduates about their sexual identities.

WHAT STUDENTS DON’T KNOW: A two-year anthropological study of student research habits shows that students are in dire need of help from librarians, but are loath to ask for it.

BREAKING BREAD: Study finds interaction across races in the dining hall may be more important than what takes place in the classroom when students evaluate campus climate.

A CALL TO END PLEDGING: Cornell president says it is time for a much broader change to the Greek system than just banning hazing.

NOT GUILTY … AND NOT LONG EMPLOYED: Jury rejects battery charge against Valdosta professor who shut a student’s laptop. He’s been cleared to teach, but told this will be his last year.

THEY ASK. YOU NEEDN’T TELL: Elmhurst, in possible first, adds optional question on sexual orientation/identity to undergraduate application.

Read All About It

Good morning, and welcome to this week’s Inside HigherEd headlines! This time, read an article on the oft-rumored (but never enacted) proposals to end the Greek system, or a story about the Texas House bill requiring public colleges with student centers for GLBTQ students to also provide centers for S (straight) students.

EQUAL TIME FOR ‘TRADITIONAL VALUES’: Texas House passes budget bill to require any public college with student center on “alternative” sexuality to also have a center on the opposite side.

RENEWED FIGHT ON FRATERNITIES: A series of incidents has led to more calls to reform or eliminate the Greek system, but don’t hold your breath for radical shifts.

NO ROOM FOR BOOKS: U. of Denver’s plan to remove 80 percent of volumes from its library upsets some professors and renews debate over how best to store and share information.

WHOSE TOP 10%? Aspen Institute ranks top 120 community colleges and plans $1 million award for one of them, but some question its methodology and purpose.

EXPANDING LANGUAGE BY (ONLINE) DEGREE: To broaden language offerings amid massive budget cuts, Pennsylvania higher ed system says it will offer distance degrees in Arabic.


Why I Wore Purple on October 20, 2010

I am wearing a purple shirt today, which is not a surprise since East Carolina University’s colors are purple and gold. Yet, today is special. I am wearing purple in remembrance of all the victims of bullying in our schools, especially the victims of bullying based on sexual orientation or gender expression.

Bullying is not a new problem or one isolated to just K-12 education; it is just like so many issues in our busy world, an issue that has bubbled up to the surface due to a series of tragedies. Yet, it is an issue that bring backs powerful memories for me.

The series of gay suicides in the past few months has given much needed attention to the plight of many GLBT youth in our education institutions and communities. While not all are bullied or thrown out of their homes, the numbers are surprising. More than 85% of GLBT youth report being harassed because of their sexual or gender identity, and over 20% report being physically attacked. The suicide rate for LGBT students continues to be three or four times higher than that of their straight counterparts, and in some parts of the country GLBT runaways may comprise up to 40% of the teen homeless population.

These numbers are the surface of the stories that people are sharing to help provide positive role models to GLBT youth. The wearing of purple today is just one of those efforts, also there is a YouTube campaign called “It Gets Better.” The online effort has a range of people from famous to regular people sharing their stories of often a troubled and challenging growing up period, and now a life filled with so much more. Read more

Why National Coming Out Day Is Still Important

On Monday, October 11 members of the GLBT community and their allies will celebrate National Coming Out Day (NCOD).  Since 1987, this day has been celebrated on many of our campuses. You can visit the HRC page for a brief history of NCOD. With significantly increased visibility of GLBT people and their issues, some may ask why is it still necessary to celebrate coming out?

I have a few reasons why I feel that NCOD remains an important day to be acknowledged and celebrated on our campuses.

Campus Pride recently released it’s 2010 State of Higher Education for LGBT People report. Highlights of the report indicate that almost one-quarter (23%) of LGBT staff, faculty, and students reported experiencing harassment; more than half of all LGBT faculty, students, and staff hide their sexual identity (43%) or gender identity (63%) to avoid intimidation; and LGBT respondents were twice as likely to be targets of derogatory remarks (61%), stared at (37%), and singled out as the “resident authority” regarding LGBT issues due to their identity (36%) when compared with their heterosexual counterparts. This research clearly points out that not all of our institutions are welcoming or safe for all of our students.

The news has been full of reports recently about the consequences of bullying and young individuals struggling to come to terms with their sexuality.  Most recently, we’ve seen this at Rutgers with the suicide of a freshman after his roommate and another student secretly broadcast him and another man together in his residence hall room.

Most of us are just into the start of a new academic year and we’ve also been inundated with reports of students in middle school and high school that have taken their lives due to bullying and discrimination. Those students who do manage to make it out of this very difficult time come to our colleges and universities with baggage full of pain and are looking for somewhere that they can be themselves. Read more

You Were Asking: ACUHO-I GLBTQ Resources

ACUHO-I’s listserv has been discussing campus GLBTQ resources in light of Rutgers freshman Tyler Clementi’s suicide. These are the items available in the library catalog on supporting GLBTQ students.

The Bisexual Student Experience: Perspectives on Being Bisexual in the Residence Halls
Related files available. Click title for access.
June 2010
PDF of a PowerPoint presentation; 16 slides
Computer File
2010 Annual Conference

Creating Spiritually Enriching Opportunities for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Students on Campus
Related files available. Click title for access.
PowerPoint, 20 slides.
2007 Annual Conference

The Role of Student Leaders as Reporters, Supporters, and Educators
Related files available. Click title for access.
June 2010
PDF of a PowerPoint; PDF of a Word file.
Computer File
2010 Annual Conference

Ellen, Will, Grace, Isaiah & Prop 8
Pop Culture & Sexual Orientation
June 28, 2009
2009 Annual Conference

Waking Up from a Nightmare
Related files available. Click title for access.
PowerPoint, 21 slides

2008 Annual Conference

Looking Over the Rainbow and Understanding Its Dreams
Related files available. Click title for access.
PowerPoint, 28 slides
2008 Annual Conference

The Residence Life Curriculum: Intentional Co-Curricular Educational Programming
Related files available. Click title for access.
October, 2009
PDF of a PowerPoint file; 16 slides. PDF of a Word file; 2 pages.
Computer File

2009 Living-Learning Conference

Transgender 101… And Then Some:
Related files available. Click title for access.

University Housing and Transgender Students
Issues and Practices
Related files available. Click title for access.
PowerPoint; 38 slides
2007 IT Conference

Understanding the “T” in Transition
Is Your Institution Ready for Transgender Students?
Related files available. Click title for access.
PowerPoint, 45 slides
PDF of a PowerPoint

Gender Roles
Educating the Nurturer, Rethinking the Boys’ Club and Creating an Inclusive Home
Related files available. Click title for access.
Jan/Feb 2010
Article; 8 pages
Talking Stick
Volume 27, Number 3

Read All About It

This week on Inside HigherEd, tragedy at Rutgers illustrates a larger problem with giving LGBTQ students the resources they need; the fate of student health plans and admissions employees think about their image.

DEADLY WARNING: Rutgers student’s suicide after alleged gay taunting shows that, despite a growth in resources, some students don’t get help and there’s still plentiful debate about how to help them.

THE FUTURE FOR STUDENT HEALTH PLANS: Without clarity from the Obama administration, campus officials are unsure of whether or how their insurance offerings will survive.

FOR-PROFITS BATTLE ON MANY FRONTS: Sector turns to ads, rallies and big Washington names to fight Congress and the Obama administration.

SAVIORS OR SELLOUTS? At national gathering of admissions leaders, enrollment managers try to redefine the way they are viewed, stressing their role in retention as much as recruitment.

A CALL FOR OPEN TEXTBOOKS: Lobbying for cheaper books, a student activist group throws its weight behind an open-source model.

What Does Prop 8′s Reversal Mean?

How will the overturning of Proposition 8 affect our campuses?

I spent a good deal of time on Wednesday anxiously awaiting the decision from California regarding the challenge to Proposition 8. I reflected back to the similar feeling I had on election day almost two years ago when I was watching the results come in from the voting. As I was waiting for the decision to be made public, I started thinking about the impact that will hit our campuses regardless of which way the decision would go.

Many members of our campus LGBT populations and their allies have had to endure a lot leading up to the vote on Prop 8 and in the following years of public debate and opinion sharing nationally and on all of our campuses. People have had to defend and explain why the acknowledgment of same-sex relationships matters and had to endure almost daily news reports and opinion pieces debating the pros and cons of this issue.

Today was a big victory for many who have been watching this situation in California. It is a time to celebrate. But it’s also a time to get ready for the next wave of debate and public opinion. A lot of college students are politically engaged and elections can tend to call our students to action. The upcoming midterm election should a time when are students are talking about local and national issues and same-sex marriage will definitely remain in the forefront of a number of political campaigns. For many members of the LGBT community, it can be depressing, infuriating, or even downright hurtful constantly having one’s lifestyle publicly debated.

We need to find ways to support our students and campus communities on both sides of this issue as the debate rages on. We need to encourage our students to continue to have conversations and to find ways to do so both authentically and respectfully at the same time. We should do all that we can to continue to provide safe spaces to share their thoughts and opinions on this issue. A quick scan of Facebook updates, Twitter posts, or a listen in the dining hall and it’s easy to see that our students are paying attention to this.

What can we do to be there for all of our students as the debate continues?