The Vol. 114, Issue 18
Thursday February 28, 2013
THE UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND’S STUDENT NEWSPAPER
Would you sue over a bad grade? And how much do grades matter?
UP baseball player turns into country music star.
Preview of baseball’s big game against UC Irvine.
Recent alum shares his experiences with discrimination at UP
All photos by Jackie Jeffers | THE BEACON
Top: Students supporting the Redefine Purple Pride movement show their new tattoos of equality symbols. From left to right: Maraya Sullivan, Casey Andersen and Erin Spies. Bottom: Students show the signs they made for today’s demonstration.
Online Watch for photos and video of tomorrow’s Redefine Purple Pride demonstration.
‘WE ALL WANT SOMETHING BETTER’ Social media becomes tool for pushing to change the Nondiscrimination Policy
Philip Ellefson Staff Writer firstname.lastname@example.org Laura Frazier News Editor email@example.com Over the past several days, UP students, faculty and staff have harnessed the power of social media to compel the administration to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the Nondiscrimination Policy. The Redefine Purple Pride campaign is using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Change.org, an online petition website, to garner support for the movement both on and off campus. After one day, the petition had 400 supporters. As of Wednesday night, it had more than 1,200. “All the numbers cannot be ignored because each person who
signs it is asking for their voice to be heard,” said sophomore Matthew Gadbois, who wrote the petition. Organizers of the campaign have also planned a demonstration in the academic quad today from noon to 2 p.m. Although the Nondiscrimination Policy has been an issue for several years, the outburst of activism was triggered by President Fr. Bill Beauchamp’s remarks at the Fireside Chat Feb. 18 in which he reaffirmed the administration’s opposition to changing the Nondiscrimination Policy. Social Media Power On Feb. 24, Gadbois posted the online petition addressed to Beauchamp and the Board of Regents urging them to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the Nondiscrimination Policy. In addition to supporters’ names, personal messages from some supporters appear on the petition.
“I am a gay student at UP and I want to be able to hold my boyfriend’s hand without him looking around to make sure nobody will see us,” freshman Griffin Hay wrote on the petition. Several faculty members also signed the petition.
“Yes, we want the Nondiscrimination Policy to change, but this demonstration is for all students that have felt silenced from all groups. This is about us all coming together as a community to say we all want something better.” Shanay Healy Senior “Universities, as champions of intellectual freedom and ethical behavior, must be at the forefront in opposing discrimination of every kind, from sexual orientation and gender to race and religion,” English
professor Herman Asarnow wrote. Many people from around the nation also signed the petition. “I want my gay friends at University of Portland to feel safe on their campus,” wrote Pratheeksha Mallikarjun of Minneapolis, Minn. Along with the petition, advocates of the Redefine Purple Pride campaign used Facebook and Twitter to communicate their message. Many UP students have changed their Facebook profile pictures to a purple equality sign to show solidarity. Senior Casey Andersen photographed 65 students with duct tape over their mouths, symbolizing the repression some LGBTQ students feel, and posted the photos to Facebook. He said the project complements the petition. See Redefine Purple Pride, page 3
Redefine Purple Pride: Faculty show support for movement Continued from page 1
The video had 238 views as of Wednesday night.
Faculty Speak Out
“It’s a great way to add faces to the numbers and to see some stories without the words,” Andersen said. Many students affiliated with Redefine Purple Pride have posted messages to Twitter accompanied by the hashtag “#RedefinePurplePride.” Students and faculty also collaborated on three different YouTube videos about the need for UP to be a safer and more welcoming community. Two videos were added to the UPStudentsAnonymous channel. One, titled “University of Portland Redefine Purple Pride – A Student Movement” features students on campus and in the Bauccio Commons expressing their concerns over the Nondiscrimination Policy. “The administration should really reconsider their message, especially when the Catholic tradition is based apparently on this idea of love,” one student said. Another student explained the purpose of the movement. “We’re not asking people to change their beliefs, or to suddenly be 100 percent accepting. We’re just asking that we give everybody, regardless of sexual orientation, regardless of gender identity, that they get the exact same right as other students,” he said. The video was posted Monday and had 1,362 views by Wednesday night. In another clip, UPStudentsAnonymous modeled its message off a video made by students at Stonehill College near Boston, Mass. Stonehill students posted a video in April 2012 of students, staff and faculty calling for the administration to include sexual orientation in their Nondiscrimination Policy and demanding a safer campus climate for all students. Later that year, Stonehill, a Holy Cross institution, changed the school’s Nondiscrimination Policy. The video “Redefine Purple Pride - University of Portland needs to get better” shows students against a stark white background sharing why they support the movement. “I should never have to argue for why I deserve respect and dignity for who I am as a person,” one student said. Another said he is speaking out to raise awareness about discrimination at UP. “People asking me why it has to be an issue is part of the issue,” he said. The video was posted Monday and had 792 views by Wednesday night. A third video, posted Tuesday by UP alum Chris Lew, showed students holding signs describing themselves. Some held signs showing their nationalities before identifying as gay. One student held a sign reading “smiley” before identifying herself as pansexual.
In addition to using social media, students emailed all faculty members on Monday, asking them to sign the petition and support Redefine Purple Pride. Lars Larson, an English professor, signed the petition and said the issue is important to members of the faculty as well as students. “In my eight years here, I’ve seen a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ environment where my LGBT coworkers don’t seem to feel welcome bringing partners to University functions,” Larson said. “I’ve heard how promising gay applicants to teaching positions accepted offers elsewhere from a perception of a quietly unwelcome place.” Jeff Gauthier, a philosophy professor who signed the petition, said he has never seen students organize in this way during his 20 years at UP. “One of the things that impresses me is the degree of student involvement and how organized students are,” Gauthier said. “It’s hard to think of another issue where students have been so involved and dedicated.” Senior Shanay Healy, one of the demonstration’s organizers, said today’s demonstration will focus on the need to change the culture on campus.
“56 percent of Catholics think there is nothing wrong with being gay. Most Catholics don’t follow the Church’s teachings on that.” Jon Down assistant dean, business school “This is where it shifts,” Healy said. “Yes, we want the Nondiscrimination Policy to change, but this demonstration is for all students that have felt silenced from all groups. This is about us all coming together as a community to say we all want something better.” Administration Response Laurie Kelley, associate vice president of University Relations and chief marketing officer, said the administration plans to talk with students about the issue. “We take it very seriously and care deeply about getting this issue resolved, and if not resolved, then understood, communicated well,” Kelley said. Kelley said the administration cares about making students feel safe on campus. “I want everyone to feel comfortable. I want everyone to feel loved. I want everyone to have a place at the University,” Kelley said. According to Healy, the goal of the campaign is to work with, not against, the administration. “It’s been important since
Jackie Jeffers| THE BEACON
Senior Julia Evans makes a sign for today’s demonstration. The Redefine Purple Pride movement has used social media to raise awareness about discrimination at UP. the very beginning that this is not an attack,” Healy said. “This is collective. Everyone’s voices should be heard; everyone’s concerns are valid.” Although Beauchamp has consistently reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to the Nondiscrimination Policy, he made a specific comment at the Fireside Chat about LGBTQ faculty that caused students to react. “They are not public about it, and we don’t ask them, but if someone were to go very public about it and make it an issue, then we would have trouble,” Beauchamp said. Later that week in a letter to The Beacon, Beauchamp wrote that his comments “may have been taken out of context or perhaps misunderstood.” In the letter, Beauchamp also emphasized his intent to honor “the dignity of each and every member of this campus community.” The UP administration has faced backlash regarding the Nondiscrimination Policy before. In 2010, Thomas Aschenbrener, the president of the Northwest Health Foundation, a foundation that had awarded several grants to the School of Nursing in previous years, refused to attend the school’s 75th anniversary gala after learning that a UP student had lost a scholarship because the school would not sign a certificate of nondiscrimination that included sexual orientation. Following the incident, UP’s Gay Straight Partnership started a conversation about the policy with administration, but the policy remains unchanged. According to Beauchamp, the University cannot revise the policy because of legal issues. If UP were to include sexual orientation in the Nondiscrimination Policy, then it could be interpreted in courts to
include sexual practices, meaning UP could be legally bound to condone sexual practices not accepted by the Catholic Church. “As a Catholic institution, we follow the teachings of the church,” Beauchamp said in his letter to The Beacon. Many Catholic colleges across the nation include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination policies. Jesuit institutions such as Loyola Marymount University, Boston College and Gonzaga University have sexual orientation in their policies, and Seattle University’s policy covers both sexual orientation and gender identity. Assistant Dean of the School of Business Jon Down hopes the UP community uses the Catholic Church to support the movement.
““In my eight years here, I’ve seen a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ environment where my LGBT coworkers don’t seem to feel welcome bringing partners to University functions.” Lars Larson English professor “56 percent of Catholics think there is nothing wrong with being gay,” he said. “Most Catholics don’t follow the Church’s teachings on that.” UP drafted a Statement on Inclusion in 2011, which says the University does not discriminate based on sexual orientation. The Statement on Inclusion is not legally binding. Gauthier said that because the Statement on Inclusion is informal, it does not make up for the absence of sexual orientation in the school’s formal policy.
The difference between Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Sexual Orientation:
Describes an individual’s enduring physical, romantic and/or emotional attraction to another person. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not the same. Transgender people may be straight, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Gender Identity: One’s internal, personal sense of being a man or a woman (or a boy or a girl). For transgender people, their birth-assigned sex and their own internal sense of gender identity do not match.
Source: The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation
“This two-tiered policy creates a chilling environment for all those people who are caught in the middle,” he said. Healy considers the Statement on Inclusion a good step for the University, but thinks is still not enough. “Inclusion is not equality,” Healy said. “It absolutely was a huge step, and that will not be diminished. However, it’s not legally binding.” Healy said it is important that the administration includes not only sexual orientation, but also gender identity in the Nondiscrimination Policy. “If we change it, it should be absolutely all-inclusive, because we don’t want to have to have this fight again in another year or two or however long it takes,” Healy said.