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Erasure of Student Mural at Marquette University

The Consortium was disappointed to learn of the dismissal of Susannah Bartlow, our colleague at the Marquette University Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, and the related erasure of a student-created mural at the Resource Center. We are particularly concerned about the message sent by Bartlow’s dismissal and its impact on students at Marquette. In late May, Marquette officials learned of the existence of this mural and removed both the mural and Bartlow from campus. The mural was painted by students on one wall of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center in March of 2015. Students, including members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority (a historically Black Greek Letter Organization), intentionally chose Assata Shakur as a subject for the mural in order to highlight the life of an activist Black woman.

By erasing the mural, Marquette officials are erasing an opportunity for Black women to feel represented on campus. Shakur is a controversial figure because of her alleged involvement in a number of violent acts, including murdering a state trooper in 1977, and later escaping from prison in 1979. At the same time, Shakur is also an author, an activist, and a scholar. Her philosophy and actions continue to shape higher education through inclusion in many academic courses, particularly in the realm of Critical Race Theory.  For example, a student group at the City University of New York (which Shakur attended) is currently Her legacy is one that deserves discussion, debate, and academic inquiry, rather than censorship. 

We are concerned that removing the mural will have a chilling effect on the spirit of academic inquiry on campus and on the ability of educators to teach challenging topics. Students deserve to delve deeply into the U.S.’s complicated racial history by learning more about individuals involved in the struggle. Educators deserve the trust of their employers to talk about this history in a way that engages students. Instead, the choices made by Marquette officials foreclose this type of inquiry, and leave educators with the sense that they should avoid controversial topics.

Quotes from Shakur’s autobiography were included as part of the mural. One quote perfectly summarizes the importance of the mural project: “Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.” We stand in support of the students, staff, and faculty at Marquette who work to teach difficult, important, and underexamined history.

 

 

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NPR Press Release: HB 218-Georgia's "Religious Freedom" 

February 18, 2015
 
The Honorable Nathan Deal, Governor
The Honorable David Schafer, Senate President Pro Tempore
The Honorable David Rolston, Speaker of the House
Georgia State Capitol
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
 
Dear Governor Deal, President Pro Tempore Shafer, and Speaker Rolston:
 
As leaders of organizations committed to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, we are writing to express our serious concerns about Georgia House Bill 218, the “Preventing Government Overreach on Religious Expression Act.” As drafted, this legislation invites and legitimizes further discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
 
Last year, legislation similar to HB 218 passed the Arizona legislature but was vetoed by former Governor Jan Brewer following an outcry from businesses, sports organizations, and LGBT advocates. At the heart of this outcry was a simple message: Arizona should be open and welcoming to all people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
 
The passage of HB 218 or a similar measure will send a loud message across the country that Georgia is an unwelcoming place for LGBT Americans. Such a message threatens the state’s ability to recruit and retain the best and brightest workers, secure corporate relocations that spur the economy, support innovative entrepreneurship, and further develop its thriving travel and tourism industry. All of us have organizational members in Georgia; like them, we want Georgia’s brand to remain welcoming to all.
 
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Wellesley & Simmons Colleges Continue to Shatter the Glass Gender Binary by Admitting Trans Women!

Contact: Jen Self, Publications and Communications Chair, pubcom@lgbtcampus.org

March 17, 2015

New York, NY: The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals celebrates Simmons College and Wellesley College’s decisions to be just the third and fourth of the 119 “single-sex” campuses in the U.S. to admit trans women. Just six months after Mills College and Mount Holyoke College opened their admissions policies to trans women and allowed for the continued enrollment of trans men, Wellesley & Simmons follow suit to “align themselves on the right side of history” according to Simmons College junior, Danny Boucher. Similar to Mills College, Wellesley’s new policy opens admissions to trans women. However, the policy does not open the door to the admission of trans men who have legally changed their gender markers to “M.” By contrast, Simmons College adopted a policy that more closely resembles Mount Holyoke’s, opening admissions to all people assigned female at birth regardless of current gender identity and all trans women.

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Consortium to University of Minnesota-Duluth and Erskine College ~ What a Shame! Violating Title IX?

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jen Self, Publications and Communications Chair, pubcom@lgbtcampus.org

March 8, 2015

New York, NY: The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals denounces two recent decisions affecting LGBTQ people in higher education. We are disappointed to learn of Erskine College Athletic Department’s recently adopted “homosexual morality” clause and the University of Minnesota - Duluth’s (UMD) Athletic Director Josh Berlo’s recent dismissal of Women’s Hockey Coach Shannon Miller. Both Erskine’s “Statement on Human Sexuality” and Miller’s firing shine a bright light on the entrenched systemic sexism and heterosexism within athletics.

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