Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

NEIU faculty, students ask for renaming of Walesa building
by Matt Simonette
2014-04-14

This article shared 6154 times since Mon Apr 14, 2014
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Faculty and students of Northeastern Illinois University on April 10 spoke out in a favor of a proposal, which had already been rejected by the school's president, to rename a building named after former Polish President Lech Walesa.

The objections, raised at NEIU's Board of Trustees meeting, held at Jacob Carruthers Center for Inner City Studies, 700 E. Oakwood Blvd., come over a year after Walesa made negative remarks about gays in the Polish media. NEIU's University Advisory Committee on March 7 of this year passed a motion recommending to President Sharon Hahs that she recommend to the Trustees that the building be renamed.

In March 2013, Walesa said that gay politicians in Poland had no right to a prominent position in politics there, even suggesting that they "sit to the rear" of parliament chambers or "behind a wall." He refused to back pedal from the comment, maintaining that he was not homophobic the following day.

"I will not apologize to anyone," Walesa said. "All I said ( was ) that minorities, which I respect, should not have the right to impose their views on the majority. I think most of Poland is behind me."

NEIU faculty and students voiced their objections quickly and soon after the comments circulated a petition demanding that Lech Walesa Hall, 3701 W. Bryn Mawr Ave., be renamed. The building was dedicated in 2009, in a ceremony commemorating the fall of communism in Poland that Walesa attended.

University President Sharon Hahs initially said that Walesa's remarks were contrary to the spirit of diversity that NEIU was trying to foster. Public forums were held on the matter and the school passed a number of resolutions in response to the matter, among them having a permanent display about the forums' subject matter and starting a new LGBT center, which set to open in spring 2015. Nevertheless, school officials ultimately chose not to change the name of the building.

On April 4 of this year, Hahs released a statement about the recent UAC recommendation: "Overall, I believe the Dialogue process and Outcomes reflect that President Walesa's comments neither define the man nor cancel his achievements. They also reflect that we agree that those comments remain contrary to our Values, and that we re-affirm our support for inclusion on an equal basis of all members of our community… A process that was not only thoughtful, collaborative and respectful but also made a significant contribution to the University should not be undone by a single vote. The issues raised by President Walesa's comments have had a fair hearing. At this point we will focus our attention on moving forward with the Outcomes determined last year through the Dialogue process."

But nine individuals, whom Professor Shelley Bannister of the university's Justice Studies Dept. said represented about 400 people who'd signed a petition asking for the name-change, spoke at the April 10 meeting in favor of a name change.

"I join the Polish Student Association in recognition of Mr. Walesa's admirable work," Bannister said. "However, last spring, Mr. Walesa made, and then confirmed, homophobic remarks. As a lesbian, I find his comments personally offensive and frankly hurtful. More importantly though, Mr. Walesa's comments, and our honoring of him, remind our gay and lesbian students that that they are considered [to be] lesser, with fewer rights—that hurts when it's coming from your own school."

She added that the process is not as resolved as Hahs indicated, by virtue of the there being so many protestors at the meeting and the recent UAC vote. Bannister then requested that the name removal be added to the agenda of the June Board of Trustees meeting.

NEIU student Calvin Johnson said that most of his coursework was in Lech Walesa Hall.

"As a black gay man, I cannot forget the harmful comments that this man made last year," he added. "He said that gay people have no right to a prominent position, and should sit at the back of the room, or even behind a wall. Honoring leaders before me, like Rosa Parks, I refuse to sit in back of the bus. I refuse to sit behind a wall. … The name of someone who wants us to sit behind a wall remains on a building. That's wrong."

Two individuals also spoke in favor of retaining the building name. Board of Trustees members do not respond to comments made during Public Comment portions of their bimonthly meetings, so whether or not the matter will be added to their June agenda was not yet announced.

Student Mike Lackovich, who is gay, had been following the matter and said he had been disturbed by the Walesa's comments as well, and hoped the name change would go through.

"When I saw those, that really me question whether I wanted to continue in school there or not," Lackovich said.


This article shared 6154 times since Mon Apr 14, 2014
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Young LGBQ adults experience more psychological distress than older LGBQ people
2022-08-11
-- From a Williams Institute press release - A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds younger LGBQ adults are physically healthier but have worse psychological distress than older LGBQ people. Researchers examined a representative sample of LGBQ people ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health employees win union election
2022-08-11
More than 470 employees at Chicago-based Howard Brown Health clinics, Broadway Youth Center and Brown Elephant retail locations announced Aug. 10 that they have won their union election, with 97% of the votes cast. This is ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Okla. schools, Tenn. lawsuit, political items, Mich. library
2022-08-07
Video below - Oklahoma public schools have started requiring students from kindergarten to college to complete "biological sex affidavits" if they want to compete in school sports, in accordance with a state law that took effect earlier this year, ...


Gay News

Sexual-misconduct report findings force Chicago charter-school leader to leave
2022-08-04
A Chicago Public Schools inspector general's report substantiating allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct with a student forced Tim King, the head of a prominent charter school network, to resign recently, WBEZ reported. King, who founded Urban ...


Gay News

Attorneys general file brief in Indiana trans case
2022-08-04
A coalition of 22 attorneys general, including Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and New York counterpart Letitia James, filed an amicus brief in the case of A.C. v. Metropolitan School District of Martinsville opposing the school ...


Gay News

NU sued by student on school's Qatar campus
2022-08-03
On July 28, Northwestern University was slapped with a civil-rights lawsuit in Illinois Northern District Court, according to Law.com. The lawsuit was brought by Disparti Law Group on behalf of a student of the university's Qatar ...


Gay News

Utah school district removes LGBTQ+ books from libraries
2022-08-02
A Utah school district removed 52 books from its library shelves due to parent complaints mainly concerning LGBTQ+-focused material, LGBTQ Nation noted. A spokesperson for Alpine School District tells The Salt Lake Tribune that the district ...


Gay News

Vallas speaks at event of group known for anti-LGBTQ+ views [UPDATE]
2022-08-01
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO and current mayoral candidate Paul Vallas spoke at a fundraiser for Awake Illinois—a group that has been criticized for its transphobic and homophobic rhetoric, The Chicago Reader reported. The group hosted ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Lesbian activist dies, school report, Robin Roberts, Joe Rogan
2022-07-31
Rita Addessa—a civil-rights activist and the first executive director of the Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force (PLGTF, later the Pennsylvania Lesbian and Gay Task Force)—passed away July 9 at Penn Hospice in Philadelphia at age ...


Gay News

Florida school districts sued over 'Don't Say Gay' law
2022-07-28
Florida teens and their families, along with advocacy groups, have sued to block a law that restricts classroom discussions of sexual orientation and gender identity, NBC News reported. The Parental Rights in Education law—dubbed the "Don't ...


Gay News

LETTERS The Church should practice love and constructive dialogue, not hate
2022-07-25
Another U.S. diocese has issued new restrictive policies regarding LGBTQ issues in Catholic schools, and its new directives compare being openly transgender with sexual abuse. The Roman Catholic Church is having an internal dialogue on how ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Miami textbooks, Lia Thomas, Florida churches, Key West figure dies
2022-07-24
Miami-Dade County students could go months without sex-education books after school board members, by a five-to-four vote, rejected two proposed textbooks over concerns they violate the state's Parental Rights in Education bill, known by opponents as ...


Gay News

Queer teen artist/activist talks Girl Scout Gold Award, LGBTQ+ inclusion, future plans
2022-07-23
When Molly Kasch became a Brownie at age 8, she never dreamed she would earn the prestigious Girl Scout Gold Award 10 years later for her "Scouting the Rainbow" project. The award "is the highest achievement ...


Gay News

Green Bay diocese requires pronouns, restrooms align with biological sex
2022-07-21
In Wisconsin, the Diocese of Green Bay is implementing a new gender identity policy in which people must abide to their biological sex throughout its schools, including pronouns, in bathrooms, locker rooms and athletics, NBC 26 ...


Gay News

ACTIVITIES Architectural Artifacts brings the goods to new Chicago location
2022-07-15
Following its 35-year legacy as one of the nation's top destinations for globally sourced design and architectural statement pieces, Architectural Artifacts, Inc. (AAI) has reimagined a 35,000-square-foot Mid Century-style school ...


 



Copyright © 2022 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.