RALEIGH — The Free Expression Tunnel at North Carolina State University recently underwent a makeover of sorts when it was given a fresh coast of white paint. However, it was not to last for long as it became riddled with biased-based statements.

According to the school’s newspaper, The Technician, students “painted the free expression tunnel and blocked access Wednesday night and early Thursday morning (Nov. 3-4) in protest of the presence of racially offensive images and slurs on the tunnel walls.”

These protesters, numbering over two dozen, used black paint to cover the depictions, as well as messages. It seems that there were homophobic and racist graffiti which involved President Barack Obama on Oct. 31.

During the protest and arm-locked blocking of the tunnel, university police had to escort students around the tunnel to avoid confrontation.

Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Thomas Stafford said that the school wants to allow people the freedom to express themselves, but added that it did not condone offensive images. He also felt that the university “should step forward and denounce these actions.”

WRAL-TV reported that “Chancellor Randy Woodson, who has decried the graffiti, and other university leaders spoke with a couple of students who protested at the tunnel Thursday morning [Nov. 4]. Other students and staff were passing freely through it. ‘We’re going to try to give the students a voice,’ Woodson said. ‘We’ll just try to make sure everyone’s safe and try to make sure that they have an opportunity to voice their opinions.’

The tunnel, built in 1939, has been an icon since it was established as a place for expressing sentiments in the 1960s. The latest infractions violate the intent of free expression as stated on a sign outside the area which states, “Be considerate of others and refrain from offensive and hateful messages.”

The Charlotte Observer reported that Woodson described the hate speech as “racially charged obscenities and derogatory comments directed to the GLBT community.”

Presently, the school is looking at ways to combat such offensive actions. Surveillance cameras, as well as more strict enforcement are on the table.

Western

Quilt to be on exhibit

HICKORY — The AIDS Memorial Quilt will be on display from Nov. 29-Dec. 1, 8 p.m.-12 a.m. at Lenoir Rhyne University in the Rudisil Library, 625 7th Ave. NE, in observance of World AIDS Day.

The Quilt was established in 1987 in San Francisco and is under the auspices and care of The NAMES Project Foundation. It’s aim is to foster healing, advance social justice and inspire action. Each panel is 3’ x 6’ and now numbers over 47,000, each handcrafted by friends, loved ones and others as a lasting memorial to more than 92,000 individuals who lost their battle with HIV/AIDS. Single panels represent every state in the nation.

Because of its enormous size, weighing in at 54 tons, the epic tapestry can no longer be shown at one place. Only three sections will be available for viewing.

This free display is sponsored by Frye Regional Medical Center and is hosted by ALFA.

For more information, visit alfinfo.org.

Kids need presents

HICKORY — ALFA is collecting presents for the children of those who are living with HIV/AIDS. These clients are often in a cash-strapped situation because their funds are being utilized for basic living expenses, as well as medical needs.

ALFA’s Adria Cline, medical case management supervisor, said, “Some may have to choose between heat or gifts during the season. The Holiday Adoption Program offers an opportunity to help some clients spend a nice holiday season with their families. ALFA currently serves over 160 clients with medical case management and many need your help.”

For those who are interested in participating in this charitable project, contact ALFA by Nov. 24 and let the staff know how many children can be “adopted.” The Holiday Adoption Volunteers will match-make a donor with a client. The names, ages, shoe and clothing sizes and wants and needs will be shared.

Gifts should then be wrapped (with the first name on each package) and dropped off at the ALFA office by Dec. 16. For clients who do not have children, ALFA is asking for sponsors to donate $5 gift cards and/or small gift bags (filled with warm fuzzies).

To sign up to adopt a family or for more information, call Cline at 828-322-1447, ext. 226, email alfacms@alfainfo.org or visit

alfainfo.org.

Regional

State Bar gives OK

RALEIGH — The North Carolina State Bar Council in a 35-20 vote on Oct. 29, favorably gave the green light to language “designed to discourage attorneys from having personal bias against representing gays and transgender people,” WBT-TV and the Associated Press reported.

The regulatory board had concern with language of the proposal containing “sexual orientation” and “gender identity,” along with six other characteristics “that shouldn’t lead to biased conduct. They said that could prevent lawyers from declining to take cases on moral grounds.”

Mark Merritt, a council member, said that if attorneys felt that they were unable to “defend someone vigorously,” that they would still be able to withdraw representation.

Of course, this does not absolve the 20,000 plus attorneys statewide from their ethical responsibilities as outlined by the State Bar. It does, however, give a framework to working with clients.

The Greensboro News & Record added, “Jere Royall, an attorney representing the North Carolina Family Policy Council, said the changes would violate rights of free speech and religious freedoms in the state and U.S. constitutions. Susan Dotson-Smith, an Asheville lawyer who has worked on the proposal, disagreed with Royall’s assessment that studies and science show homosexual behavior is harmful to adults and children.”

The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and the North Carolina Association of Women Attorneys stood behind the measure.

Healthcare

HIV services expand

BOONE — On October 6, the Region II Network of Care expanded services into the High Country offering HIV medical care, medical case management and expanded HIV testing and education through a new partnership with the Watauga Health Department. It will operate out of Boone at 126 Poplar Grove Connector.

In 2010, the NC AIDS Carebranch redeveloped their method of funding for HIV/AIDS care and prevention with a goal to improve and maintain the health status of persons living with HIV through increased testing, getting newly diagnosed clients into care quickly and keeping clients in medical care. Two agencies, Fairgrove Primary Health, 3412 Graystone Pl., Conover, and ALFA, 1120 Fairgrove Church Rd., accepted the leadership and developed a regional approach to HIV care.

The clinic will be open on the second Wednesday of each month and move to twice per month in 2011. Clinic staff will be comprised of both Fairgrove Primary Health and ALFA staff including nurse practitioner, registered nurse, medical case manager and HIV testers.

“Health needs of an HIV positive client is unique compared to other chronic illnesses and require a watchful eye from their medical provider,” said Kathy Crowder, nurse practitioner at Fair Grove Primary Health. “On average we like to see our clients once a quarter to check viral loads and assess for complications with the therapy. We are thankful for the partnership with Watauga Health Department to provide space for our new satellite clinic. We anticipate adding an additional 30 new clients to be served in the High Country with this project.”

Funding for the project was provided by the North Carolina AIDS Fund through Duke University. Fairgrove Primary Health is owned and operated by Catawba Valley Medical Center (CVMC).

Medical appointments can be scheduled by contacting Fairgrove Primary Health at 828-326-2145

Research

Study subjects needed

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Megan Lytle, a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Program at Seton Hall University, has extended an invitation for participation in a research study investigating the role of religion and racial/ethnic identity in the parent-child relationships of adult children with a gay or lesbian parent and a heterosexual parent.

The study will require approximately 20-30 minutes. Participants will complete a demographic questionnaire and the following assessments: Parental Bonding Instrument, Self-Report Family Inventory: Version II, Attitudes Toward Lesbians and Gay Men Scale, Santa Clara Strength of Religious Faith Questionnaire, and Personal Reaction Inventory.

Participation in this anonymous on-line study is completely voluntary and enrollees may withdraw from the study without any penalty at any time. Participants, who must be at least 18 years old, may withdraw from the study by closing the survey at any point or choosing not to click the submit button.

All the data from questionnaires and assessment will be transferred to a USB memory key and will be stored in a locked cabinet maintained at Seton Hall University by only the researchers involved. No one outside of the research team (Megan Lytle, M.A., Ed.S., and her advisor, Pamela Foley, Ph.D.) will have access to these questionnaires.

For more information, call 973-761-9451 or email lytlemeg@shu.edu

Visit surveymonkey.com/s/2XFYP9Z, password: adultchildren, to participate

Latina/o participants sought

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Brandon Velez, a graduate student in the University of Florida’s Psychology Department, is conducting a study that he hopes will contribute to understanding the experiences and well-being of Latina/o LGB individuals. Participation will involve completing a survey online and will take approximately 30 minutes.

Participants must be 18 years old or older, reside in the U.S., identify at Latina/o or Hispanic, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual or some other sexual minority status (e.g., queer, questioning).

This research has been approved by the University of Florida’s Institutional Review Board.

To join in, women should visit surveymonkey.com/s/LBwomen and men surveymonkey.com/s/GBmen.

For more information, email velezbl@gmail.com

Family researcher seeks subjects

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Mohan Krishna, LMSW, MA, a social worker and a doctoral student at Hunter College School of Social Work is doing a dissertation study on the experiences of adoptive families headed by gay men.

For her study, she is interviewing young adults who are 18 years of age or older who were adopted by one or more gay men. She is conducting interviews with both the young adults and their adoptive parents about the challenges and opportunities they have experienced.

For more information, call 347-249-1059 or email mohank97@hotmail.com

Lainey Millen

Lainey Millen is QNotes' associate editor, special assignments writer, N.C. and U.S./World News Notes columnist and production director. She can be reached at specialassignments@goqnotes.com and 704-531-9988,...

2 replies on “Tunnel beset by vandals”

  1. hate speech no matter how much one might hate is still free speech, which thanks to all out b*tching will one day be illegal… Way to go

  2. hate speech no matter how much one might hate it, it is still free speech, which thanks to all out b*tching will one day be illegal… Way to go

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