Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-06-26
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

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

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.


facebook twitter google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

HRC Foundation releases report on child-welfare agencies 2019-06-26 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Foundation released "Celebrating Everyday Change-Makers in Child Welfare"—a first-of-its-kind report highlighting more than 70 child-welfare agencies ...


Gay News

Windy City Times marks Pride Month with annual 30 Under 30 Awards 2019-06-26 - Windy City Times celebrates Pride Month with annual 30 Under 30 Awards . The ceremony takes pace Wed, June 26 at Polo Cafe ...


Gay News

Trevor Project gala raises more than $2M 2019-06-26 - On June 17, The Trevor Project hosted its 2019 TrevorLIVE New York gala at Cipriani Wall Street. With actress/comedian/writer Nicole Byer and actor/director/digital ...


Gay News

Indiana school refuses to fire gay teacher, loses Catholic status 2019-06-22 - The Archbishop of Indianapolis asked a Jesuit school to fire a teacher who is in a same-sex marriage—but it refused to do so, ...


Gay News

DignityUSA reponds to Archbishop denying school "Catholic" label 2019-06-21 - Boston, MA. June 21, 2019. Leaders of DignityUSA, the world's oldest organization of Catholics supporting equality and full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, ...


Gay News

Point Foundation announces 2019 scholarships to 41 LGBTQ students 2019-06-19 - LOS ANGELES, JUNE 19, 2019 — Point Foundation ( Point ), the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ...


Gay News

About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble to debut '20/20' 2019-06-18 - The About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble is celebrating its 20th anniversary with the world premiere of 20/20—a dive into recent queer history devised ...


Gay News

Teens competing at Jimmy Awards 2019-06-17 - Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards' Marguerite Reed and Jacob Simon will be among 86 students being celebrated at the 11th Annual Jimmy ...


Gay News

30 Under 30 Awards to be held June 26 2019-06-17 - Windy City Times will again mark Pride Month with its annual 30 Under 30 Awards. The ceremony will take pace Wed, June 26. ...


Gay News

Pride South Side hosts inaugural Pride Fest 2019-06-15 - Chicago, IL — The Pride South Side Organizing Committee has organized its first inaugural pride festival with activities beginning Friday, June 28 and ...


 



Copyright © 2019 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
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

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.