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Sunday, November 27, 2016

FAQ from WGSS faculty about OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund for research on humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity

Berlin university students carrying away the library from the home of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld on May 6, 1933 for a May 10-11 Nazi book burning. New York Herald Tribune, May 17, 1933

PHOTO: Berlin university students carrying away the library from the home of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) on May 6, 1933 for a May 10-11 Nazi book burning (New York Herald Tribune, May 17, 1933). Some prominent Nazis were closeted gay men who exhibited a disgust reaction toward out-of-the-closet homosexuals, including Dr. Hirschfeld and his pioneering gay research institute for gender and sexuality. My Grandfather Dr. Elmer O. Kraemer (1898-1943) witnessed these book burnings when he was a visiting Professor of Chemistry at Berlin University. A question I am frequently asked is about my reasons for naming my research fund after Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, whose research work early on was widely dismissed by gay American Stonewall era scholars, perhaps because their opinions were still prejudiced by fresh memories of the World War II atrocities by Nazis against both gays and Jews, or also perhaps due to the lack of any scholarly German to English translations of Hirschfeld's work until decades later. The early translations were correctly criticized and unfortunately diminished the importance of his reearch work. Whatever the real reason for Hirschfeld's work being ignored by American scholars, it shows the importance of not being blind to research done internationally, just because it is hard to access. Given this tragic history, I named the fund in the honor of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld as a way to encourage research with an international scope at OSU, which in my experience will lead to greater insights and discoveries than is possible in isolation. (See previous post OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12))

The Oregon State University school newspaper recently printed several interesting stories and letters, just after the 2016 election of Donald Trump as the U.S. President, which touched on some contemporary concerns of college students.

The first item is by Ercoli Crugnale, "A step toward support," Barometer, November 21, 2016, p. 4-5 that quotes Oregon State University President Ed Ray saying, "Oregon State will continue their history of supporting diversity of all kinds on campus, such as in 2001 when the university built the former 'Queer Resource Center'" (now renamed the OSU Pride Center). The story talks about "OSU's plans to appoint a Chief Diversity Officer" and describes the process of hiring. I applaud OSU's plans to appoint a Chief Diversity Officer, whose written objectives sound similar to the ones I help write in the 1980's for Hewlett-Packard when I led some of HP's research programs located on the Stanford University campus.

Both of HP's company founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard believed strongly in diversity as being something that could give HP the best talent in the world, instead of blindly excluding the best research engineers just because they were different. Even though Dave was a truly conservative Republican, he rejected the xenophobia of many Republicans as being bad for his internationally renowned business. For example, HP was one of the first U.S. businesses to reenter China, where I was able to hire two of the best Chinese engineers who had obtained their Ph.D. degrees from the University California at Berkley.

At one time, most companies would begrudgingly adopt a diversity program only when compelled to by a court order that included hiring quotas, but Dave Packard insisted on doing it without a court order. In fact, Dave Packard succeeded in having diversity at the most senior levels in the company, and he achieved it without compromising any of his standards of hiring only the most qualified individuals. Packard refused to blindly meet his diversity objectives by lowering his hiring standards. Similar to HP, I expect OSU will also be able to achieve diversity without having to lower its own standards.

Nurturing diversity at OSU will take some fortitude at every level because many pundits are blaming the recent loses of Democrats to having put all of their eggs into the diversity basket. (See an excellent analysis, of these criticisms concerning Democrats, by the gay blogger, Jim Burroway, "A Challenge for Blue Bubble Democrats," boxturtlebulletin.com posted Nov. 21, 2016)

Another interesting item printed in the OSU student newspaper is by the OSU Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty and staff, "Open letter of solidarity from the WGSS faculty and staff: Letters to the Editor," Barometer Nov. 21, 2016, p. 15.

This letter and other communications I have received over the last decade from members of the OSU community, including students and alumni, have prompted me to answer below some of the frequently asked questions about the OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement for research concerning humans or animals with a minority sexual orientation or gender identity. (See previous post OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12))

First, let me make a quick summary of what I say in more detail below. The legal agreement with the OSU Foundation has been intentionally written to take advantage of OSU's strengths in animal sciences, social sciences, as well as other sciences and engineering disciplines, by encouraging multidisciplinary research work of an international scope between researcher in different schools, departments, or academic driplines. The Fund has been setup flexible enough to adapt over time when research needs have changed, likely due to learning or new discoveries. This flexibility is important because the Fund is legally setup as an endowment that must be managed to run in perpetuity.

For example, I fully expect a hundred years from now that the definitions of LGBT+ and many of the most pertinent research questions might be unimaginable today. However, despite this prediction, I am confident that the OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund will have no problem identifying and funding relevant research topics that are obvious descendants of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld's pioneering research work done back in the 1930's.

Also, my reasons, for expecting LGBT+ research will evolve over the next century, are based on the historical experiences of gay researchers who in the past have divided up into two usually isolated camps. The first camp being those who see LGBT as something that is defined by society (i.e social constructionists) versus the other camp that only sees the medical or scientific origins of the behaviors (i.e. biological essentialists). Yet, both points of view have been critical to obtaining advances in knowledge.

The history of research has shown how insights and breakthroughs can occur when researchers from one of the camps works to reconcile their research findings with both of the theoretical models held by the two isolated camps, such as the theoretical models held by biological essentialists vs. social constructionists. For example, the findings of functional MRI scans of homophobic brains in action can be correlated with the similar findings of social scientists, and if they don't correlate, then it must be asked, why not?

At one time, homophobes would justify discrimination against gay people by saying with impunity that there were no homosexuals in nature, but OSU animal scientists and others have published papers documenting homosexual behavior in animals. Of course, skeptics say humans are not animals and humans have more intelligence to control their own sexual behavior, which is true, but a good social science researcher should still be asking how humans' sexual behavior is different from animals and why. After all, the statistical distribution of animals' sexual behavior, including bisexual behaviors, is remarkably similar to humans, but all researchers need to ask how are the animalistic behaviors, essential for reproduction, different from humans' more complex social and sexual behaviors, and then reconcile their theoretical models.

In my experience with research at both OSU and Stanford University, research programs must often be protected from being eaten up by the political immune system of the University and this protection is often provided by the leaders of a single academic department or school that is the home of the project. Consequently, it would not surprise me if the OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund ended up being led by the OSU Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department (WGSS), and provided the most initial benefit to researchers in this department, however, the Fund agreement with the OSU Foundation does not specify any department because it was intentionally written so that research and the management of it could occur in any academic discipline at OSU, and also encourage multidisciplinary research, by providing the flexibility required to adapt as things change over time due to new learning and discovery.

As some OSU community members have heard directly from me, the OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund is designed to encourage more interdisciplinary research at OSU, in all academic fields, by paying for both the time of the faculty and their graduate student research assistants, as well as other legitimate research expenses, such as the costs to do field research or the costs of travel for the faculty and their selected students to attend academic conferences related to their professor's area of research.

For example, I first saw the need at OSU for more research funding in the 1970's when I was a 0.5 FTE Research Assistant, paid to work half of a full time equivalent employee on a research project, while working on my graduate degree and Masters thesis, under the supervision of a professor who ran one of the rare research programs at OSU with any significant funding at the time. I benefited greatly from traveling with my thesis advisor, along with other graduate students, to relevant academic conferences in Seattle, and also to the Naval Torpedo station in Keyport, Washington where our research benefactors were located. As a result, I was fortunate to land a good job in industry, espite the fact I was unable to share our research work because it had been classified as being top secret by the U.S. Navy. (The OSU library holds the redacted copy of my Master thesis.)

After graduating and working in industry, I personally benefited from being picked to lead research at Stanford University funded by HP and other organizations, and this allowed me to start working on my Ph.D. degree at Stanford, without having to incur any debt, which unfortunately too many students are forced to do today.

During my decades of research experience, I witnessed the major benefits to society that resulted from academic research and also learned how it was never wise to succumb to the temptation of cutting the research budget during lean times. Hewlett-Packard's founders Bill and Dave put everyone working on a nine-day fortnight to cut labor expenses for a short time, as a way of avoiding cutting any research programs.

As mentioned above, OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund is also designed to encourage research of an international scope.

For example, research work by Dr. George Weinberg, who coined, defined and popularized the concept of homophobia internationally, provided some psychological explanations for the homophobic behavior exhibited by Nazi's against Dr. Hirschfeld's research work (See above).

title and contents page of George Weinberg's 1972 book on homophobia and 1999 picture of left to right Dick Leitsch, John Paul Hudson, Jack Nichols, Dr. George Weinberg and Randolfe Wicker

PHOTO: Dr. George Weinberg's famous book that coined and popularized the concept of homophobia, provides some good examples of the bad behaviors associated with closeted homosexuals, such as the Nazis' disgust reaction to Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld's research work (see above). The OSU library bought a copy of this book when it was first published, and it provided me with my first glimpse of the importance of gay academic research. In the photo above is the title page and contents page of George Weinberg's 1972 book on homophobia next to an amateur photo taken in 1999 of Stonewall era gay activists (left to right) Dick Leitsch, John Paul Hudson, Jack Nichols, Dr. George Weinberg and Randolfe Wicker, who were celebrating the 30th anniversary of Stonewall revolt in 1969 New York City. (Photo courtesy of Jack Nichols and Randy Wicker and it was given to me in 1999) The OSU library owns a first edition copy of this groundbreaking book by George Weinberg, "Society and the healthy homosexual," St. Martin's Press, 1972. (See previous posts George Weinberg homophobia book 1972 (12/16/08) and Ex-gays more easily disgusted than gays? (12/16/09))

I was honored to talk on the phone with the New York gay scholar Dr. George Weinberg. He is the first person I heard make the astute conjecture that the homophobic disgust reaction of gay Nazi officers is a tragic example of a common response to internalized homophobia exhibited by many men.

Discussions with both George Weinberg and Johnathan Ned Katz, who is famous for writing one of the first gay history books back when most academics rejected the possibility that this subject would ever be important, is what motivated me to spend nearly three years full-time in the OSU Library Archives doing the research required to write the history of Corvallis, Oregon State University. (See previous post OSU gay history at OutHistory.org site (1/16/12) and the copy of Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1964-2002," printed to PDF from OutHistory.org in 2010 permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives@OSU)

Although when I was a college student, I never fully appreciated the importance of history, and I arrogantly dismissed history as being something only "old people" read to recall their good old days, today I have been pleasantly surprised by the positive reactions I have received from OSU students to my gay OSU history. I am also blessed to have had my OSU history peer-reviewed by internationally famous Stonewall-era gay activists, as well as to receive comments from OSU graduates from nearly every decade back to World War II, plus I was able to follow up and confirm in documents stored in the OSU Archives records that the famous homophile activists W. Dorr Legg was at OSU until 1943. (See previous post OSU professor recognized equality hypocrisy decades ago (6/5/12))

I was also able to discover the fact that an OSU football player nearly a century ago was perceived by his fellow students as being gay, after learning about his arrest for sodomy in Portland, Oregon from the research by George Painter. (See previous post Book: 1912 Portland 'Vice Clique' gay sex scandal, OSU football player, and possible Women's Suffragists linkage (3/22/14))

George Hastings (top row, left) and the 1910 Oregon Agricultural College (former name of Oregon State University) football team as pictured in 'The 1912 Orange' yearbook, p. 159.

PHOTO: (above) Student George Hastings (top row, left) and the 1910 football team at Oregon Agricultural College (former name of Oregon State University) as pictured in "The 1912 Orange" yearbook, p. 159. *See previous posts Book: 1912 Portland 'Vice Clique' gay sex scandal, OSU football player, and possible Women's Suffragists linkage (3/12/14), OSU gay football player 1908 (6/19/08) and Oregonian on 1912 gay panic arrests (4/25/10)(

Esera Tuaolo on cover of The Advocate, Nov. 26, 2002, cover headline reads 'Gay in the NFL, A football star for nine years, former Vikings lineman Esera Tuaolo reveals the truth about homophobia in the locker room and the dangers of the pro sports closet. PLUS: His boyfriend tells his side of their romance' PHOTO: former Oregon State University football player Esera Tuaolo came out on the cover of The Advocate. ("Tackling football's closet," By Bruce C. Steele, The Advocate, Nov. 26, 2002, cover story, pp. 3, 30-39). See previous posts Book: 1912 Portland 'Vice Clique' gay sex scandal, OSU football player, and possible Women's Suffragists linkage (3/12/14), OSU Esera Tuaolo gay football star (8/12/06) and OSU alum on CBS 'Face the Nation,' Jason Collins comes out, and Boy Scouts in local paper (5/7/13).

Finally, I've had quite a few questions about what type of cross-disciplinary research work can be done in a subject that has historically been dominated by research in theology, social science, psychology and medicine. OSU research has commendably branched out to publish research in animal science on the genetics of what are commonly called gay sheep and fruit flies. (See previous posts OSU gay fruit fly sex research (9/16/06) and OSU gay sheep vs PETA (9/2/06))

The Magnus Hirschfeld Fund wants to encourage research in even a broader set of academic disciplines, for example, in a recent discussion with a leading OSU computer scientist, he was unable to initially see any possibility of cross-disciplinary gay research with a computer scientist, but after some discussion he quickly came up with a hypothetical research topic that spanned between a social scientist, a genetics researcher, and a computer science researcher in the now hot research field of "big data." Of course, such a connection between researchers can't be forced, but it must occur naturally based on the specific talents and expertise of each researcher. In my research experience at Stanford and HP, I found that most researchers will only rarely discuss topics they don't understand with each other, and as a result will miss out on the biggest research breakthroughs and insights.

My greatest disappointment in life was not being unable to finish my Ph.D. degree because I chose to take an offer to move from Stanford, California to manage an HP Colorado Springs research lab that was only nearby a small branch of the University of Colorado. Therefore, at the risk of sounding like I am begging, and even though I do not expect anything in return from OSU for my contribution to writing and submitting my OSU gay history to the OSU Archives, the only thing I would want from OSU today is an honorary Ph.D. -- and not just because both my father and grandfather had a Ph.D. degree! No matter what, I have been very satisfied by knowing that future generations of OSU students will be able to learn from my history in the OSU Archives. (See previous post OSU gay history at OutHistory.org site (1/16/12) and note a copy of Thomas Kraemer, "Corvallis, Oregon State University gay activism 1964-2002," printed to PDF from OutHistory.org in 2010 is permanently stored by the OSU Scholars Archives@OSU)

The letter by OSU WGSS faculty and staff, "Open letter of solidarity from the WGSS faculty and staff: Letters to the Editor," Barometer Nov. 21, 2016, p. 15 included some of the following signatures:

UPDATE Nov. 30, 2016 - a former OSU student In response to the WGSS staff letter above wrote the following letter to the editor ithat was published by the student newspaper: Bart Degeneffe, Corvallis Resident and Trump Supporter, "Response to WGSS Faculty's letter on Nov. 21," Barometer, Mon. Nov. 28, 2016, p. 15, which said in part, "I wish to express my disappointment with the faculty of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Department At a time when the country should be coming together for healing and unity, you have instead chosen to continue to beat the drum of fear and division by parroting the usual tired and discredited accusations against our new president and his supporters. Such inappropriate comments only legitimize the further marginalization of conservative leaning members of the OSU community who have been demonized, had their views called hate speech and have even received death threats. The fearmongering and ideological grandstanding must stop. . . ."

I grimaced reading this letter because conservatives should be celebrating the victory of President-elect Donald Trump, but instead his letter paradoxically and angrily criticizes the Nov. 21 letter by the faculty of the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His letter parrots the popular right-wing propaganda that "conservative leaning members of the OSU community" are victims of the moral values that Democrats and "liberals" promote publicly in the ivory towers of Oregon State University. This is a quintessential and tragic example of how many conservative Republicans are playing the "victim card" like they accuse liberals of doing, despite the fact that they have won and are clearly in control.

Hey, wake up, President Ronald Reagan's Republicans are clearly in charge today, and all Republicans need to start acting like winners, instead of pretending to be a true victim like the closeted gay student at OSU in 1969 who was beat up by other students who were not punished because anybody "out" as being gay was "just asking for trouble."

The WGSS faculty represents the improvements and discoveries made by civilized OSU Beavers over the 20th Century.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

University of Oregon law professor's blackface costume provokes free speech discussion

University of Oregon law school professor's blackface Halloween costume

PHOTO: A University of Oregon law school professor's blackface Halloween costume led many of her colleagues to call for her her resignation. See newspaper articles by Diane Dietz, "University Of Oregon: UO president denounces law professor who donned blackface for Halloween party," The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, registerguard.com posted Nov. 3, 2016 , Diane Dietz, "University Of Oregon: UO Law faculty members seek professor's resignation in the wake of her blackface Halloween costume," The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, registerguard.com posted Nov. 4, 2016 and Diane Dietz, The Register-Guard, "Black Students urge changes at University of Oregon," Corvallis Gazette-Times, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016, p. A9, originally printed as "Black students press for UO strides on race," The Register-Guard, Nov. 12, 2016.

A Eugene, Oregon alternative weekly newspaper published a letter by Vince Loving, "Letters to the Editor 2016-11-10: Forced to Resign," Eugene Weekly, Nov. 10, 2016, p. 4, who said, "A UO professor may be fired or, as they say in polite company, forced to resign for wearing blackface at a Halloween party. . . The professor was not mocking Afro-Americans but trying to make a point. The theme was based on the book Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflection on Race and Medicine about racism in medical school. . ."

An editorial published in the same alternative weekly newspaper edition criticized the rush to judgement against the professor:

"Was a valuable teachable moment eclipsed by political correctness at the University of Oregon? A UO law faculty member blackened her face - something she absolutely should not have done - in an attempt to make a point about race. Nancy Shurtz, a highly respected UO law prof for more than 30 years, invited faculty and students to her home for a Halloween party. Her costume was a white coat and blackface depicting Dr. Damon Tweedy, who wrote Black Man in a White Coat, a best-selling book about racial hurdles for a medical professional. Shurtz has publicly apologized for her mistake in using blackface. The law dean has suspended her from teaching, 23 law faculty members have asked her to resign and UO President Michael Schill is highly critical in his public statements. Wait. What about due process and facts and the UO's own policies on free speech and academic freedom, the First Amendment? The faculty union, of which the law school is not a member, has written that Shurtz is entitled to a fair hearing, a position that we assume is held by law school faculty other than the 23? Academic politics is also a big player here, but that's another slant." (Quoted from EW Staff, "Slant," Eugene Weekly, Nov. 10, 2016, p. 8)

The "Eugene Weekly" has a long reputation for having a liberal readership, especially being in the same town as the University of Oregon, which includes the main law school in Oregon. Therefore, I will be interested to see the response to my letter they published in response to this incident:

While I share the disgust reaction to a University of Oregon Professor wearing a blackface costume, I find the calls for her resignation to be hypocritical, especially coming from attorneys trained to defend the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

I have experienced a similar disgust reaction to misogynistic and homophobic portrayals of women and gay people as being dumb or limp-wristed queens, and have felt the urge to call for its censorship.

However, my Grandfather taught me that censorship based on disgust can be dangerous, as he witnessed in 1933 at Berlin University where Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld's research books on homosexuals were literally burned by Nazis disgusted by it.

I am old enough to have watched "Amos 'n' Andy" on network television -- a show that was later censored for its virtual blackface racism.

Both blackface and drag queen camp performances are part of the rich history of the theater arts that should not be censored, but preserved in a proper context as lessons for future generations.

Free speech that disgusts or offends anyone, which is not libel or slander, should be countered only with more free speech instead of with punishment or censorship.

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer, "Hypocritical Reaction," Eugene Weekly "Letters to the Editor 2016-11-17" posted Nov. 17, 2016)

Due to the space constraints of a letter to the editor, I was unable to expand on why I listed only the exceptions of "libel or slander," and not obscenity, to speech that could legitimately be punished because such speech can actually harm others. Many U.S. Supreme Court decisions on free speech have carved out several exceptions to the First Amendment rights in these areas and I generally agree with their decisions, except for the decisions that have allowed the censorship of some speech concerning homosexuals as being obscene. (See previous post OSU Foundation Magnus Hirschfeld Fund Agreement (1/4/12) for a photo of the Nazi book burning mentioned in my letter.)

Another letter on this subject published in my local professional daily newspaper was by P.M. deLaubenfels, "Letter: A casualty of political correctness," gazettetimes.com posted Nov 8, 2016 -- his mocking tone might be misinterpreted by some people as being either for or against free speech.

An overview history of blackface and TV shows can be found in the following articles:

  • ""Blackface" wikipedia.org accessed Nov. 9, 2016, says, "Blackface is a form of theatrical makeup used by non-black performers to represent a black person. The practice gained popularity during the 19th century and contributed to the spread of racial stereotypes such as the "happy-go-lucky darky on the plantation" or the 'dandified coon.'"
  • "Amos 'n' Andy," wikipedia.org accessed Nov. 9, 2016 says, "A television adaptation ran on CBS (1951-53) and continued in syndicated reruns (1954-66). It would not be shown to a nationwide audience again until 2012."

The Corvallis, Oregon (home to Oregon State University 40 miles north of Eugene) professional newspaper editorial by Mike McNally also supported the professor's freedom of speech:

"Shurtz remains on administrative leave. She has not resigned, and she should not. The university should not fire her, in part because such a decision would preclude an option that actually could prove to be useful to everyone concerned, and to the larger university community as well. Handled properly, this incident could help spark a discussion about how to have meaningful conversations about race and speech in America today. But that won't happen if the university shows Shurtz the door, washing away all those possible lessons in a wave of bitter recriminations and vicious finger-pointing." (Quoted from Staff, "Editorial: Lessons from UO's blackface incident," gazettetimes.com posted Nov. 16, 2016)

On a loosely related note also concerning freedom of speech, after Donald Trump was elected President of the United States of America, I was heartened to see students at the predominately conservative Oregon State University exercising their Constitutional First Amendment rights of peaceful assembly to protest against the election of Donald Trump -- something I haven't seen at OSU since the Vietnam War era. It has given me hope about the future of America, despite the mean-spirited rhetoric of Donald Trump that I find disgusting. (See OSU student newspaper article by Valerie Maule, "Over 400 students attended peace rally on OSU campus," Barometer, Nov. 10, 2016 and the WR121 writing class essay by "Raising their voices, Brian Rathbone, Speaking out, Richard Steeves, Free speech, . . ." OSU Barometer, Nov. 14, 2016, p. 1, 3, 8-14, 16 that was part of several essays printed as an "academic supplement" inside the student paper. (Note: The faculty member driving WR121 convinced the student paper to use the term "academic supplement" instead of "paid advertisement" as they used before. (See previous post OSU 'I am gay' writing class essay printed as paid advertisement in student newspaper (11/24/15))

Thursday, November 3, 2016

OSU gay frat Δ Λ Φ organized by student Cory Zimmerman

OSU Delta Lambda Phi Barometer front page story Oct. 31, 2016

PHOTO: The front page (center bottom) and center spread of Oregon State University's student newspaper featured some of the new members of the recently colonized IFC gay fraternity Δ Λ Φ (aka Delta Lambda Phi) that "focuses on creating a space for men of all sexual orientations and gender expressions to have the traditional Greek experience on campus." (See online version of the weekly print edition of story by Anna Weeks Greek Peek Blog Manager, "Fostering inclusivity - Delta Lambda Phi colonizes at OSU, IFC Fraternity to focus on creating an inclusive environment within the Greek system, support LGBTQ+ community," OSU Barometer weekly print edition, Oct. 31, 2016, p. 1, 8-9)

The new OSU gay frat Δ Λ Φ is being spearheaded by the OSU student Cory Zimmerman (listed as an Interior Design major in the student directory.oregonstate.edu accessed Nov. 21, 2015) who last year wrote an essay on being gay. (See previous post OSU 'I am gay' writing class essay printed as paid advertisement in student newspaper (11/24/15) that includes my analysis of his essay.)

Some selected quotes from the above student newspaper article:

"Founded by gay men for all men," part of DLP's mission statement, summarizes the fraternity's goal to create a place within the fraternal system that enhances the quality of life among men irrespective of sexual orientation or gender expression.

On Oct. 22, Delta Lambda Phi was installed as an Interfraternity Council colony and invited 10 pledges into the nationally recognized brotherhood.

Delta Lambda Phi was founded in 1986 in Washington D.C.

Those that helped bring DLP to campus hope the chapter will provide a welcoming community for men who identify as gay, bisexual or transgender-as well as those who do not---and allow anyone who wants it to get a true fraternity experience.

Cory Zimmerman, the current DLP president and one of the individuals who worked to bring the fraternity to the OSU campus, had debated whether or not to participate in traditional recruitment while attending OSU.

(Quoted from Anna Weeks Greek Peek Blog Manager, "Fostering inclusivity. Delta Lambda Phi colonizes at OSU, IFC Fraternity to focus on creating an inclusive enironment within the Greek system, support LGBTQ+ community," OSU Barometer print edition, Oct. 31, 2016, p. 1, 8-9)

The publication of this story nicely complements the OSU Queer History Month story by Madilyn Sturges, "October is Queer History Month," Oregon State University Barometer, posted Oct. 13, 2016.

See previous posts OSU 'Greek Pads' features fraternity house Phi Delta Theta (1/1/12), Gay frat boy's election shows progress toward equality at OSU (5/2/12) and OSU 'Greek Pads' features fraternity house Phi Delta Theta (1/1/12).

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Corvallis 'Big Wood' services are misinterpreted by perverted minds

Coupon for Corvallis 'Big Wood' services received in mail Sep. 2016

PHOTO: A coupon for "All tree & Stump Services" by "Big Wood Tree Expert Company of Corvallis, Oregon" was apparently sent to households in the Benton County area, which I received in the U.S. mail on Sept. 19, 2016. The company's About Us page says, "Justin Gammon has been serving Lincoln County, Linn County, Benton County, and Lane County in tree removal service since 1998." I've never used this service and I don't know it they are good or not, so this blog post is not an advertisement for them!

Perhaps it is because I was perverted by living in San Francisco for a few years, but my first reaction to the above advertisement was that any business named "Big Wood" must only be a downtown gay bar in San Francisco that caters to the gay male lumberjack types who wear Paul Bunyan's mythical plaid shirts and have never been in an actual forest. (Note: the term lumberjack is NOT used in Oregon like it is in Minnesota, because there are NO lumberjacks in Oregon -- instead men who cut timber in Oregon always call themselves loggers and they will derisively label anyone who calls them a lumberjack as being from "back East.")

Of course, I have no excuse for such perverted thinking because I literally live next door to the Oregon State University School of Forestry's research forest, where tree removal is a serious academic field of study, and so I appreciate the irony of a local tree removal business using the name "Big Wood Services."

A recent local newspaper story concerning "Big Wood" skillfully combined these memes together:

"Preparations are under way for moving the historic Peavy House . . .

The 101-year-old Peavy House, located at Northwest 25th Street and Northwest Jackson Avenue, is scheduled for a move across Northwest Monroe Avenue and through a campus parking lot at 6 a.m. Sunday morning. Its new site will be an open lot at Northwest 30th Street and Northwest Johnson Avenue. . .

The original owner was George Wilcox Peavy. He headed the forestry department in 1910 and in 1934 was named president of what was then Oregon State College. He also was elected the mayor of Corvallis in 1947. Peavy lived for many years in the house with his wife and children; he died in Corvallis on June 24, 1951. . .

Big Wood Tree Expert Company began trimming branches on Tuesday and continued to trim them on Orchard Avenue Wednesday. Tree branches lower than 32 feet high were trimmed back to make room for the 2,900-square-foot house, which is 32 feet high and 35 feet wide.

"We're trimming the sides of trees," said Paul Christensen, the head climber for the tree company. That is not like topping them, which would affect the trees' long-term viability."

(Quoted from Joce DeWitt, "History on the move," gazettetimes.com posted Jun. 19, 2012)

For more, see the article about "George Wilcox Peavy (1932-1940)," Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries, accessed Oct. 31, 2016, who was the OSU Dean of Forestry, and was appointed acting president of Oregon State College in 1932. Despite George Peavy having the same name of a common logging tool, he is not the inventor of it. (See "Peavey (tool)," wikipedia.org accessed Oct. 31, 2016, which says, "The peavey was named for blacksmith Joseph Peavey of Upper Stillwater, Maine, who invented the tool as a refinement to the cant hook (also known as a "cant dog") in the 1850s. Many lumberjacks use the terms interchangeably. . . The Peavey Manufacturing Co. is still located in Eddington, Maine." (Notice the use of "lumberjack" in the Wikipedia article. It must have been written by somebody back East! Any Forestry Major at OSU would have correctly said "logger" instead of "lumberjack.")

Monday, October 24, 2016

Newspaper lists same-sex spouse for Corvallis City Councilman Roen Hogg up for reelection

Corvallis City Councilman Roen Hogg lists spouse Doug Eaton Gazette-Times, Oct. 21, 2016, p. A2 PHOTO: (click on photo to enlarge) the same-sex "spouse Doug Eaton" of Roen Hogg, "Ward 2 City Councilor," City of Corvallis corvallisoregon.gov accessed Oct. 24, 2016, is listed in the newspaper election coverage article by James Day, "Ward 2 incumbent faces challenger," Corvallis Gazette-Times, Oct. 21, 2016, p. A2 posted online as "Incumbent Hogg, newcomer Maughan seek Ward 2 seat", which includes downtown Corvallis.

MAP: 344 SW 7th St Corvallis, OR 97333 (From Google Maps) shows the location of the "Charles and Ibby Whiteside House," wikipedia.org accessed Oct. 24, 2016. The house is owned by Doug Eaton 344 SW 7th Street Corvallis Oregon 541-753-2946 bizyellowpages.com accessed Oct. 24, 2016 and is a historic house in Corvallis, Oregon that was built from plan books in 1922 during a period of rapid growth in Corvallis. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.

I was heartened that the above newspaper's listing of a City Councilman's same-sex marriage has drawn no negative reactions. I consider this lack of reaction remarkable because it was only a little over a decade ago that the majority of Oregon citizens voted for an Oregon Constitutional Amendment to ban same-sex marriages. Likewise, some readers of the Corvallis Gazette-Times newspaper in the 1970's were writing letters to the editor threating to cancel their newspaper subscriptions over a story that ran in 1976 about gay people in Corvallis, which was a story they considered as unacceptable to be printed in a "family newspaper."

It has been remarkable to witness these changes in cultural attitudes over the last 50 years, especially in the well-educated educated College town of Corvallis, Oregon, which has been historically dominated by Oregon State University, which has historically been considered more liberal than the rest of Oregon, but never as liberal as the University of Oregon in Eugene, 40 miles south of Corvallis.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

How Hewlett-Packard layoffs were avoided by founders Bill and Dave

GT headline, 'HP cuts jobs at Corvallis Campus,' Oct. 14, 2016, p. A1

PHOTO: The Corvallis, Oregon morning newspaper headlines announced the latest layoffs by Hewlett-Packard as being the result of a structural decline in business and the last year split off of the computer printer and PC business from the Hewlett-Packard Enterprise that runs a computing services business. Both of these parts of HP had been previously split off from the medical, analytical and electronic instrument test and measurement businesses that were later split into Agilent Technologies and Keysite Technologies, which included the electronic test and instrument businesses run by HP since it was founded in 1939. (See newspaper story by Kyle Odegard, "HP cuts jobs at Corvallis Campus. Up to 4,000 workers are to be laid off across the company," Gazette-Times, Fri. Oct. 14, 2016, p. A1, A3 gazettetimes.com posted online as "HP announces job cuts" that follows up on the previous story by Nathan Bruttell, "HP to jettison up to 30,000 jobs as part of spinoff," gazettetimes.com posted Sep. 15, 2015)

Aerical view of Hewlett-Packard Corvallis Campus circa 2010

PHOTO: An aerial view of Hewlett-Packard's Corvallis, Oregon campus circa 2010, which is located near Oregon State University and next to the Willamette River. The first building was built in 1975 at the center of the site and named "Building Number 4." It addressed the business needs of the rapidly expanding handheld scientific calculator division whose first product was the famous HP-35 handheld calculator first introduced in 1972. At the Corvallis site, HP invented some of the first personal desktop and portable computers, which led to the construction of HP buildings numbers 3 and 5 being built adjacent to Building 4. HP also built the world's first handheld computer smart phone in 1982 based on Bell Labs then new cell phone technology, but the project was cancelled by HP management and Steve Jobs of Apple picked it up after being shown it. Over the next twenty years, the big growth of the site occurred after the invention of the inkjet printer for both calculators and personal computers that led to more buildings being built to house the nearly 10,000 employees who were working on the HP Corvallis site by the 1990's.

headline 'H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs' Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2

PHOTO: Hewlett-Packard's plans in the 1970 to build a calculator plant and research facility in Corvallis is reported in a newspaper article by John Atkins, "H-P executive predicts 700 new jobs," Gazette-Times Aug. 8, 1974, p. 2. (See previous posts HP and Corvallis newspaper history (3/11/09) about the move of the Hewlett-Packard calculator division from Palo Alto, California to Corvallis, Oregon in 1975 and Don't Cali-fornicate Oregon and HP annexation history (6/14/12).

I've written recently about the history and influence of company founders Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. (See previous posts HP breakup making Bill and Dave spin in their graves (9/11/15) and HP 3-D printers praised by Jim Cramer CNBC Wall Street reporter (7/24/15))

What I've not said much about is how the Hewlett-Packard company founders William Hewlett and David Packard avoided laying off employees from the start of the company's founding in 1939 until their deaths around the turn of the 21st Century. They were both humble men who had survived the Great Depression in the 1930's and therefore did everything in their power to manage HP in a very conservative manner that would not require HP to be a hire and fire operation in order to remain profitable and in business if another Depression occurred. They also did not want to follow the stuffy and formal business practices common in Back East companies at the time, for example, both men insisted on employees dressing casually and calling them by their first names Bill and Dave instead of by the more formal conventions of addressing them as "Mister," while dressed in a business suit.

To avoid layoffs, Bill and Dave adopted a very conservative business strategy that was paradoxically based on innovation and invention, which historically had led many businesses to high risk, boom and bust ventures. To avoid layoffs, in addition to their excellent judgement in deciding what products to invest in versus not, they believed in having a diversified portfolio of businesses and products that were each managed by a dedicated team that could fail or succeed without bankrupting the company. This strategy allowed for the risk taking that often led to spectacular successes, while at the same allowing Bill and Dave to easily judge the financial results within thier larger business.

The advantage of Bill and Dave's decentralized division management business model was it allowed the company to grow by promoting the best people within the company without requiring Bill and Dave to micromanage every business for overall HP success. This business model worked great in the types of businesses HP was initially involved in, such as electronic test and measurement instruments and handheld scientific calculators, but it proved to have a problem in businesses that required a system of products from multiple divisions and other companies, such as computer systems, which need mutally exclusive business models to be competitive u the real world.

By the 1980's Bill and Dave had recognized the system management issue and reorganized their managers in a matrix with responsibilities to both their "box product business" as well as to the success of HP's system businesses. Of course, this was easier said than done because it required managers to fly all over the world to coordinate their activity with other businesses as well as HP's customers.

Despite the difficulty of managing the rapid growth and diverse businesses of HP, Bill and Dave kept the HP growing growing until they died. But after they died, Wall Street investment bankers started to impose their view of how companies should be organized and divided it up into smaller pieces that were easier to manage and easier for Wall Street to understand and judge the success or failure of the business finacially.

Of course, Wall Street investment bankers make good money by splitting up companies, but they did have a good point about the drastically different business models that were required to make HP successful and the fact that these business models were often in conflict to the detriment of all. For example, the traditional electronic instrument business could grow at ten or twenty percent per year while investing about ten percent of revenues in R & D to continuously upgrade and invent new products for their customers. In contrast, other businesses could be profitable only with a larger investment in R & D, such as software businesses that often need to spend more than 20 percent of revenues for R & D in order to remain competitive.

Another example was the business versus consumer businesses, such as HP printers, where a home user doesn't have the same expectations of reliability and speed that a business might have and be willing to pay for. Consumer printing products, such as inkjet printers successfully profit from a business model that is called by business schools a "razor vs. razor blade" strategy of virtually giving away the razor or printer product in order to gain market share, with the expectation that your profits will come from the annuity payment comprised of repeat sales for supplies, such razor blades or inkjet pens and paper supplies.

Of course, the problem created by needing to use multiple business strategies is figuring out how it can be explained to public investors, including inpatient Wall Street stock portfolio managers who can't figure out how to value your business in the public stock market.

Of course, as long as the company founders Bill and Dave were the major stockholders, it didn't matter because they understood it and as long as they grew revenue and profits, Wall Street didn't care about the details. However, shortly after their deaths, HP was pressured into a four way split of their business, along with a few acquisitions and mergers driven by Wall Street investment bankers. (HP first split into HP and Agilent Technologies, then HP split into HP Inc. and HP Enterprise plus Agilent split off Keysite Technologies, which was the original test and measurement box business of HP. Sadly, while HP is still a big company, this has led to it becoming a hire and fire operation like most companies in America.

See previous posts:

Saturday, October 8, 2016

OSU students' daily newspaper goes weekly for print edition and is inserted in local professional newspaper

Oregon State University's student newspaper "The Daily Barometer" is now being printed weekly only during the main school year, but it is now also being inserted in the local professional newspaper every week. (See About page "Barometer," oregonstate.edu accessed Sep. 6, 2016 that said, "Attention: The Barometer is no longer printed in the Summer and will only be published on Mondays starting Fall Term 2016. Please check out our online presence for daily news and updates." Also see the editorial by Riley Youngman Editor-in-Chief, "A new year, a new Baro," Barometer, Mon. Sep. 26, 2016, p. 2 and an announcement by the local profession newspaper the Gazete-Times: Mid-Valley Media, "A new partnership," gazettetimes.com posted Sep. 29, 2016. This change in publication of the print edition was hinted at in editorials at the end of by last by student editors who wanted readers to know they would be returning after summer break 2016, which was the first summer for decades that a weekly printed edition was not printed during the Summer Term.

This change of the OSU student newspaper, from daily to weekly print editions, prompted me to write the following letter to the editor of my local professional newspaper:

Those of us with nostalgia for old-fashioned newspapers printed with ink on newsprint were sad to read that the Oregon State University's daily student newspaper is now printed only every Monday during the fall to spring terms, but are happy to have the new printed version, called "The Baro," inserted into the Gazette-Times every Tuesday, albeit with a 4.5-inch shorter page height.

Forty years ago my mother, who refused to touch any computer, warned me that I might get what I wished for when I started evangelizing for the paperless publication computer technology that was being invented by people in both Silicon Valley and Corvallis.

Approximately two decades ago both the G-T and the OSU Barometer were some of the first publications on the World Wide Web, which leads to the question: When will the G-T start following the weekly print schedule adopted by OSU students?

(Quoted from Thomas Kraemer,"Letter: Happy to see 'The Baro' in the G-T," Gazette-Times, Tue. Oct. 11, 2016, p. A7, gazettetimes.com posted Oct. 8, 2016)

The editor of my local newspaper, Mike McInally, told me in a personal communication that he had, "No plans yet to go weekly, but it would be interesting to try to figure out a way to do that correctly." He said the Portland Oregonian newspaper has tried, with mixed results, to alter its print schedule and it also shrunk the newspaper to an 11" wide by 15" tall tabloid-like page size.

It seems to me that the value of a large newspaper page is the ability to skim read more news curated by human editors, and shrinking page sizes just reduces the benefits, at least until artificial intelligence can truly replace these human editors in the future.

For reference, here are the old and new page sizes:

  • OSU Barometer old page size 11" x 17-1/2"
  • OSU Baro new page size 11" x 13"
  • Cazette-Times page size 11" x 23" (Note it had a wider page until a few years ago when most newspapers standardized on their curent paper width, which caused the wider paper to become too expensive to buy)
  • Oregonian page size 11" x 15" in 2016

Also of interest is an "opinion piece" run in the OSU student newspaper by Ed Ray, Oregon State University President, "Welcome back students, from President Ray," Barometer, Mon. Sep. 26, 2016, p. 3. The Oregon State University President mentions the upcoming 150th anniversary of the founding of OSU in 1868 as a land grant college. President Ray also summarizes the latest enrollment figures, including the fact that 59% of the 7,650 incoming OSU students are instate students (4,510 new instate students) who have come from all of the counties in Oregon. Ray doesn't mention the overall enrollment numbers, which this year promises to be more than 40,000 students.

Some other links to news of interest:

Finally, for my own reference, I've listed below some links to the key OSU Calendars: