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Thursday, July 12, 2012

OSU President in alumni magazine on cultural center upgrade and anti-gay backlash

OSU alumni magazine on cultural centers Fall 2011, p. 8-11 Winter 2012, p. 5

PHOTO: (click photo to enlarge) Oregon State University President writes in the alumni magazine about raising the money to renovate or rebuild four of the main cultural centers. See article by Ed Ray, "Ed Said, Consider what it's like to be the 'other,'" Oregon Stater alumni magazine, Fall 2011, p. 8-9 (left) and an anti-gay letter in response in the next issue where the editor said Ed's article had an unprecedented response (right). Christine Armer, 0'03, "Prefers Melting Pot," Oregon Stater alumni association magazine Winter 2012, p. 5. Ed ray responds that he meant to also emphasize in the original piece that the cultural centers are important places for everyone to visit and learn.

OSU President Ed Ray was instrumental in raising money to have OSU's four main ethnic cultural centers rebuilt or renovated, a process which has begun with work on a new Native American Cultural Center. (Also Asian & Pacific Cultural Center, Black Cultural Center, Centro Cultural César Chávez, Native American Longhouse)

I am not privy to the internal OSU administration discussions, but I am sure that there has been much discussion on how do you treat cultural centers associated with a legally protected minority racial class, such as the black student center, versus the Women's Center, which represents an oppresed majority of students instead of a minority, and the OSU Pride center, for LGBT students, without offending either liberals or conservatives that sponsor OSU. I've witnessed the arguments over the years and the "politically correct" approach has been not to compare racial minorities with other groups and to acknowledge that even though women are a minority they have been historically oppressed and disadvantaged due to sex discrimination. Likewise, gay students have always had to deal with the accusation that they are not a true minority because sexual orientation is a choice unlike race according to some people and furthermore, various campus religious organizations consider gay behavior to be immoral and are resentful of gays receiving "special rights." Ironically, religion is a choice and the campus diversity goals strive to ensure the inclusiveness of all minority religious points of view, even the bigoted ones.

Other links of interest:

OSU archives library collection on gay history had added some things since I last checked. Here are some key links: