Republican McDonnell to Speak at Charter Day

February 4, 2010 Comments off

It won’t have the national news coverage of the Response to the State of the Union Address, but new Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) will take the stage at William and Mary’s Charter Day ceremony on Saturday, February 6th. The Governor will speak and receive an honorary degree from the College, a Charter Day tradition started in 1756 when the College granted an honorary degree to Benjamin Franklin.

Read more HERE.

Equality Virginia Issues Call for Action

February 1, 2010 Comments off

The following is an excerpt from the text of an action email from Equality Virginia to Virginia residents:

“Take a minute to read this alert, and then call your Virginia State Senator and ask him/her to vote for SB 66, which would protect all state employees from discrimination in the workplace. The vote will be in the next couple of days so it is important to call NOW, and to ask all of your friends and family to call, too!

This morning the Family Foundation sent out an email to its constituents and supporters urging them to contact their state Senators to ask them to vote no on SB 66. As usual, the Family Foundation’s rallying cry is that this is the “first time first time in Virginia history that sexual orientation would be elevated to a protected class.” About that, at least, they are right. Passage of this legislation would be historic.

Passage of SB 66 would not, however, be the radical step forward the Foundation suggests. Most Virginia businesses already protect GLBT employees from discrimination. This bill simply puts the state in line with the private sector, and ensures that Virginia state agencies and colleges and universities can be competitive when seeking to hire the best and brightest. […]

90% of Virginia voters believe that GLBT Virginians should not be discriminated against in the workplace. 86% of people who said that they supported the so-called marriage amendment (some of whom might even be members of the Family Foundation) say that they also support workplace nondiscrimination.”

Va Attorney General Acts to Kill Initiative

January 30, 2010 Comments off

Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli has acted to kill the initiative by former Governor Timothy Kaine to extend health care coverage to adult members of state employees’ households. For full documentation including the AG’s opinion, click HERE, then the Documents tab, and finally Attorney General certification which contains the letter declaring that “The proposed regulation suffers from numerous procedural and substantive defects.”

Times-Dispatch Publishes Call for Non-Discrimination

January 28, 2010 Comments off

In an Op-Ed column sure to raise the eyebrows of its conservative subscribers, the dowdy Richmond Times-Dispatch published a call for the new governor to affirm the existing Executive Order 1’s non-discrimination policy against gay and lesbian public employees, and even to push a statute through the General Assembly to codify such a policy in the laws of the Commonwealth.

Pick up your jaw and read more here.

Lambda Alliance Seeks GALA Participation for “Gay in the Workplace” Panel

January 22, 2010 Comments off

Lambda Alliance, the current campus organization for LGBT students, has formally requested GALA’s participation in a panel discussion on “Being Gay in the Workplace” for this spring semester. If any GALA members are interested in coming to campus for such a discussion, please contact GALA President Wayne Curtis through the “Contact Us” link in the right hand column.

Forbes Ranks W&M as “Best in the South”

January 22, 2010 Comments off

Forbes Magazine has listed William and Mary as the second best public university in the South, and the fifth best Southern university overall.
From The Flat Hat

Gov. Kaine to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Partners

December 4, 2009 Comments off

In his last weeks in office, Gov. Timothy Kaine (D) will proceed with implementing a proposal that will extend health benefits to the same-sex partners of state employees, beginning an 18-month phase-in period that will require the cooperation of his Republican successor to complete.
Read the entire article in the Washington Post.

Dean of University Libraries to Retire

October 29, 2009 Comments off

 

Connie Kearns McCarthy, dean of university libraries for the College of William and Mary, will retire in June 2010, she announced this week. Dean McCarthy has been a constant partner and supporter of William and Mary GALA throughout her tenure at Swem Library. We have had no greater friend in Williamsburg, and we congratulate her on reaching this milestone. (And we’ll miss her!) [Read the entire story]

GALA declines invitation to “The O’Reilly Factor”

October 26, 2009 Comments off

In the aftermath of the student election for Homecoming Queen, GALA President Wayne Curtis received an invitation to go onto “The O’Reilly Factor” on Monday, October 26, 2009. The following statement was sent to Fox News, as well as to representatives of other cable media:

“On behalf of William and Mary Gay and Lesbian Alumni, Inc., I appreciate your interest. We believe that the results of this student election speak volumes about the environment of tolerance and diversity that we have been working to build at William and Mary for over twenty years. Our membership of open-minded straight, lesbian, gay and transgendered alumni/ae and friends of the College of William and Mary feel that this election is a landmark event in our efforts to encourage that environment. However, since we are an independent organization of alumni/ae, not formally affiliated with the university, and not involved in day-to-day activities on campus, I don’t feel it would be appropriate to make commentary or otherwise take attention away from the William and Mary student body, for its their will that was democratically expressed in this matter.

Thank you for your offer, but I decline the opportunity to appear.

— Wayne Curtis,

William and Mary, Class of 1982

President, William and Mary GALA”

On behalf of William and Mary Gay and Lesbian Alumni, Inc., I appreciate your interest. We believe that the results of this student election speak volumes about the environment of tolerance and diversity that we have been working to build at William and Mary for over twenty years. Our membership of open-minded straight, lesbian, gay and transgendered alumni/ae and friends of the College of William and Mary feel that this election is a landmark event in our efforts to encourage that environment. However, since we are an independent organization of alumni/ae, not formally affiliated with the university, and not involved in day-to-day activities on campus, I don’t feel it would be appropriate to make commentary or otherwise take attention away from the William and Mary student body, for its their will that was democratically expressed in this matter.
Thank you for your offer, but I decline the opportunity to appear.
— Wayne Curtis,
William and Mary, Class of 1982
President, William and Mary GALA

Transgender homecoming queen a first for College

October 26, 2009 Comments off

Link: www.flathatnews.com

By Felicia Tsung

October 23, 2009

Jessee Vasold ’11 made history at the College of William and Mary Wednesday when ze was announced as the school’s first transgender homecoming queen, representing the Class of 2011.

Vasold identifies as gender-queer and prefers to be referred to with gender neutral pronouns: “ze” in place of he or she and “zir” rather than him or her. Vasold has also created a Facebook account for a female identity, Kathy Middlesex.

Friends suggested that Vasold run for homecoming queen. Even though Vasold thought that there was a good chance at being elected, Vasold said the win was still surprising to hear.

“We figured it would be something different for the school to go through, something that hasn’t happened too often,” Vasold said. “I was kind of surprised that I won because I knew the other girls running. I know that they’re really friendly; they’re wonderful people, so I was unsure.”

This year marks the return of direct voting by students. Last year, there was no platform to host voting, so the homecoming kings and queens were chosen by class officers out of student-submitted nominations.

The alumni website was used this year to choose the homecoming court. The alumni office had no oversight over the nominations for the court, which was a purely student initiative.

“I thought it was much better done this year because students actually could vote for who they wanted instead of having five or six class officers select who they think should be the winner,” Junior Class President Mike Tsidulko said.

According to Tsidulko, there is no rule against men or women running for opposite roles. Students who made nominations were simply asked to describe how the candidate exemplified Tribe pride.

“In general, most descriptions were about what activities they were involved in on campus or spiritedness at sporting events or any other kind of campus activity,” Senior Class President Alyssa Wallace said.

Those students nominated with a description were put on the ballot.

“It basically came down to nominations,” Wallace said. “Jessee was nominated, Jessee’s peers voted and Jessee won. That’s really all there is to it.”

Around campus, the reaction has been positive.

“I’ve only had people congratulating me. I know that one of my friends was in a conversation with someone who didn’t think that it was fair that I was able to run, because I’m not female-bodied,” Vasold said. “But it generated a really good conversation, so they were able to talk about a lot of different things.”

For Vasold, the election of the College’s first transgender homecoming queen is a significant step forward for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender community on campus.

“It’s definitely amazing that the students are in a really good position, in a really good spot on how they think about things,” Vasold said. “I think that it would be a good time to show student support on these issues.”

Vasold has played a significant role in the campus’s GLBT community.

Vasold is currently the Student Assembly Undersecretary of Diversity Initiatives for GLBT Affairs. Last year, Vasold served as co-president of the Lamba Alliance, the College’s GLBT advocacy group.

“I think students are really appreciative of just being able to have him at William and Mary,” Tsidulko said. “I think it’s a mark of how progressive our values are here … that’s certainly something that’s appreciated.”