Book Aims to Aid Homosexuals on College Campuses: Foes Decry `Aggressive Recruiting'

By Duin, Julia | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 21, 1996 | Go to article overview

Book Aims to Aid Homosexuals on College Campuses: Foes Decry `Aggressive Recruiting'


Duin, Julia, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


A new manual for college homosexuals, just out, tells them how to make themselves comfortable on campus - and how to deal effectively with those who disagree.

With the right organizing acumen, the manual says, college campuses can become "safe and welcoming places" for homosexuals.

"Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Campus Organizing: A Campus Manual" tells how to organize campus groups, hold effective rallies, find sympathetic faculty, include gay-lesbian studies in college curricula, hold press conferences and drive ROTC off campus.

"I don't think average parents know there's all this going on when they send their kid off to college," says Peter LaBarbera, editor of the Lambda Report on Homosexuality. "Campuses are an incredible hotbed of gay activism."

"There is aggressive recruiting going on . . . because the campus radicals are going after students that are sexually confused," says Stan Oaks of the Campus Crusade for Christ ministry, headquartered in Orlando, Fla.

The manual costs $30, and 300 copies already have been sold, says Curtis Shephard, director for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force campus project, which produced it.

The 334-page book advises homosexual graduates to petition the editor of the campus alumni magazine to publish news of same-sex marriages. If the editor refuses, "document omissions and alterations," the guide suggests, before complaining.

Not infrequently, the two sides clash. Jim Aist, a Cornell University professor, has been been battling the university administration since 1993 over packets he distributes on how to change from homosexuality to heterosexuality. Posters that Mr. Aist puts up around campus are regularly torn down.

Mr. Aist, who teaches plant pathology, says students from a group called Direct Action to Stop Homophobia organized an illegal sit-in in his department office. Then various students "filed charges and got me investigated 10 different times in two years by five different offices at Cornell," Mr. Aist says. "I was not found in violation of any campus code. Now there's a couple of offices at Cornell that are selectively denying me equal accesss to their brochure racks because they don't like what I have to say."

His appeal, made two months ago to the university president's office, has elicited no response, he says. Meanwhile, he has distributed 100 packets in all, 75 to Cornell students.

Many campuses sponsor events such as "National Coming Out Week" in October, which last year incurred the ire of Campus Crusade for Christ. In response, Crusade mounted an ad campaign - "Every Student's Choice" - in 30 student newspapers nationwide featuring testimonies and portraits of five formerly homosexual college graduates.

Forty percent of the calls to the ad's 800-number were negative and 60 percent requested more information. Some of the 40 percent also left their names and addresses.

Two college newspapers, the Purdue University Exponent and the Georgia Tech Technique, refused to run the ad. Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Va., refused to allow posters of the formerly homosexual students to be displayed. Crusade is considering suing Georgia Tech on the grounds that a state-funded newspaper cannot refuse advertising.

"Editors who ran these ads were deluged with e-mail messages; 70 alone went to the editor of the Southwest Texas State newspaper," says Mr. Oaks, who coordinated the campaign. "Other editors said that although they had to run these ads, they should be censored. If we say homosexuals can be changed, that's termed `sexual harassment.' "

Some homosexual activists say the reputation of campuses as friendly is often exaggerated.

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