Issue 110, Summer 2009

  • In February, the NCAC and the ACLU of Tennessee jointly responded to a complaint that filters installed at the Central High School in Knoxville, TN were blocking websites providing political and educational content about LGBTQ issues. The ACLU brought an action alleging constitutional violations and the school agreed to modify its internet policy.
  • In March, Boston College barred former Weather Underground member and Professor of Education Bill Ayers from speaking on campus after a local talk show host criticized the college, citing Ayers’ prior political activities.
  • At the behest of a Chicago Alderman, a brand-new mural on a private wall was painted over. The mural, by Chicago artist and muralist Gabriel Villa, depicted three Chicago Police Department blue light cameras that carried the CPD logo along with other images meaningful to the predominantly Hispanic community: a crucified Christ, a deer head, and a skull.
  • The University of North Carolina at Wilmington censored a large part of the Century Project – a chronological series of nude photographic portraits of women and girls from the moment of birth to nearly a hundred years of age – removing all images of minors. The Project had traveled for 18 years without any problems.
  • In other campus news, Clark University canceled a talk by Norman Finkelstein, Holocaust scholar and prominent critic of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, saying the speech would conflict with a conference hosted by the Strassler Family Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, and “would invite controversy and not dialogue or understanding.”
  • The administration at Bowling Green State University – Firelands ordered the removal of a sculpture commenting on the sexual abuse of schoolchildren by a teacher. In protest, the gallery director closed the whole show.
  • The library board in West Bend, WI has voted to keep a selection of young adult books dealing with LGBTQ issues in the youth section of the library, rather than relegating them to the adult section. But a small group of citizens are still calling for their removal and beyond that, a public book burning of one particular novel: Francesca Lia Block’s Baby Be-Bop which has a gay teenager as its protagonist.
  • In May, President Obama announced that he would remove most funding earmarked for abstinence-only education. Let’s see if Congress goes along.