Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Around The Nation

New York
Debate Over Display Of Pride Flag Alongside 'National' Banners
LaGuardia Community College
LONG ISLAND CITY -- A debate over display of the LGBTQ 'Pride' banner has broken out at a Long Island City college. Staff and LGBT students at CUNY LaGuardia Community College claim that displaying the 'Pride' flag in the school's 'Hall Of Flags' would show support for the college’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
However, opponents objected claiming that the flag represents a lifestyle and is not a national ensign and therefore has no place hanging alongside flags from more than 100 countries. The flags of the world were a gift from the United Nations “to celebrate LaGuardia’s diversity,” according to the school’s website.
The New York Daily News quoted education professor Richard Henry, who has been leading the charge.
“It’s our hall, it’s our flags. Why quibble over whether it’s a nation?" He said adding, “If it’s going to help our students, why not fly it?” 
Henry pushed for displaying the flag earlier this month after colleagues posted notices on their office doors declaring their offices as safe zones for LGBT students.
A spokesperson for the college, Randy Fader-Smith noted, [the decision] “will rest with a committee comprised of faculty, staff and students ... at the beginning of the school year.”
According to the Daily News, one faculty member, who asked to remain anonymous, knows where he stands already: The flag must not be unfurled beyond the glass case on the side where it currently resides. “You’re here to learn,” he said.
A student from Brooklyn said he didn't think it was appropriate for the worldwide LGBTQ symbol to be displayed there.
“I don’t have nothing against gay pride,” Dennis Lilley, 22, said. “But those are national flags and I don’t believe homosexuality is a nation.” 
"Flying the flag is about more than symbolism," said Jess McDonald, a spokeswoman for Charlotte, North Carolina based Campus Pride. "LGBT students report higher rates of harassment and discrimination."
Almost a quarter of LGBT college staff and students reported being harassed, according to a 2010 report issued by the group. More than 43% reported fearing for their physical safety.
“Simple things like rainbow flags can be powerful,” McDonald said. “It really makes it feel like a safer space.”
Former USC Professor Walter L. Williams Placed On FBI's Top 10 Most Wanted List
Walter Lee Williams
By Brody Levesque | LOS ANGELES -- A former tenured professor of anthropology, gender studies and history at the University of Southern California, USC) and the founding editor of the INTERNATIONAL GAY & LESBIAN REVIEW, was put on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted List Monday. Walter Lee Williams is wanted by the FBI for allegedly engaging in sexual conduct with minors and producing child pornography.
During a press conference Monday, Bill L. Lewis, the assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division, told reporters that Williams is wanted “for sexual exploitation of children, travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places and criminal forfeiture.” He added, “The allegations Williams faces are serious, and we hope to catch him quickly before more children are abused.”
Lewis said that a four-count federal warrant was issued for Williams April 30, and in a seven-page indictment unsealed on Friday, June 14, in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles;
“[...] alleges Williams traveled from Los Angeles to the Philippines in January 2011 to engage in sex acts with two 14-year-old boys he met online in 2010.
Prior to his travel, Williams allegedly engaged in sexual activity via internet webcam sessions with these boys and expressed a desire to visit them in the Philippines to have sex. 
While in the Philippines, he allegedly engaged in sex acts with both boys and produced sexually explicit photos of one of the boys. Williams fled the Los Angeles area approximately one week after returning from the Philippines.”
Lewis noted that Williams is the 500th person put on the FBI’s famed list and is a fugitive whom the FBI believes left the country for Mexico or Peru. “[W]e believe that Williams' inclusion on this list of notorious fugitives will lead to the tip that breaks this case,” he told reporters. 
The FBI is offering a reward of up to $100,000 for information leading directly to Williams’ arrest. He is 64, white, 5’9”, weighs approximately 180 pounds and has grayish-brown hair and brown eyes. If you have information on Williams’ whereabouts, dial 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit fbi.gov. Go to fbi.gov/wanted/topten and click on Williams’ photo to submit a tip or read the information in Spanish.
Karen Ocamb, senior editor of the LA LGBT publication, Frontiers LA, wrote that Williams was the man most responsible for bringing the ONE Gay & Lesbian Archives to USC and referring to Williams' case said: "This is one of the LGBT community’s worst nightmares."