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Sun Jun 23, 2019, 03:57 AM

Yes, add Sen. Jason Rapert to the mix in gay pride sign takedown at University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas has belatedly admitted that president Houston Davis communicated with anti-gay Republican Sen. Jason Rapert about the takedown of a gay pride quote by Lady Gaga in front of the university library.

Back story: Davis ordered removal of a sign about gayness quoting Lady Gaga the day after the library posted it June 11. (Being gay is permanent, the quote essentially said.) It was in keeping with library practice of posting quotes relevant to current events — this one timed with Pride Month celebrated by LGBT people. Somebody complained. The president ordered the sign down. He said it was an institutional expression of opinion and a bad thing for young people on campus to see. (A statement of scientific fact is bad?) The response was fierce. Is homosexuality a matter of choice, not biology? Should gay students and faculty go into hiding when young people are on campus? Should the library not present material relevant to the time? — Malcolm X on black history month; Betty Friedan on women’s observances?

My efforts through FOI to find out who complained and how the president responded have so far been largely fruitless. Did the president really remove an innocuous sign without written orders?

Late today, a University spokesman did provide this answer to one of my specific questions. Such as, who called? Did they include a legislator? My responses from Amanda Hoelzeman of UCA include this:

We do not have any records that meet your request. President Davis did receive phone calls, but there are no records of these calls. He’s happy to meet with you and discuss the calls he received, along with the decision-making process for this matter, if you’d like to do that. I’ve included a response below to your earlier question. Please let me know if there’s anything else I can provide to you. thanks.

The response and decision has absolutely nothing to do with the personal beliefs of Houston Davis. Taking the quote down was a matter of considering whether a university sign could be used in that manner and factoring in the way we treat other similar university signs.

Read more: https://arktimes.com/arkansas-blog/2019/06/19/yes-add-sen-jason-rapert-to-the-mix-in-gay-pride-sign-takedown-at-uca

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