The University Record, October 15, 1996

LETTERS

October both painful, prideful for gay community
October is National Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual History Month and October 11th is National Coming Out Day. This is a time when lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and our families and friends celebrate our history, heroes and culture.

This October has been both celebratory and painful for the LGBT community on campus. We experienced a letter filled with tired old anti-gay rhetoric in the Record; hate messages chalked on campus walkways; the theft and return of the LGBPO banner; and verbal name-calling and threats of violence. These kinds of incidents are expected backlashes to the increased visibility by LGBT people on campus, especially during an election year. It is a shame that some people would invoke the names of groups and even God to justify illegal and unethical behavior.

Queer Unity Project members are to be commended for their outstanding leadership. In addition to bringing meaningful Coming Out Day programs to the campus, they handled adverse situations by immediately and accurately reporting anti-gay harassment, rather than participating in retaliatory behavior. The Michigan Student Assembly (MSA) and University administrators also acted swiftly and unfalteringly with investigation and action regarding each of the above incidents. There was never a question that QUP, MSA or administrators would do the right thing; indeed, through all of this the issue of right and wrong was never clouded. The system worked this week at the University of Michigan because our students understand and believe in that system. When despicable things happened, our students knew and used the recourse available to them. The system worked. Our student leaders acted with dignity and with grace.

I have no doubt that the University of Michigan has been transformed into a place where we are beginning to understand and experience the meaning of liberty and justice for all. This is, after all, what National Coming Out Day is all about.
Ronni Sanlo, Director Lesbian Gay Bisexual Programs Office

Does financial independence include other sports?
It was nice to read about the financial independence of the Athletic Department. I hope that this does not mean football and basketball only. In the article there is no mention of track and field, swimming, gymnastics, etc. And I hope it also includes women's athletics. Perhaps it would be valuable to publish an addition that clears that question, stating that the many different parts of athletics which don't bring any income are also included.
Guenther H. D. Elste, associate professor of astronomy, LS&A

Editor's Note: Thanks for your suggestion. It's true that the Athletic Department is entirely financially independent, including the non-revenue sports and women's sports. Football, basketball and hockey, along with other revenue sources such as licensing royalties, generate enough income to support all of the other sports programs at the U-M. That's highly unusual among major college sports programs.