HillcrestBlog by "San Diego News Service" (619) 757-4909

"San Diego News Service" covers hard news, features and reviews for local and national print media, and maintains, "HillcrestBlog." Address: 3907 Georgia St., #15, San Diego 92103-3548. Our editor is Leo E. Laurence, J.D., Copy Ed.: Martin Brickson. Member: Society of Professional Journalists, Latino Journalists of California. Call news tips to (619) 757-4909 (days), Nights: (619) 220-8686 (fax also). leopowerhere@msn.com Copyright 2008 by San Diego News Service

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"FAGS" HITTING S.D. COLLEGES

San Diego -- FAGS continue to hit community college campuses in San Diego, and are creating quite a stir.
Their story is in the current issue of Zenger's Newsmagazine, available largely in Hillcrest ("Obelisk") and North Park. Dozens of copies of the community newspaper with the exclusive story on FAGS are being regularly distributed - albeit surreptitiously - at City, Mesa and Miramar community colleges.
The published Zenger's story is creating quite a stir on those three campuses, according to Jay Murley, a "City" student and a leader of the multi-campus FAGS organization.
FAGS is actually the acronym of a student group called Fellowship of Associated Gay Students and their straight allies.
Their initial appearance at "City" college downtown was dramatically revealed with a single, crudely-made, poster that simply read, FAGS are Back!
While the word "fags" has historically be used by homophobics to condemn and insult Gays, these gay students are converting the word into a positive statement.
A similar semantic conversion occurred years ago as young, gay students decided to begin calling themselves queers. They started organizations like Queer Youths, and their semantical conversion was highly successful, even on a national scale.
The FAGS movement on some, San Diego community college campuses has seriously upset some of the college administrators, particularly those who are believed to be lesbian. They told the FAGS leaders that any gay student organization should include the letter "L" for lesbian in its title. The FAGS organizers rejected that contention.
One City College administrator, Student Services Administrator Michele Montanez, said in a journalist's interview that the name FAGS was "inappropriate" name for a student organization.
When asked why, Montanez said the word was an unlawful "hate word."
Unfortunately, she is wrong, as a matter of law.
The word "fags" becomes a hate word only when it is used in anger, and a felony if accompanied with the threat of violence.
The word FAGS as used by these community-college, gay students is fully protected by the First Amendment, as a matter of Constitutional law.
Murley has hinted at legal action in confronting the "City" administration head-on.
"Attempting to mediate the situation, Associated Student person J. Shannon has suggested that some of the Fellowship of Associated Gay Students, legally a/k/a FAGS, in include me should meet with you (sic)," Murley wrote in an e-mail.
"I believe Denise Whisenhunt's presence would be counter-productive as she has earned FAGS' and my personal distrust," Murley added.
"I suspect that her Columbus School of Law 'Yes on 8' loyalties are questionably causing unethical opposition to FAGS.
"I believe that by banning our use of prepared promotional materials, she has unethically violated our First Amendment rights to deliberately stunt our membership growth in a reduced Rush Week," Murley wrote.
"I believe it will be useful for all concerned to discuss the distinctions between Free Speech on the one hand, and authorized student organizations' names, advisors and promotional materials on the other hand," wrote 'City" vice president of student services, in response to Murley's communications.
"Doesn't the First Amendment apply to both the name of the organization, and its promotional materials," questioned one legal scholar.
"The club expects to be recognized to represent NO on 8 in 2008 on your campus, as we attract attention by distributing free condoms for safer sex," Murley wrote in a response to White's e-mail.
"The proposed activities, as outlined in your e-mail, are not a problem," City administrator White explained in yet another e-mail with Murley.
"The problem remains with the proposed acroynm," White emphasized.
"Three 'City' students (Tuesday) afternoon talked at length about the (Zenger's) article, one looking forward to the next piece when "(the reporter) exposes Black Oklahoman homophobe Dean (of Student Affairs) Denise Wisenhunt (he called her Whistling cunt)," Murley reported to this HillcrestBlog.
It appears that the controversy at the "City" college campus is far from over, and may end up in court as a battle over First Amendment, free-speech rights.
______________________
Copyright, 2008, by Leo E. Laurence, J.D. leopowerhere@msn.com (619) 757-4909

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