National Briefs

Posted on 12 Jan 2006 at 10:03pm
By Wire Reports

Faculty group recommends choir director leave after spring semester

GRAND FORKS, N.D. A University of North Dakota faculty group is recommending that choir director Anthony Reeves be dismissed at the end of the spring semester, the end of the controversial director’s contract.

Reeves, an assistant professor, has contended that the university is trying to fire him because he is gay and because he and his partner tried to adopt a 19-year-old student.

University officials denied the accusations.

Reeves was accused of unprofessional conduct and neglect of duty.
A faculty committee heard nearly 80 hours of testimony in Reeves’ grievance hearing against the university that began Nov. 7 and concluded Dec. 18.

Reeves’ attorney said he is considering sending a letter to the university’s president asking him to hold off on taking any action until Reeves can respond to the faculty report.

Protests by Phelps clan spur lawmakers to act in Illinois, Indiana

After an anti-gay group staged protests at a handful of military funerals in Illinois, state officials announced Tuesday they will push for a law that would ban such demonstrations, joining other lawmakers around the country in proposing similar legislation.

“It is not right, it is not legal, it is not constitutional for any person to disrupt a funeral,” said Lieutenant Governor Pat Quinn in announcing the bill.
The same day in neighboring Indiana, a legislative committee gave its approval to a bill that would make disorderly conduct a felony if it occurs within 500 feet of funerals or memorial services.

Both measures were intended to counter the extreme techniques employed by Rev. Fred Phelps and members of his tiny church in Topeka, Kan. At an Indiana funeral for a servicemember killed in Iraq, church members dragged American flags on the ground and shouted insults at surviving family members. Phelps contends that American soldiers are being killed in Iraq as vengeance from God for protecting a country that harbors gays.

Similar legislation is being pursued in Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa and Oklahoma.

“‘Brokeback Mountain’ screening canceled in Salt Lake City suburb

SALT LAKE CITY A movie theater owned by Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller abruptly changed its screening plans and canceled the film “Brokeback Mountain.” The film, for any gay person on the planet who doesn’t know by now, is an R-rated gay love story between cowboys.

It was planned to open Friday at the Megaplex at Jordan Commons in Sandy, a suburb of Salt Lake City. It was pulled form the schedule instead.

A message posted at the ticket window said: “There has been a change in booking and we will not be showing “‘Brokeback Mountain.’ We apologize for any inconvenience.” Cal Gunderson, the manager of the Jordan Commons Megaplex, declined to comment about the situation.

The film, starring Health Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, is about two cowboys who discover they have feelings for each other. To two eventaully marry women but usually arrange to get together once of twice a year.

Anti-gay bullying may have prompted slashing attack, police say

Police in Sunrise, Fla. are investigating whether a student who slashed a schoolmate with a razor blade on Tuesday did it in retaliation for being bullied about his sexual orientation, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

‘”We are considering that as a motive, in addition to other possibilities,’” said Lt. Robert Voss.

Broward County Schools spokesman Keith Bromery said he was unaware of whether the Bair Middle School seventh-graders were feuding because one had harassed the other about possibly being gay.

Voss said at least 20 other students saw the Tuesday afternoon attack outside Bair Middle School.

The student who slashed the forehead and leg of his classmate was charged by police with two felonies: aggravated battery and possession of a weapon on school grounds, Voss said. A school official said he will be suspended for at least 10 days and likely will be expelled.

The boy who was cut got 14 stitches at Plantation General Hospital. Because he had punched the other boy, Voss said, he was taken by officers to the police station and charged with simple battery and released to his parents.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 13, 2006.

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