Anderson Cooper’s UTA appearance rescheduled for Feb. 10

cooper-poster

If you missed out on getting tickets to see out CNN anchor Anderson Cooper in November, you have a second chance to see him in February.

Cooper’s appearance as part of the The University of Texas at Arlington’s 2013-14 Maverick Speakers Series was rescheduled due to his work schedule.

Tickets for the Feb. 10 event went on sale today. Tickets for the November event won’t be honored.

Out journalist and immigration activist Jose Vargas opened the speaker series in September.

For more information about the series, including upcoming appearances by CNN medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta and NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg, go here.

—  Dallasvoice

UTA celebrates 1st-ever Pride Week


The University of Texas at Arlington will celebrate its first Pride Week this week with several events, activities and speakers planning to attend.

The festivities kick off tonight at 6 p.m. in the university center with gay bingo.

Campus Pride Executive Director Shane Windmeyer will speak Tuesday afternoon about ways colleges can meet the needs of their LGBT students.

Windmeyer will also speak Tuesday night as the week’s keynote speaker, addressing challenges facing LGBT youth and ways to provide safer and more welcoming communities.

Gay Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns will talk about bullying on Wednesday afternoon, followed by a Thursday National Coming Out Day event on campus with a pink door and the college’s Safe Zone training in the afternoon.

Most events are free and open to the public. For more information, go here.

UTA has planned events around National Coming Out Day before but funded a $42,000-initiative this summer for the planning of LGBT events and activities on campus. Leaders of the new program said they wanted to have larger events, a Pride Week and even a drag show eventually in the coming months.

Check out the flyer with the full schedule below.

—  Dallasvoice

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy meets with college leaders about LGBT issues

Chick-Fil-A-Hates-Fags

With Chick-fil-A fights breaking out on campuses across the country, including several in North Texas, company CEO Dan Cathy reportedly met with college leaders to discuss LGBT issues in Atlanta on Thursday.

It was Cathy whose anti-gay comments earlier this summer sparked the protest. The details of Thursday’s meeting were brief and given by an unnamed source, but centered around “diversity, hospitality, and the opportunity to find common ground,” according to the source.

Cathy is trying to repair relationships with colleges in an effort to further expansion plans for more on-campus locations across the country, many at large schools.

The University of North Texas was the first of five area colleges to start a petition calling for the university to remove the restaurant from its student union. UTA later followed and members of UTA’s GSA are preparing to present the petition and a resolution to school officials.

SMU officials have already said they would not remove the restaurant from its campus. Kim Schroder, UNT’s associate director of retail dining services, told its student newspaper that the on-campus location wasn’t going anywhere soon.

Schroder said the petitions from a UNT student and a separate one created by an alumnus have not affected business, and the university’s five-year contract with the company would make removing it soon impossible.

—  Dallasvoice

Petition calls for removal of Chick-fil-A from UTA campus

Students at the University of Texas at Arlington have started an online petition to remove the Chick-fil-A in the Hereford University Center.

Alohi Valdez, president of UTA’s Gay Straight Alliance, initially said she was conflicted about creating a petition due to concerns student workers would lose their jobs if Chick-fil-A closed. But after speaking to friends and GSA members over the weekend, she said she decided to start the petition. As of Monday afternoon, 65 people had signed it.

Valdez said she was also inspired to take a stand after hearing about the death of Fairness Fort Worth president and UTA alumnus Tom Anable.

“I had never met the man, even though Fairness Fort Worth had done so much for us, so I had really looked forward to shaking his hand one day,” she said. “When that hope was taken away from me, I really just felt this flame inside me: I had to do something. Even though I just had a long day and it was 3 a.m. on a Saturday night/early Sunday, I had to write something.”

Anable was chair of the local steering committee for the White House LGBT Conference on Safe Schools and Communities that took place at UTA in March.

Valdez said Anable and FFW Treasurer David Mack Henderson, also a UTA alumnus, had done so much for the students at UTA and she wanted to continue their work.

“I have to complete what they started, do my part, and continue to make the University of Texas at Arlington the best school it can be, welcoming and open for everyone,” she said.

UTA spokeswoman Kristin Sullivan said she was waiting on the university’s response to the petition before commenting.

Two anti-Chick-fil-A petitions are ongoing at the University of North Texas, one by a student and another by an alumnus. A UNT spokeswoman told Dallas Voice students had the choice not to dine at the on-campus location but would not comment on whether the university would consider removing it.

A spokesman with Southern Methodist University told Dallas Voice last week that the university would not remove the restaurant from campus. SPECTRUM, SMU’s LGBT student group, spoke out against Chick-fil-A but has not announced plans to try to have the on-campus location removed.

—  Dallasvoice

UTA to host White House LGBT Conference on Safe Schools and Communities

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Valerie B. Jarrett, a senior advisor to President Barack Obama, are scheduled to speak at the conference.

The next White House LGBT Conference will be at the University of Texas at Arlington on March 20 and will focus on safe schools and communities, according to an announcement from the White House this afternoon.

The event is the third conference in a series of several the White House launched in February. It will be hosted by the U.S. Department of Justice in partnership with UTA’s College of Liberal Arts Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice and the College of Education and Health Professions.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Valerie B. Jarrett, senior advisor to the president, will speak at the event, according to a White House release.

“The White House LGBT Conference on Safe Schools & Communities will provide advocates, community leaders, and members of the public an opportunity to engage with the Obama Administration on efforts to ensure safety and security for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in schools and communities throughout the country,” the release states.

“Participants will receive updates from Administration officials, connect with Federal government resources and opportunities through workshop sessions, and provide valuable feedback through the ‘Open Space’ process.”

This is the third conference after the White House Office of Public Engagement launched the series focused on LGBT Americans.

The first in the series, the White House LGBT Conference on Health, was held in Philadelphia on Feb. 16 and focused on various issues like access to care, aging, mental health and substance abuse with remarks by Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.

The White House LGBT Conference on Housing and Homelessness is scheduled for Friday, March 9. That event is co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Ruth Ellis Center and will feature remarks by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan focusing on housing and homelessness issues that impact LGBT Americans.

Additional conferences are expected to take place through June with topics covering HIV/AIDS prevention and other issues affecting LGBT Americans.

The White House LGBT Conference on Safe Schools & Communities is scheduled for 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 at The University of Texas at Arlington.

Representatives with UTA could not immediately be reached.

View the full White House release below.

—  Dallasvoice

Soledad O’Brien speaks on Diversity in America tonight

Up close and personal

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien struck a chord with the LGBT community in her 2010 special Gay in America following up on her Latino and African-American coverage. She comes to Arlington giving a lecture on “Diversity in America.”

DEETS: Texas Hall, 701 S. Nedderman Drive (on UT Arlington campus). 7:30 p.m. Free. UTA.edu/MaverickSpeakers.

—  Rich Lopez

UT Arlington GSA honors David Mack Henderson

Joshua Little, David Mack Henderson and Zachary Murphy

On Thursday, Oct. 28 the Gay Straight Alliance at the University of Texas at Arlington celebrated the 30-year anniversary of the founding of the campus’s first gay organization.

As part of the celebration, they honored David Mack Henderson of Fairness Fort Worth. That organization was created in the wake of the Rainbow Lounge raid and has worked with the city to become more inclusive.

Henderson was one of the founders of the UTA Gay/Lesbian Association when he was a student at the school. He is a tax accountant and Realtor and is a facilitator for the diversity training that all Fort Worth city employees must take. In the 1980s, he was a member of the Dallas Gay Alliance board and a founder of Resource Center Dallas.

The Certificate of Appreciation was presented by GSA President Joshua Little and Vice President Zachary Murphy.

The GSA meets every Wednesday at noon in the Upper University Center, usually in the Guadalupe Room. The group is open to all students. UTA policy prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. Homage is another LGBTQ organization at UTA. Homage meets Thursday evenings in the University Center.

—  David Taffet