The State University of New York at Albany — at least that’s what it was called when I went there — faces SMU on the Moody Coliseum basketball court on Dec. 20 as a result of North Carolina’s discriminatory HB2.
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo banned state travel to North Carolina because lawmakers there passed the bill allowing businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community. That forced the Albany Great Danes to cancel a game against Duke, located in Durham, N.C. Instead, the Scoobie Doos (the great Dane mascot looks exactly like the cartoon character) will face the SMU Mustangs for the first time ever.
Albany’s record so far this season is 6-5. SMU is 7-3.
The game begins at 7 p.m. So far, about 20 Dallas-area Great Danes alumni are signed up to cheer on their alma mater. If you’d like to cheer on the team that traveled to Dallas rather than submit to homophobia, tickets are $10 and available from UAlbany Athletics here.
UAlbany, as it’s now known, was founded in 1844, has about 17,000 students and changes its name every 20 years, whether it needs to or not. The current main campus was designed by Edward Durrell Stone and, ironically, looks exactly like the North Carolina state capitol building, which was also designed by Stone. The brilliant design creates a wind tunnel that magnifies the effect of the sub-zero temperatures that make living in Albany a delight for much of the year. Albany is in the Hudson River Valley and is located about 150 miles north of New York City.
Albany has a long tradition of supporting the LGBT community. In 1975, a UAlbany professor bought an old brownstone in downtown Albany to turn into the first LGBT community center in the country. Also, when Albany students created SUNYAGA, the State University of New York at Albany Gay Alliance, in the late 1960s, it was one of the first LGBT campus organizations in the country. The school’s most famous alum is Harvey Milk, class of 1951. Another alum is Harold Gould, who played Rose Nyland’s boyfriend Miles on The Golden Girls and Rhoda Morgenstern’s father on Rhoda. OK, can you get more gay than that?
So on Tuesday, I’ll be at Moody Coliseum with my husband cheering on the Scoobie Doos. If you’re a Baylor, A&M, Rice, UT or Oklahoma alum, this is the perfect opportunity to support a school that supports the LGBT community and to boo SMU, a school listed in the Princeton Review multiple times as “most homophobic campus in the country.” Albany, on the other hand — and the administration HATES this one — has been voted No. 1 party school.
I have a feeling this will be a one-time opportunity. If the legislature passes a Texas version of HB2 in the upcoming session, Albany won’t be back.