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10/02/2008

College sells gays down the American River

by Jeremy Hooper

Over the past few years, California has faced a documented rise in anti-gay hostility from immigrants of Slavic descent. You might remember that the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote an in-depth report on the matter. You might have also seen videos like this one, this one, or this one, all of which ably document the heated protests from these Russian-speaking evangelicals. It is certainly a situation that we have watched with interest/fear.

Well now this community's anti-gay protests have taken on one Sacramento Community College's student body. This week the Student Council of American River College voted 8-3 to endorse that cruel and discriminatory measure known as Proposition 8. And five of those eight council members were immigrants from the former Soviet Union, who have heatedly spoken out about their "responsibility to protect our traditional family values."

Here's a Sacramento Bee story on the matter:

ARC Student Council votes to back gay marriage ban [Sac Bee]

Here's a speech from one of the council members, Viktor Chaban, lashing out against "the homosexuals" and their "choice":

Here's a video of the vote itself:

And here's a local news report on the situation:

::sigh:: All that vodka drunk by college gays drink, and this is the thanks they get?

**SEE ALSO: Timothy Kincaid has written more on the matter over at Box Turtle Bulletin

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Your thoughts

The part of this which does NOT surprise me is that the student body not only ALLOWED this to happen, but made it EASY for them by…hmmmm…what could it be?

NOT VOTING.

Only 300 people bothered to vote, so naturally anyone who just showed up to run and got all their friends to join them, won.

NOW, suddenly, there are 450 people who object? Where were they when the voting needed to be done?

Maybe they excused themselves by saying, “it’s just student council, who cares?” Maybe they thought, “All candidates are the same and none of them think exactly as I do and the system is corrupt to begin with, so why bother?”

Maybe they thought that *obviously* these candidates were too stupid/bigoted/uninformed/extreme and therefore no one would vote for them.

You may never not the governing body you vote for; but you can count on getting the one you didn’t bother to vote for. Every lefty/liberal/progressive/democrat who is considering not voting or doing a “protest” vote might consider looking at this little election story here.

Posted by: Laura | Oct 2, 2008 11:06:24 AM

That's exactly right, Laura. And it's a near certainty that these anti-gay activists got on the council for this very reason. It is likely a conducted effort.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 2, 2008 11:17:23 AM

Interesting take on the Council vote. "Cruel and discriminatory" to vote yes on 8?
Discrimination has to do with making distinctions between what is right and what is obviously very wrong. It is a good thing in this sense.
It is you gays who have chosen to defy God's design, preferring LGBTQ behaviors over that which is normal. To 'discriminate', i.e., point out the perversion and stand against it is commendable. You prefer the anarchistic, destructive homosexual lifestyle? Your choice, just don't stuff it down our throats with your violent activism to destroy a foundation of moral, orderly society, marriage.
Why don't you link to the YouTube video showing the homosexuals' loving, tolerant response to one of the Yes on 8 council members? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_leg-aRb6o8 Hmm, but that ruins you thesis that the Slavs (and others supporting biblical values) are the cruel, violent ones...

Posted by: Yeson8 | Oct 2, 2008 11:20:17 AM

It's general apathy that has you bothered. Since the populace has been dumbed down and you liberals have the high ground to force your agenda on the people, you've become accustomed to having your way.
Now that a disgusted voting bloc has arisen that is not apathetic and willing to stand for their beliefs, why now you're all bent--it's a conspiracy! Bigots! Stupid! How could this happen?
People are waking up and realizing the jeopardy this country is facing because of complacency. The gay agenda must be stopped and action must be taken.
Disgruntled No on 8 supporters may try and recall those 8 Council members for their courageous, educated stand for morality, but that effort will just be shown for what it truly is--a spiteful, concerted effort of striking intolerance by the 'live and let live' crowd.

Posted by: Yeson8 | Oct 2, 2008 11:33:04 AM

"Yes on 8": If you would actually look at the post, you would see that the video to which you have linked IS on there! The first one, in fact.

The rest of your points are too ridiculous (and yes, CRUEL) to even acknowledge.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 2, 2008 11:47:57 AM

Yes, the video is there, but note how you framed it, as an example of SLAVICS "lashing out" at homosexuals and their choice. Watch the video and you will see it's the sodomites who are viciously lashing out at the Slavic speaker, not vice versa.
You people cannot tolerate any 'intolerance' of your chosen perverted lifestyle, fess up.

Posted by: Yeson8 | Oct 2, 2008 11:53:48 AM

No, no, no -- don't play that game with me. What you initially said is: "Why don't you link to the YouTube video showing the homosexuals' loving, tolerant response to one of the Yes on 8 council members?" And you were wrong - -we did post it. But now you're acting as if it's the way it's framed with which you have a problem, rather than simply admit that you were wrong.

And yes, Mr. Chaban (maybe that's you?) did, in fact, lash out against "the homosexuals" and "their choice." That is a fact. Just like you are calling gays "perverted" and "sodmomites." If some gay people take unkindly to that, it's to be expected. And while you, in your little bubble of hostility, might think you are helping your side by making such heated vitriol known, you are dead wrong. Even many within the "pro-family" movement would agree with us on that.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 2, 2008 12:03:23 PM

What confuses me is why the student council is getting involved at all. I have sat on my own university's student council for three years now, and one of our primary rules is that we are not politically involved, except at the level of education. The only political involvement by the council is lobbying on issues such as tuition hikes, student loans, etc. We provide funding for any student group, regardless of their politics (assuming, of course, that they are not violating the charter of rights and freedoms through membership or agenda.) Why on earth would a student council be "endorsing" a marriage proposition, one way or the other? Although I am a queer rights activist and strongly against proposition 8, I would be similarly concerned if they voted to endorse the opposite position - the role of student government is to embrace and promote the rights of ALL students, and taking a political stand means that you are inevitably alienating students as well as supporting them.
I hope these comments make sense. I should mention as well that I am Canadian, and there may be a difference in how American schools run their student goverments.
(ps: Hi, I'm Katie, I check this website every day but don't generally post.)

Posted by: Katie | Oct 2, 2008 12:12:19 PM

Linking to the actual YouTube site of the video as I gave it is a little more enlightening than just you posting the video. Add more balance to your reporting, showing more of the other side's view, than just your lopsided interpretation.
And Katie, why endorse that Prop? It is about education. Redefine marriage, and from K-College, the whole educational system will have to re-educate the masses on what constitutes the basic building blocks of society. There are moral wrongs and rights, absolutes, that are inviolable whether you agree with them or not. As so many supposedly 'neutral' business organizations in the culture war have openly come out against Prop 8 (Levi's, Google, SEIU, CTA, PG&E, etc.) shouldn't educational institutions (concerned about real education, not indoctrination) also be heard on this issue?
Your choice to be gay is your right, but that is all. It is NOT a civil rights issue: you do not deserve special, preferential treatment based on your sexual orientation!

Posted by: Yeson8 | Oct 2, 2008 1:11:00 PM

"Linking to the actual YouTube site of the video as I gave it is a little more enlightening than just you posting the video."

Oh, just stop it! Your point makes no sense. The video is the exact same whether it is embedded or on the Youtube page! In fact, far more people are likely to watch an embedded video as they are to click over to the YouTube site. And if they want to go to the YouTube site, everyone and their brother knows that you can click on a YouTube video to see it on its host site!

Your side will ultimately lose because discrimination is a losing position. But keep kicking and screaming and declaring that we are "perverts" who "chose" our "lifestyle" if it makes you feel better.


Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 2, 2008 1:20:55 PM

Laura: Agreed but what a great lesson this affair is in the importance of participatory government. Far too many of us take our precious right to vote for granted.

Jeremy: If you hear of the results of the recall effort, please post them. I'm interested to see how this plays out. Thanks for bringing this to your readers' attention.

Yeson8: Blah, blah, blah. Perhaps it works differently in Russia, but free speech does NOT guarantee you a right to not be offended. The USA isn't Russia and fanatics like you are losing ground every single day. If you think this student council decision is anything more than an anomaly, you're sadly mistaken. 'Good' luck with that recall, pal.

Katie: I do believe that the council is free to take a position one way or the other, unless prohibited by their charter, but agree that this is something beyond their competence. That the council intervened and the result of this is something that the student body itself is free to consider in recall efforts or the next election.

Posted by: John | Oct 2, 2008 3:22:52 PM

As someone who goes to American River College (and someone who was at that protest) I want to defend the student body and say that these folks who passed the endorsement on Prop 8 ARE NOT the minority. These people do not represent the diverse and generally open minded population our campus has, they unfortunately just have a bigger voice than the rest of us. Myself and others are taking the steps to push back and make ourselves heard though, and I hope someday in the near future the news bits that discuss ARC are about the good we're doing, not the hate we're promoting.

Posted by: Melony Louise | Oct 3, 2008 1:22:59 PM

ARC's Prop 8 Endorsement: The story behind the vote
Bay Area Reporter

In a move that was called "no surprise" by Sacramento lgbt activists, the student council of American River College last week passed a resolution which called for the support of November's Proposition 8 ballot measure, the so-called 'gay marriage ban.'

The resolution of support is believed to be the first of its kind at any California college or university.

According to a Sacramento Bee story, in the face of what reporter Steve Magagnini called "passionate opposition," the measure passed by a vote of 8-3, with three abstentions. In his article, Magagnini incorrectly termed the ballot measure "the Marriage Protection Amendment." In fact, it is termed the "LIMIT ON MARRIAGE" amendment on the November ballot.

"No surprise," said local lgbt activist Jerry Sloan about the ARC council endorsement, noting that five of the eight majority votes cast were those of slavic christian fundamentalist students who had "targeted the board for takeover more than a year ago." These students, explained Sloan, are members of the same religious immigrant community that has held virulently anti-gay protests at Sacramento lgbt events and celebrations since 2006.

In fact, one of the council members to propose the endorsement, Dennis Choban, who goes by "Viktor," was photographed by OUTWORD demonstrating at this year's lgbt pride parade.

American River College is "one of four community colleges," in the Sacramento region, explained ARC Public Information spokesperson Stephen Peithman, adding that ARC has four satellite centers. "We have several centers and have a very large service area...We are a commuter school." Peithman, while noting that the ARC student council was elected with less than 300 of the institution's 35,000 students participating, Peithman believes the college "is a reflection of its surrounding community."

Sloan and fellow gay activist Nathan Feldman have been watchdogs of this group for the lgbt community and Sloan is credited with obtaining copies of council member applications declaring their intention to run for the student board. "They all ran together as a group," stated Sloan, who alleges that the slavic evangelical community in coordination with the Placerville pentacostal group, the Church of the Divide, conspired to elect a majority to the ARC Student council board as early as last year.

In Choban's application to enter the student council race, his answers make clear Choban's religious motivation to run for council. In answering questions that make no reference to religion, nor calls for a religious response, Choban expresses his desire to see his religious beliefs reflected in ARC curriculum.

"My goals include removing humanistic bias from cerain[sic] courses, (such as Evolution Science) and presenting other views, (such as Creation Science) and, Encouraging live discussion of nontraditional views in all classes."

"Humanistic bias is a catchphrase" used by radio talkshow host James Dobson and "Christian Nation" author and lecturer David Barton, said Sloan, who calls these young slavic men "brain-washed robots. Anything that's not christian is secular humanism to these guys. Humanism is what christian fundamentalists mean when they say 'them,' as in 'us versus them,'" stated Sloan.

"I have been exposed to the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights again and again," stated Chabon in answering the form's question: "Are you familiar with governing documents, such as a constitution and by-laws?" Sloan muses, "His answer makes it sound like he's been exposed to some terrible disease."

Alexandru Cojan, another of the group of five christian students to run for ARC's student council this year, listed similar religious views on his application. Cojan listed only one goal for his tenure as a councilmember, "To represent christians on campus and to stand up for righteousness."

Valeriy Dron, whose other written answers reflect that English is a second language for him, writes that he wants "to be a voice for Christians on campus."

Daniel Karavan and Sergey Linnik listed similar singular goals with Linnik stating his desire for freedom to express his "religious believes[sic] and ideas that will benefit all." Karavan notes the skill he will bring to the council is his active involvement "in a Youth Church Council."

Joshua Serban's application is perhaps the most direct. "I'm a christian. I represent christ" wrote Serban when answering the application's query about personal skills. His goal, if elected to the board? "To represent Christians and Christian values," at this commuter junior college. Yelisey Shendrya also was among the group of slavic christians who applied together for student council.

"Originally the slavs had nine members on the board" said Sloan, who claims that several of the students became ineligible for the council after falling below the minimum gpa requirement for participation in ARC student government. "The students must maintain a 2.5 grade point average," said Steven Peithman, ARC's media spokesperson.

Choban is one of the students who just qualified for council eligibility. The gpa requirement for councilmembers is 2.5, according to Peithman. Choban listed his gpa as "2.7." Karavan, who along with Choban participated in demonstrations at this year's pride parade and festival, was slightly better at 2.8. Both Serban and Dron applied as new students, giving them exemption from eligibility requirements.

Many of the slavic council members mentioned their activity in church youth activities and church youth council. Most of these students are believed by Sloan and Feldman to attend Bethany Slavic Missionary Church on nearby Jackson Road in North Sacramento. "That church has more than 5,000 attendees every Sunday," stated Sloan, adding "this is not a group that should be taken lightly." Sloan worries that the small Sacramento lgbt community "is no match" for the size and force of the local slavic fundamentalist immigrant community. With 70 churches and 80,000 to 100,000 members, its the largest evangelical immigrant community in the nation, according to a Los Angeles Times article by Rome Tempest.

"I was excited about the students level of involvement," said Keltie Jones, the openly gay Dean of Counseling and Student Services. "I was excited to see the number of students involved. That is what I found to be so exciting." Jones had received some negative feedback from being quoted in the Bee story for "being excited."

"My comments were not that I was happy about the result, I was excited about the fact that our students were engaged. For me, college is more about that."

Asked if she believes the reputation of ARC will suffer from this resolution, Jones was contemplative. "I think the real reputation of ARC will depend on what happens next. The reputation of ARC is important, but I think its important that we support student development in all ways, and sometimes students get passionate about issues. What's important is how the student body responds to the actions of the council," said Jones.

Posted by: dan | Oct 4, 2008 9:22:56 AM

Thanks, Dan, Nice report.

Do you have the direct link to the Bay Area Reporter story?

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 4, 2008 10:17:56 AM

Being homosexual is a choice and nothing more. Marriage is the joint union between man and women and I support the student government at American River College and I hope the college that I attend takes the same step forward. I am also an excutive officer in the student government, so I can push for that to happen.

Posted by: | Oct 9, 2008 3:17:36 AM

As a student at ARC, I have to speak out a bit about this whole 'the student body is responsible for not voting' bs. That's just what it is, B.S. I have been a student on campus for three years, I'm completing my second degree. Usually during election times, or during times that are important to the college for voting processes, there are posters put up and information spread on where the students need to go to make their voices heard.

There was nothing posted for this election. No information about who was running, no information on where one could vote, when one was supposed to be voting. Without specifically thinking about 'oh, I need to go and elect my student administration representatives, who should I ask about that?' most of us, who also work and some of whom have families and outside lives had little to no control over the people who are now claiming to represent the entire college.

It is inappropriate for the student association to take my money (something I have no choice in giving them as it is part of tuition) and then presume to make political statements for an entire campus.

They are not representing my views. I would, however, feel similarly uncomfortable if they were pro-gay. That is not fair to the campus either, it doesn't speak for the student body.

The only thing that the student association should be doing is worrying about inter-campus things, and other school related things. Such as Measure M and whether or not that gets passed. Or parking, which is a clusterf*ck. Leave the California constitution out of it, it has nothing to do with ARC. And frankly, creates a hostile learning environment.

Posted by: Katie | Oct 9, 2008 4:21:38 AM

Thanks to all the students who have written. Your insight really helps us here.

As for anon (the executive officer in the student government) at 3:17 AM:

Many of you on the ARC student government seem to be really into your threats. You should cut down on that. They are really unbecoming.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 9, 2008 8:46:53 AM

Insight? Sight at all? Seems most of the students (not anon exec officer!) have been blinded by the liberal indoctrination that over 12 years in the California school system will cause.
Face it. No matter how you spin the original Council election, or the Council taking up Prop 8 for a vote, it all boils down to one thing: The liberal, gay and gay-supporting students are MAD they are not getting their way, so as sore losers they will scream and raise as much of a recall ruckus much like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum.
We all know the high stakes in this battle. As energized as your side is, some of us are as equally fired up to go to the limit to see Prop 8 pass. May the vindictive Council recall effort fail and Proposition 8 PASS in November!

Posted by: Yeson8 | Oct 9, 2008 12:48:27 PM

Yeson8: You will never win the ultimate war because you have chosen the losing side. Waste all the words you want. Your bigotry will not prevail. Not ultimately.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Oct 9, 2008 1:11:38 PM

The results of the student association recall came out yesterday. The recall failed by a 200-300 vote margin. Aprox 3450 people voted.

Posted by: Nate | Oct 24, 2008 10:50:23 AM

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