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Emory University shines in LGBT Friendly Campus Climate Index

Emory University shines in new LGBT campus indexAtlanta's Emory University has received a 5-star rating in the latest LGBT Friendly Campus Climate Index, according to a media release issued by the university earlier today.

From Emory's Office of LGBT Life: “True to the institution’s commitment to diversity in all its forms, Emory University established a number of policies and procedures that create more access for students of all sexual and gender identities. To better communicate this commitment, President James Wagner was featured in an It Gets Better Project video last spring with a message of strength and hope on behalf of the entire university.”

Emory is also home to some 10 LGBT student and faculty organizations and regularly hosts events specific to the LGBT community.

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DOJ: California school district must properly deal with bullying after student’s suicide

The U.S. Departments of Justice and Education reached a settlement today with a California school district after one of its middle school students, Seth Walsh, committed suicide in the wake of years worth of bullying and harassment based on the student's non-conformity with gender roles, according to the ACLU of Southern California.

Walsh, who was 13 at the time of his suicide, killed himself in September of last year. After his death, the Department of Education received a complaint that the school district did not fulfill its responsibility in keeping Walsh safe from threats, bullying and harassment.

According to The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN), incidents were reported to school officials but the district failed to adequately respond or deal with the offending students.

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Survey: Homophobic remarks, harassment common in Ga. schools

Virtually all LGBT students from Georgia who participated in a recent School Climate survey reported hearing homophobic slurs like "dyke" and "fag," and almost half said they had been pushed or shoved because of their sexual orientation.

The Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network surveyed some 7,261 LGBT students across the country for the 2009 National School Climate Survey. The survey — conducted every two years — included 175 high school and middle school students from Georgia. GLSEN released the Georgia-specific results today.

“LGBT students face disturbing levels of victimization in Georgia. We hope this new research will be a wake-up call to Georgia leaders that more needs to be done to ensure that LGBT students are safe and have an equal opportunity to learn,” said Dr. Joseph Kosciw, GLSEN Senior Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives, in a June 27 press release. “Students are clearly saying educators and policymakers are not doing enough to stop anti-LGBT bullying and harassment.”

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Spelman hosts historic summit on black LGBT students

Spelman College hosted historic LGBT summit

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College, jump-started the Audre Lorde Historically Black Colleges & Universities Summit with a compelling bit of trivia.

“As we celebrate our 130th anniversary and founding by two women who lived, themselves, in life-long partnership, it seems appropriate that [Spelman] should be a leader in creating more inclusive environments for our LGBT students,” Tatum said.

That public acknowledgement that Sophia Packard and Harriett Giles, co-organizers of the acclaimed all women’s college, lived as domestic partners set the stage to explore the complex relationships LGBT people share in both attending and working for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

Fast forward in time and it is clear how highly publicized incidents like the 2002 beating of a Morehouse student allegedly motivated by homophobia, combined with greater media attention surrounding suicide-related deaths among LGBT youth, have sparked much needed dialogue regarding issues of gender and sexuality at HBCU campuses.

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By the numbers: Tyler Clementi

18

Age of Tyler Clementi when he committed suicide last fall by jumping off the George Washington Bridge after learning that fellow Rutgers University students filmed him having sex with a man and webcast it.

3

Years of a pre-trial intervention program that Molly Wei, 19, accepted when she pleaded not guilty May 6 for her role in the webcast. If she completes the program, charges against her will be dropped.

300

Hours of community service Molly Wei must also complete, in a deal accepted by Clementi’s parents. She must also testify against Clementi’s roommate, Dharun Ravi, who faces 15 counts of invasion of privacy and bias intimidation.

10

The length of the hearing, in minutes.

5

Maximum years in prison under New Jersey law for a count of secretly collecting images of nudity or sexual contact, then distributing them.