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March 18, 2002

Oxford conditions the focus of LGBT meeting

By Eric Rangus


The President’s Commission on LGBT Concerns returned to the Oxford campus for its March 5 meeting. It was the first time the commission had met at Oxford since the 1999–2000 academic year.

The meeting included reflections on the state of LGBT life at Oxford since the commission’s last visit. Frank Maddox, associate professor of economics and a former co-chair of the commission, described the climate as much improved.

“The environment is markedly different than it was,” Maddox said.

Giving background, Maddox said the commission first came to Oxford in response to several incidents of harassment that had taken place on campus. A lobbying effort by the commission and other Emory LGBT groups resulted in stronger campus policy against harassment as well as the creation of a diversity liaison for Oxford.

Those improvements, however, are in jeopardy, Maddox said, because the current diversity liaison is leaving the position and a replacement has not been hired. Members of the Oxford community are concerned that filling the job may not be a priority and asked the commission for assistance.

“It is important for us to have an entity work on our behalf,” Maddox said. “[The Atlanta campus] probably doesn’t understand how important this is at Oxford.”

The commission agreed to look into the situation.

Another suggestion was to hold a meeting of all the LGBT organizations at Emory, which are numerous but not always in close communication. It was an idea commission chair Mark Jordan, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Religion, supported. He said a conference could be set up for next year.

“We haven’t had a bad fight for a while,” Jordan said, “but when you do, it’s important to get everybody together quickly. We can’t do that right now.”

In other business, the commission reviewed the Pride Banquet, which had taken place the previous night and was a success. The event drew about 80 attendees and raised $450.

At the Pride Banquet, the commission presented prizes of $500 to the best graduate essay and $250 to the best undergraduate essay in the areas of LGBT or queer studies. The graduate winner was Daniel Madera who wrote,

"Fazend Samambaia: Elizabeth Bishop in Brazil.” Katie Kilborn won the undergraduate prize for ”A Queer, A King and A Mission: Gender Performance, Theater and Possibilities for Social Change in the Work of Kate Bornstein and Dred King.”

The commission voted to present guest speaker Chris Copeland, associate pastor of Oakhurst Baptist Church, with an honorarium to thank him for speaking. The commission also voted to pledge $1,000 to assist in covering costs for this month’s LGBT film festival.

The next LGBT meeting will be April 16 at 5:30 p.m. in 400 Administration.

If you have a question or concern for LGBT, send e-mail to Mark Jordan at