Lecture to explore war on terror, Islamophobia, queer sexuality

Little-recognized links between war on terror, Islamophobia
and queer sexuality to be explored at Pace University September 10
by path breaking scholar Jasbir Puar

News Release:
Contacts: Dr. Sid Ray, Dep’t of English, Pace University, 212-346-1289, gray@pace.edu
Chris Cory, Pace Public Information, 212-346-1117 or 917-608-8164, ccory@pace.edu

Queer times indeed:
Little-recognized links between war on terror, Islamophobia
and queer sexuality to be explored at Pace University September 10
by path breaking scholar Jasbir Puar

“A woman who is destined to change the way we think about race and sexuality”

New York, NY, August 31, 2007 – Counterterrorism and nationalism, among other contemporary forces, are realigning groups and ideas dealing with sexuality, race, gender, nation, class and ethnicity. An analysis of those changes will be presented by the interdisciplinary cultural analyst Jasbir K. Puar at Pace University’s downtown Manhattan campus Monday, September 10.

Speaking a day before the sixth anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, Puar will preview her book, forthcoming in November titled, “Terrorist Assemblages: Homonationalism in Queer Times” (Duke University Press). Puar is an Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University who has increasingly been in demand as a speaker on major US campuses in the last few years.

Her lecture takes place September 10 at 6:00 PM in the Student Union at 1 Pace Plaza, just east of City Hall. It is free and open to the public. Media admission by press pass.

Sid Ray, chair of Pace’s Women’s Studies program and a member of the English department, describes Puar as “vivacious, erudite and increasingly-influential, a woman who is destined to change the way we thank about race and sexuality. Her work on torture, Islamophobia, sexuality and the war on terror is exciting and pertinent.”

Torture and profiling.
Puar’s book highlights “troublesome” patterns in feminist and queer responses to the Abu Ghraib photographs, in the triumphal responses of queer activists to the Supreme Court’s Lawrence decision repealing anti-sodomy laws, in the measures Sikh Americans and South Asian diasporic queers take to avoid being profiled as terrorists, and in the growing Islamophobia Puar finds within global queer organizing.

Puar’s recent publications have dealt with ways the US defines what is normal — “Mapping U.S. Homonormativities” (February 2006), and with Iraq — “On Torture: Abu Ghraib” (Fall 2005).

Puar’s work and presentations draw on sources ranging from films and television to governmental texts, legal decisions, ethnographic data, queer media, and activist organizing manifestos.

For 101 years Pace University has combined exceptional academics with professional experiences and the New York metropolitan area’s “edge.” A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York. It enrolls nearly 13,500 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lienhard School of Nursing, Lubin School of Business, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu.

Same Sex Marriage Debate at Pace Law

Pace Law is bringing together two diametrically opposed experts – David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, and Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry – to debate the issue of same sex marriage at public event.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Regina Pappalardo, 914.422.4268, rpappalardo@law.pace.edu
Frank Lentini, 212-481-7000, frankl@mbooth.com

SHOULD STATE LEGISLATURES APPROVE SAME SEX MARRIAGE?
Pace Law’s Public Policy Lecture Series Brings Together Opposing Experts to Debate the Issue

Pace Law is bringing together two diametrically opposed experts – David Blankenhorn, founder and president of the Institute for American Values, and Evan Wolfson, Executive Director of Freedom to Marry – to debate the issue of same sex marriage at public event.

Who: Speakers:
David Blankenhorn
Founder and president of the Institute for American Values
Evan Wolfson
Executive Director of Freedom to Marry

Moderated by:
Stephen J. Friedman
Dean, Pace Law School

When/Where:
7:00 p.m., Wednesday, March 14, 2007
NYS Judicial Institute Lecture Hall
Pace Law School
78 North Broadway
White Plains, New York
FREE to the public

RSVP by calling (914) 422-4123. Reserved seating is available by request when you register.

For directions and more information, please visit: http://www.law.pace.edu/News/ppls/200703.html

Massachusetts has legalized gay marriages and civil unions are becoming more prevalent including recent legislative action in New Jersey and Vermont. Meanwhile, states like North Carolina are passing laws defining “marriage” only as a union between a man and a woman. We are at the tipping point in an extremely polarized battle that cuts to the heart of the meaning of marriage and family in America.

Founded in 1976, Pace Law School is located a suburban campus in White Plains, N.Y., twenty miles north of New York City. Part of Pace University, the school offers the JD program for full-time and part-time day and evening students. Its postgraduate program includes the LLM and SJD degrees in Environmental Law and an LLM in Comparative Legal Studies. Pace is nationally ranked, offering clinics in domestic violence prosecution, environmental law, securities arbitration, criminal justice, and disability rights. www.law.pace.edu.

Pace Law School Faculty Unanimously Supports Joining Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights

The faculty of the Pace University Law School has unanimously voted to join the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (F.A.I.R.), an organization challenging the U.S. Government’s policy of threatening to take away financial aid from universities that ban military recruiters because of the military’s so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.

Contacts
Jennifer Riekert, Director of Communications, Pace Law School
914-422-4128, jriekert@law.pace.edu
Christopher T. Cory, Director of Public Information, Pace University
212-346-1117, ccory@pace.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PACE LAW SCHOOL FACULTY
UNANIMOUSLY SUPPORTS ENDING U.S. MILITARY’S
BAN ON HOMOSEXUAL SERVICE MEMBERS
BY JOINING FORUM FOR ACADEMIC AND INSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS

White Plains, NY, January 14, 2004 – The faculty of the Pace University Law School has unanimously voted to join the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights (F.A.I.R.), an organization challenging the U.S. Government’s policy of threatening to take away financial aid from universities that ban military recruiters because of the military’s so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.

“Because the Pace Law School Faculty would like all our graduates to have the opportunity to serve their country, it makes sense to support FAIR’s effort to defeat the federal policy that now excludes some of those graduates from that opportunity,” said Professor Barbara Black, a senior faculty member and former Interim Dean of Pace Law School.

Challenging the Solomon Amendment. FAIR is a recently-incorporated organization of universities, law schools and law faculties that seeks to protect academic freedom and self-governance in the face of manipulative financial pressure from the federal government. FAIR’s initial focus is a legal challenge to the so-called “Solomon Amendment.” The Amendment prohibits individual academic institutions, on pain of losing substantial federal financial aid, from excluding from their on-campus interviewing programs any employers who openly and overtly discriminate against identifiable groups of students.

Not only does the law require punishment for the particular component of the academic institution that chooses to enforce non-discrimination policies (e.g., a law school), but, as interpreted by the US Department of Defense, the entire university with which that school is affiliated risks the loss of all forms of federal financial aid including eligibility for federal grants and contracts.

FAIR has brought suit against the amendment on behalf of its members, whose First Amendment constitutional rights it believes the Amendment infringes. The other principal co-plaintiff is the Society of American Law Teachers, the largest national organization of law school professors, with more than 800 members at over 150 law schools.

Public declaration. While membership in FAIR can be kept confidential and several law schools or their faculties have joined confidentially, the Pace faculty unanimously insisted it not join unless it did so publicly.

As Professor Steven Goldberg, former Dean of Pace Law School, remarked during the faculty deliberations, the faculty wants to send a clear message to students that its members cannot condone an employer’s barring some of them from consideration for a legal position because of prejudice.

Other FAIR members that have chosen not to seek confidentiality include George Washington University Law School, Golden Gate University School of Law, New York Law School, New York University School of Law, and the faculties of Whittier Law School, Chicago-Kent College of Law, the Georgetown Law Center, and the School of Law of Fordham University.

The faculty’s action was supported by a group of students and student organizations at the school.

Support for armed forces. The faculty incorporated into the resolution its support for today’s service people, gay or straight. “This action in no way is meant to convey a lack of support for the military or the men and women currently serving in armed conflicts,” the resolution said.

Since FAIR members are not required to alter their policies toward discriminatory employers who wish to recruit on campus, the decision will not affect on Pace Law School’s ongoing accommodation of recruiters from the United States military. Military lawyers serve primarily with the Judge Advocate-General Corps.

Said Professor Vanessa Merton, who initiated the motion, “Joining FAIR is unquestionably the ethical and moral decision. It allows us to express our principled opposition to a blatantly discriminatory and coercive policy of the federal government that has forced us to act at odds with both the law of the State of New York and the Opportunitas mission of Pace University. This decision puts the Pace Law School Faculty on the right side of the law and the right side of history. I am proud and glad to be a member of this Faculty.”

Founded in 1976, Pace Law School is a New York Law School with a suburban campus in White Plains, N.Y., 20 miles north of New York City. Part of Pace University, the school offers the J.D. program for full-time and part-time day and evening students. Its postgraduate program includes the LL.M. and S.J.D. degrees in Environmental Law and an LL.M. in Comparative Legal Studies. Pace has one of the nation’s top-rated Environmental Law programs and its Clinical Education program also is nationally ranked, offering clinics in domestic violence prosecution, environmental law, securities arbitration, criminal justice and disability rights. www.law.pace.edu

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Contacts:
Jennifer Riekert, Director of Communications, Pace Law School
914-422-4128, jriekert@law.pace.edu
Christopher T. Cory, Director of Public Information, Pace University
212-346-1117, ccory@pace.edu

BACKGROUND

DECISION BY PACE LAW SCHOOL FACULTY
TO JOIN F.A.I.R.

TEXT OF THE PACE LAW SCHOOL FACULTY RESOLUTION:

“Resolved that the Pace Law School faculty shall openly join the Forum for Academic and Institutional Rights immediately, and that this action in no way is meant to convey a lack of support for the military or the men and women currently serving in armed conflicts, or to discourage students from participating in the J.A.G. Corps.”

OTHER SOURCES FOR COMMENT:

David Cohen, Dean of Law
Barbara Black, Professor of Law
Steve Goldberg, Professor of Law
Dan Yohannes, Student
Sarah Courtman, Student and President of LAMBDA
Tony Varona, Professor of Law

F.A.I.R.

E. Joshua Rosenkranz, the renowned constitutional litigator (who until very recently was the founding president and CEO of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law), is spearheading a coalition of pro bono lawyers, principally from the firm of Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe LLP, who have launched the challenge against the Solomon Amendment in federal court. FAIR has standing through, inter alia, the direct and deleterious impact of the Solomon Amendment on the exercise of First Amendment rights by its constituent faculties.

FAIR’s officers and board of directors include Boston College Law Professor Kent Greenfield (President), and Professors Sylvia Law (NYU School of Law), William Eskridge (Yale Law School), George Fisher (Stanford Law School), Michael Seidman (Georgetown Law Center), and Erwin Chemerinsky (University of Southern California Law School).

FAIR is actively seeking additional law school members. Joining has zero financial implications: no constituent institution is assessed or liable for dues, litigation costs (which are being absorbed by the pro bono litigators), or administrative expenses. At the option of the member, membership in FAIR may be kept confidential.

THE SOLOMON AMENDMENT

Congress passed the Solomon Amendment in 1994 in response to the enforcement by law schools of nondiscrimination policies denying recruiting access to employers who discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Many schools adopted these policies in compliance with American Association of Law Schools Regulation 6.19, mandating that schools receive written employer assurances of nondiscrimination on all protected bases, including sexual orientation.

The Solomon Amendment requires the withdrawal of federal contract, grant and financial aid funds from any institution of higher education that denies military personnel “entry to campuses, or access to students . . . for purposes of military recruiting.” 10 U.S.C. Sect. 983 (2003). A large number of law schools have long refused to make their on-campus recruiting facilities available to the U.S. Department of Defense because of its explicit policy of discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation, as exemplified in its discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, in place since 1993, which requires the discharge of service members who identify themselves, or are identified, as gay or lesbian. That policy has resulted in the expulsion of over 8,000 otherwise competent lesbian and gay service members since 1994, and the harassment and harm of countless others.

THE LAWSUIT

FAIR filed its complaint against the Department of Defense on September 19, 2004, in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. At the same time, it filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. The District Court judge denied the preliminary injunction, although the court observed that the U.S. Department of Defense was misinterpreting the Solomon Amendment to require that universities provide military recruiters with exactly the same services they offer other employers. The constitutional issue is now on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

To see a copy of the complaint and other court documents filed in FAIR v. Rumsfeld online, go to: www.law.georgetown.edu/solomon.

FAIR argues that “under the long-established doctrine of unconstitutional conditions, the Solomon Amendment violates the First Amendment by conditioning a benefit – in this case, federal grants and contracts for a variety of purposes – on [law schools’] willingness to surrender [their] constitutional rights.” It also argues that the Solomon Amendment discriminates on the basis of viewpoint and that it is void for vagueness.

Media coverage of the lawsuit to date has been quite positive. The New York Times ran an editorial on Sunday, October 5 supporting FAIR’s position and urging Congress to repeal the Solomon Amendment and the ban on gay and lesbian service members. That editorial, as well as other press comment, is also available at the above Website.

OTHER RECENT EXPRESSIONS OF OPINION ON GAYS IN THE MILITARY

During its deliberations, the Law School Faculty discussed the fact that only a few days before, on December 10, 2003, the New York Times reported that two retired generals and a retired admiral had made public their previously concealed homosexuality, and voiced their grave concern that the attempt to exclude gay and lesbian fighting men and women was depriving the United States military of excellent and dedicated personnel at a time when their contribution is desperately needed for the security of the nation and the safety of their fellow service members.

These three ex-officers were joined by thirteen other retired senior military leaders in condemning the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. In a statement to Service members Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the group of veterans said that, “Today, no credible evidence exists to support a continued ban. Indeed, all studies, including those commissioned by the Pentagon, have come to that conclusion,” and specifically denounced the deleterious impact of the DOD policy on military readiness and the recruitment and retention of service members.

This same concern was recently voiced in a New York times editorial, “Why We Need Gays in the Military” on November 28, 2003, pointing out the absurdity of the dismissal of gay military language specialists in Arabic and Korean, despite the severe shortages of linguists familiar with those languages in the Armed Services. It appears that the U.S. Department of Defense deems the presence of lesbian and gay service members a bigger threat to national security, unit cohesion/morale, etc., than the loss of these extremely scarce linguists with expertise in the languages of the world’s most volatile hot points.

EXCERPT FROM U.S. SUPREME COURT DECISION
IN LAWRENCE V. TEXAS, JUNE 26, 2003

“[The drafters of the Constitution] knew times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress. As the Constitution endures, persons in every generation can invoke its principles in their own search for greater freedom.”

Pace University Remembers Matthew Shepard, Oct. 2

Around midnight on October 6, 1998 two young men took Matthew Shepard from a bar to a deserted place a mile outside of Laramie, Wyoming. There, Matthew was tortured, beaten with a pistol, tied to a fence and left for dead. He was found some 18 hours later by two bikers. Matthew remained in a coma until Monday, October 12 when he died at 12:53 a.m. Matthew was 21 years old. Matthew was gay.

An Evening with Judy Shepard
Pace University Remembers Matthew Shepard, Oct. 2

PLEASANTVILLE, N. Y. – Around midnight on October 6, 1998 two young men took Matthew Shepard from a bar to a deserted place a mile outside of Laramie, Wyoming. There, Matthew was tortured, beaten with a pistol, tied to a fence and left for dead. He was found some 18 hours later by two bikers. Matthew remained in a coma until Monday, October 12 when he died at 12:53 a.m. Matthew was 21 years old. Matthew was gay.

Pace University will host An Evening with Judy Shepard on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ann and Alfred Goldstein Fitness Center on the Pleasantville campus.

Judy Shepard, who lost her 21-year-old son to a murder inspired by anti-gay hate, is determined to prevent her son’s fate from befalling others, Judy and her husband Dennis, established The Matthew Shepard Foundation to help carry on Matthew’s legacy by embracing the just causes he championed. She is using her grief over her son’s death to make a difference. She has made the prevention of hate crimes the focus of her efforts, and she is now speaking to audiences nationwide about what they can do to make their schools and communities safer for everyone, regardless of their race, sex, religion, or sexual orientation.

The program has been sponsored by the Lubin School of Business, the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, The Lienhard School of Nursing, the School of Education, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, Pace Law School, the Office of the President, University Athletics Department and the Center for Student Development and Campus Activities.

The event is free and open to the public. Pace University is located in Pleasantville, at 861 Bedford Road, use Entrance 3 for best access to the fitness center. For directions see www.pace.edu.

For more information contact the Center for Student Development and Campus Activities: 914-773-3767.

Pace is a comprehensive, independent University with campuses in New York City and Westchester County, and a Hudson Valley Center located at Stewart Airport in New Windsor. Nearly 13,500 students are enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs in the Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, Lubin School of Business, School of Computer Science and Information Systems, School of Education, Lienhard School of Nursing and Pace Law School.