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Posts for April, 2009

Anti-Gay Slavs Voted Out of Student Government in Sacramento Community College

Timothy Kincaid

April 24th, 2009

In October, the student government of American River College in Sacramento endorsed Proposion 8. It was the only student government association in the state to do so. This engendered a recall effort but most students didn’t bother to vote and the anti-gay students remained in power.

We learned that these students were a coalition of five Slavic students associated with the virulently homophobic evangelical movement in Sacramento and three Mormon students who had joined forces to turn out voting blocks and advance socially conservative positions through student government. And their anti-gay activism was not limited to Proposition 8.

Last Friday the Sacramento Bee reported:

Student leaders at American River College passed a resolution Thursday opposing today’s nationally organized demonstration in support of gay rights.

The resolution asserts that “the Day of Silence has been used to silence and harass religious students at local public schools for expressing their viewpoints,” and instead calls for a “peaceful discussion of controversial issues instead of intimidation and censorship of opposing viewpoints.”

That may just have been too much for the students at American River College. They may have become too embarrassed about representatives that seemed anti-gay, anti-science, and anti-culture and they have voted the religious coalition out of office.

In elections held Wednesday and Thursday, American River College students ousted several conservative council members in favor of a slate that said it wanted the student government to stop focusing on divisive social issues.

Fourteen of 17 student representatives elected are part of the “ARC Students for Change” slate, including David Fisher, who won as student association president.

Congratulations to Fisher and his alliance of students.

Anti-Gay Students Keep Control of Student Government at Sacramento Area Junior College

Timothy Kincaid

October 23rd, 2008

ABC News 10 is reporting

Nine members of American River College’s student association survived a recall effort this week staged in protest of their votes to support a ballot measure seeking to ban gay marriage in California.

You will recall that these students representatives are part of a coalition of Russian evangelicals and Mormons that are using the college’s student government to serve their religious goals. Following an endorsement of Proposition 8, students concerned about their agenda collected enough signatures for a recall. Nine percent of students voted.

For a fascinating narrative of the anti-gay efforts of Russian evangelicals in the Sacramento area, one that features at least one of those students under recall, read Kel Munger’s article Things to do in Sacramento with a megaphone in the Sacramento News and Review.

These are not your usual collection of College Republicans or Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

A partial list of the protests over the last half-dozen years is impressive. The Dividers have protested at Wal-Mart (for saying “Happy Holidays!” instead of “Merry Christmas!”); at theaters that screened Brokeback Mountain, the “gay cowboy” movie; and at other churches, with signs that read, “This is a fake church” (for sins such as offering free gasoline to new members or being too nice to gay people). Luke’s father has dressed up in a devil costume, complete with pitchfork, to make sure people know where they’re headed for not doing things the Divider way.

But this small band of Dividers have focused with laserlike intensity on protesting at gay events, where that “Sodomy is Sin” banner functions as both a calling card and a demand for gays to return to the closet.

And why does this matter?

What conclusions have I come to out of all this? It seems pretty clear that a small group of committed activists—the usual suspects—can stir up a ruckus and attract attention. But it’s also clear that they can alter the climate in a pretty serious way. At ARC, both students who identify as Christian and students who are members of the gay community have told me that they feel targeted. Young men and women there told me in tears that they no longer felt safe at school. A transgender student told me she’d transferred to another community college because she didn’t feel safe on ARC’s campus.

More on ARC Student Recall

Timothy Kincaid

October 22nd, 2008

We told you about the efforts to recall the coalition of Russian immigrants and Mormons in student government at American River College who endorsed Proposition 8. Kel Munger at the Sacramento News and Review has been tracking the story.

He reports student protests and electioneering, a huge turnout, and blatant homophobia printed in Russian. Check out the site for the latest on this fascinating story.

ARC Student Recall Election Update

Timothy Kincaid

October 20th, 2008

On October 1 we reported that the student body government of American River College in Sacramento had endorsed Proposition 8. This triggered a recall effort from frustrated students.

We had noted that five of the supporters were part of the vehemently homophobic Slavic community in Sacramento. The Sacramento Bee provides addition information.

Three of the other student leaders up for recall are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

In June, church leaders urged Mormon followers to “do what they can” to support Proposition 8.

Student Association Vice President Blaze Jeppesen, who authored the measure, declined to talk to The Bee about what role, if any, his LDS faith played in his decision to bring the hot-button issue to campus.

Association President Jacob Johnson, who also is a Mormon, said since he was conducting the meetings, he remained impartial. He said he didn’t try to influence the council and didn’t vote on the issue.

But Johnson said his faith is important to him and he supports Proposition 8.

His sister Heather Johnson supported the campus resolution and is on the recall list.

Slavic Students in Sacramento Community College Counsel Endorse Prop 8

Timothy Kincaid

October 1st, 2008

Community colleges are not where one would expect to find endorsment of anti-gay discrimination. But at the American River College, a large community college in Sacramento, Russian immigrant have a large representation on the student counsel, five members.

We have commented before on how the Slavic Immigrant community in Sacramento has become incorporated into an international anti-gay effort, one which has resulted in violence and death. Now in this college student government, the Russians, motivated by their religious ideals, pushed through an endorsement of the anti-gay amendement.

By an 8-3 vote with three abstentions, the council endorsed Proposition 8, the Marriage Protection Amendment that would overturn the state Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex unions if passed Nov. 4.

All five Russians voted for the resolution and the Sacramento Bee is reporting the story with its ethnic overtones.

Councilman Vladimir Musorivschi, 25, of Moldova said the resolution spoke for ARC’s large Russian-speaking population, “mostly all of whom are Christian.”

But even “Christianity” took a back seat to blatant homophobia.

Choban was cursed and shouted down by some of the 200 students in the audience when he told his fellow council members, “don’t be intimidated. The homosexuals are masters of presenting themselves as a civil rights issue. It’s not a civil rights issue; it’s personal choice.”

“They’re the aggressors. They won’t tolerate my opinions,” Choban said.

However, this decision may be one which will result in an immediate termination of their representation of their fellow students. Only 300 students voted in the last student election and “students who support gay marriage said they’ve already collected 450 signatures – enough to force a recall election of the eight council members who voted for the resolution.”

It is disturbing that there does not appear to be a voice of tolerance speaking from within the immigrant Russian community. It would be most welcome.