Forum on sexual orientation to be held

By Jami Peterson

Students will better understand homosexuality and the origins of homophobia tonight at a Sexual Orientation Biases Forum.

Beth Cole and Evelyn Kreuger, Lincoln Hall resident assistants, are sponsoring a discussion and open question forum to educate students about these subjects at 8:30 p.m. tonight in the Lincoln Hall A-Cafeteria.

In order to solve the “general want to know” about homophobia, the discussion will include ten-minute speeches from representatives of five different organizations on campus and an open question and answer session, Cole said.

“This is just something to help people understand,” Cole said. “We’re not trying to make any points.”

Organizations expressing views will be the University Judicial Office, Health Enhancement, the Psychology Department, the Gay/Lesbian Union and the Newman Catholic Student Center.

Louis, the GLU secretary, said at least two members from GLU will be on the panel willing to respond to any questions. GLU also wants students to know what their organization is doing on campus, he added.

“It is only through education that you inform,” Louis said.

Health Enhancement Coordinator Michael Haines said he will be speaking about the ways in which health concerns have an impact on people forming sexual biases.

“I will just be there and do the best job I can presenting these issues,” he said.

Haines added his focus will be on how students behave in ways that put them at risk, such as contracting the HIV virus.

Assistant Judicial Officer Janine Povlsen said she will be speaking about the harassment code and how these types of cases are processed.

“I’ll go there and offer what I can,” Povlsen said.

Newman Center Fr. Stephen Potter will present the Catholic church’s response to homosexuality.

“I imagine it (the forum) could get kind of lively,” Potter said.

He said he plans to make the distinction between sexual orientation and sexual behavior, and the tension that exists when these two issues are split.

Graduate student Marc Ybaben will be speaking for the Psychology Department, Cole said.

Ybaben will speak about how the perceptions of homosexuality have changed in the field of psychology and about studies in this area, she said.

With different representatives, the discussion will offer different viewpoints and the reasons for them, Cole said.