July 10, 1972 -- 10:30 a.m.
275 Chambers Building
Pennsylvania State University


A. W. VanderMeer Dean, College of Education (Chairman)
David R. McClay, Acting Dean, College of Agriculture
S. F. Paulson, Dean, College of Liberal Arts
R. J. Scannell, Dean, College of Health & Physical Education
Walter H. Walters, Dean, College of Arts & Architecture
Thomas Wartik, Dean, College of Science
Delbert J. McQuaide, University Attorney

Joseph Acanfora III
Richard R. Isaacson)
Leonard I. Sharon ) Attorneys for Mr. Acanfora

VANDERMEER: The major purpose of this meeting of the University Teacher Certification Council is to receive from Mr. Joseph Acanfora III, who is present today with his attorneys, information the Council considers necessary in the reaching of a determination as to whether to provide the recommendation required on Part B of his application for a certificate as a teacher in the secondary schools of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I judge that you gentlemen have copies of that application form. Before hearing from Mr. Acanfora, I wish to review certain pertinent facts.

First, the Council was established by action of the President of the University in 1965, and its responsibility for teacher certification was established in general at that time. Procedures for discharging this responsibility have been evolved by the Council and tested in action since its establishment.

Secondly, our proceeding here today is in precise compliance with procedures formulated by the Council and distributed to all appropriate faculty, advisors, and administrators in 1969. I judge that you also have a copy of that. These procedures call for the Executive Officer of the Council to refer to the full Council those certification cases, concerning which he considers that available information would raise a question as to whether the applicant should be recommended for a certificate.

Thirdly, Mr. Acanfora came to my office on or about the 13th of April to inquire about certification. At that time, he had not submitted an application. He received at that time an application form and the statement of the UTCC procedures. His application for a certificate was dated April 17, 1972, and was received shortly thereafter. The case was introduced at the next meeting of the Council on May 15th. At that time, note was taken of statements in the press quoting Mr. Acanfora to the effect that he is a homosexual and that he is unconcerned with the effect of such a lifestyle on other people. After discussion, the Council took action to the effect that it would reconvene at an early date to consider the matter further, with Mr. McQuaide present, since there were unanswered questions regarding certification laws, legal precedents, etc.

Fourthly, pursuant to these considerations, the Council met on the 25th of May, and, after further discussion, acted to invite Mr. Acanfora to appear and provide any information he wished in support of his qualifications to receive the Council’s recommendation for a certificate.

Fifthly, on May 25th, Mr. Acanfora was informed by telephone of the Council’s invitation. The invitation was confirmed in a letter to him dated May 29th, in which the scope of the Council’s concerns was stated.

Sixthly, in a letter dated May 31, Mr. Acanfora declined to meet with the Council until certain questions were answered, presumably to his satisfaction.

Seventhly, at its June 12th meeting, the Council decided to renew its invitation to Mr. Acanfora to appear, and the present meeting is a result of that second invitation.

So much for recent history. Perhaps I should remind all present of two additional facts: (1) That neither the Council nor the University issues teaching certificates. This is done pursuant to the School Code of the Commonwealth by the Secretary of Education of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (2) That under the School Code and the regulations of the State Board of Education, this University (like all other colleges and universities which prepare teachers) is required to render professional judgments as to whether or not to recommend applicants for teaching certificates, not only in terms of academic considerations but also in terms of whether the applicant is known to be of good moral character and possesses qualities of personality which would warrant issuance of a certificate. This is under the item of recommendation on Part B of the application.

We’re here today to provide Mr. Acanfora with an opportunity to provide the Council with information about himself, relative to the recommendation required on the application form which he submitted. I may add that we’re not here to discuss the merits of the laws of the Commonwealth or the regulations of the State Board. Neither are we here to examine the procedures or qualifications of the Council to arrive at the professional judgment it is required to make in the scope of the concern of the Council, stated in the letter of June 13 to Mr. Acanfora, as follows:

First, whether certain statements attributed to you in the press - for example, that you are a homosexual, which appeared as a direct quote in The Daily Collegian of May 12, 1972, are correct;

Secondly, whether you intend to advocate publicly, by precept or example, certain behaviors and attitudes favoring homosexuality while occupying a position as a teacher of adolescents;

Thirdly, what relationship, if any, do you believe exists between your alleged homosexuality and your qualifications as a teacher; and

Fourthly, other relevant matters that you wish to present to the Council.

With that briefing and background, Mr. Acanfora, you may, if you wish, direct yourself to these questions in order.

McQUAIDE: May I interrupt for a second, Dean, and suggest that we get the counsel’s names on the record so that when [the stenographer) is taking down any comments that they might make …

ISAACSON:Richard R. Isaacson.

SHARON:Leonard I. Sharon.

ISAACSON:Attorneys for Mr. Acanfora. Would you gentlemen like to possibly address a question to Mr. Acanfora? That way, rather than have him just rattle on or whatever . . . and you can take the first one on your list, if you like.

VANDERMEER:Yes. The question which is first on the list is: Are the statements attributed to you in the press, such as The Daily .Collegian of May 12, 1972, in which you were quoted as saying that you’re a homosexual, correct?

ACANFORA:Well, the statement, “I am a homosexual.” It is true to the extent that I am presently defining homosexual. Well . . . I do presently have emotional and physical, psychological and sexual and love feelings toward both men and women. The feelings right now which are the most meaningful to me are those directed toward my male friends.

VANDERMEER:Would you say that you have, in the vernacular of society, “come out”?

ACANFORA:Well. . . what do you mean by “come out”?

VANDERMEER:I thought maybe that term was familiar to you.

ACANFORA:Well, really, it’s used by many people in different ways so I won’t assume how you mean it.

VANDERMEER:I think the meaning that I would attach to it is as follows. Have you made public contact with homosexual informal and formal organizations, etc., acknowledging …

ACANFORA:I am a member of the Homophiles of Penn State.

VANDERMEER:Then, I would like to ask further: What homosexual acts do you prefer to engage in or are you willing to engage in?

ACANFORA:Which homosexual acts?

VANDERMEER:Yes, which acts of expression of love, as you put it, for male friends?

ACANFORA:Well, there’s a certain tradition of respect for privacy in our country, and especially in an academic community, and I would think that I would ask you to withdraw that question with respect to that.

VANDERMEER:I don’t withdraw the question, but you obviously don’t have to answer any questions you don’t want to answer.

ISAACSON:Well, I think, if I may interrupt here, that what Mr. Acanfora’s saying is that he doesn’t see the relationship between anything he does in private to this question of moral character, as far as . . . If a heterosexual man was here and happened to be a married man, I’m sure this Council would not inquire as to what type of activity he does with his wife or, you know, how they conduct themselves in bed, or whatever. I’m not so sure that, you know, Joseph is wrong on that. I think it would really be beyond the scope of the question to inquire about someone’s private conduct. I believe the Council is interested, and I believe sincerely so, in Mr. Acanfora’s moral character and how he conducts himself in private and in public in a classroom; and I don’t believe that his private sexual conduct, whatever it might be or however he defines it, really should be a consideration of the Council meeting.

VANDERMEER:I won’t debate the matter with you, Mr. lsaacson. would point out that certain acts which are described, generally, as homosexual are also felonious acts.

SHARON:They’re also felonious to heterosexuals, as well. Sodomy is also …

VANDERMEER:But my question is not directed to that particular point.

SHARON:Well, I would like to have for the record, and I’m sure that your Council’s aware of the cases that say that in an inquiry such as this that those matters are entirely without the scope and they border on invasion of privacy - the First Amendment rights of privacy - and that’s just for the record.

VANDERMEER:An additional question on this particular topic: Do you look for other males with which to have sex?

ACANFORA:I would say that’s a question very similar to the one just discussed.

VANDERMEER:Fourth question, perhaps somewhat hypothetical, but quite, I think, relevant. How would you behave toward a 17-year-old male student who showed to you by his actions that he was sexually attracted to you?

ACANFORA:Just as I would expect a heterosexual teacher to keep his professional … professionalism should come first in his relationship with his students. That would automatically void any relationship, sexual, with a student; and I feel strongly that the first relationship with a student should stay teacher/student. . . should stay professional and sex shouldn’t enter into it at all.

VANDERMEER:In other words, you would not respond to the individual?


McQUAIDE: The answer was “no.” Would you speak a little louder, please?

VANDERMEER:That constitutes all the questions that I have - that are sub—questions concerning number 1. Are there other questions that other members of the Council would like to address to Mr. Acanfora?

I do have some questions - that are subquestions on the second major question, which is: Whether you intend to advocate publicly, by precept or example, certain behaviors and attitudes favoring homosexuality while occupying a position as a teacher of adolescents? As a teacher, would you attempt to conceal the fact that you are a homosexual?

ACANFORA:I would expect that in the classroom I will be certified as an Earth and Space Science teacher, and I would deal with Earth and Space Science; and there is no way that I would discuss homosexuality in the classroom as related to myself or as a general topic, because my purpose in the classroom and at school would be as a Science teacher.

VANDERMEER:If asked by a student whether you were “gay”, how would you respond?

ACANFORA:If I was asked by a student if I was “gay’ . . . Probably, as I defined homosexual earlier in this meeting, I would have to say yes.

VANDERMEER:And if you were asked by a fellow teacher . - . same answer?


VANDERMEER:And would you avoid making public statements in a community to the effect that you are homosexual?

ACANFORA:I wouldn’t see that it would be necessary for me to make public statements as to my sexual orientation.

VANDERMEER:If you would . . . You don’t answer the question precisely. I’m asking whether you would avoid making public statements in a community.

ACANFORA:Yes, generally I would avoid it.

VANDEENEER: This, of course, refers back to statements attributed to you in the local press in which you apparently did state that you were a homosexual for publication, and did apparently, to some extent, seek out opportunities for making those statements.

ACANFORA:Well, the press contacted me as to the status of my certification, because they realized that I was having trouble being certified; and I answered honestly what the procedures were and where the present stage of certification was and what the issues were.

VANDERMEER:Would you avoid being seen in community locations that are known to be “gay” bars, “gay” beaches, etc., in the community in which you were teaching?

ACANFORA:Well, just as . . . If you’re implying that I should give up my right to …

VANDERMEER:I’m not implying anything. I’m just asking a question.

ACANFORA:Well, the question was that I should give up my rights to go where I wished.

VANDERMEER:The question is, “Would you avoid these places?”; and, if the answer is you would not avoid them, the answer is simply no.

ACANFORA:Well, you know, it probably would depend on the places themselves.

VANDERMEER:Another question: Would you behave in a manner that most people would call “gay” at school social functions, such as dances, mixers, parties, etc.? In other words, would you hold hands with another male, would you dance with another male partner at dances where males generally have female partners, fondle or caress another male in such a social situation?

ACANFORA:If the situation was directly connected with the educational system, such as, like you say, a school dance or some sort of teachers’ banquet, or something, I probably would not.

VANDERMEER:Would you attempt to arouse interest in the formation of a school organization for homosexuals? Would you sponsor such an organization?

ACANFORA:It would depend on the situation, I suppose. I have no plans to sponsor such an organization at the present time.

VANDERMEER:Then, would you seek opportunities for this sort of sponsorship and advocacy of homosexuality if the occasion permitted?

ACANFORA:I don’t exactly understand what you’re asking.

VANDERMEER:An example might be that in the early weeks of a school term there might be opportunities for students to suggest clubs that they might like to have formed. Would you encourage some student to suggest a club that is primarily homosexual?

ACANFORA:I wouldn’t encourage a student . . . advocate to a student to do anything that he didn’t want to do himself. That would be his own choice. If it was a student’s suggestion, he would have to do it on his own.

VANDERMEER:If he came to you, you would encourage him . .. in this respect?

ACANFORA:I would say, if that’s what he wants to do, I wouldn’t have anything to say about it, really.

VANDERMEER:The hypothetical student I’m speaking of comes to you and says, “Mr. Acanfora, I judge you are sympathetic to the cause of the homosexuals and there’s an opportunity now to suggest clubs to be formed for the year. Would you join with me in sponsoring a club for homosexual male and female students in X high school?” What would your response be?

ACANFORA:My response would be, first, what was the need of the club and what was the objective of the club. If the club was to advocate homosexuality for other students, I would say definitely not. If it was to advocate the end of discrimination of illegal and unconstitutional harassment of a group of people, then I think there might be some valid reasons to have that organization in the school.

VANDERMEER:Those are all the questions I have to ask as subquestions on major point #2. Are there any questions anyone wants to ask?

I have three now on major point #3 which is: What relationship, if any, do you believe exists between your alleged homosexuality and your qualifications as a teacher? You were quoted in one paper somewhat to the effect that a teacher has a right to live as he sees fit and if the community disapproves of his lifestyle that’s their problem. Do you think that bears on the question as to how you

ACANFORA:I didn’t say that, just for the record.

VANDERMEER:How do you feel about that?

ACANFORA:The relationship of a homosexual to his teaching position . . . profession?

VANDERMEER:To rephrase . . . to repeat the question a bit: Do you feel that a teacher is completely free to live in a community as he sees fit, without regard to the effect that his lifestyle .

ACANFORA:No. I think as a teacher, he has certain professional obligations, and I agree totally with the Council that a person who is a teacher should be a “moral person”. But I disagree that one’s private sexual orientation enters the field of teacher morality.

VANDERMEER:Then, you do believe that a teacher’s personality and way of life does have an effect on the adolescent that he teaches, regardless of what he may say directly in the classroom?

ACANFORA:I suppose certain actions that a teacher would do in public could definitely enter into his teaching.

VANDERMEER:Finally, do you believe that there really ought to be some “gay” teachers represented on most secondary school faculties?

ACANFORA:I am sure that there are many, many homosexual teachers represented on every faculty in every school across this country. If anyone’s read the Kinsey reports, approximately 10%, or 15-20 million Americans, have a homosexual orientation. Besides, I know for a fact that this University, every term, certifies homosexuals, that homosexuals are on many school faculties. I suppose . . . I don’t know whether that answers your question, but that is a fact, yes.

VANDERMEER:The question was not to the effect, “Do you believe that there are homosexuals on most faculties?”, but, rather, “Do you believe that - as some people believe that there ought to be a certain proportion of blacks or there ought to be a certain proportion of other minority groups represented on faculties - there also ought to be a certain proportion of “gay” faculty members on every faculty?”


ACANFORA:Well, I don’t think the schools should go out of their way to hire a certain percentage of homosexuals. I think teachers should be hired on their qualifications as a teacher, and, it they are homosexual, that shouldn’t be considered in their hiring.

VANDERMEER:Are there other questions from any of the members of the UTCC? The important point is to give you an opportunity to present any other relevant matters which you wish.

McQUAIDE: May I suggest, Dean, that in doing so, if he wishes, he could - through his attorney, perhaps - comment directly to the first three questions asked rather than . . . in addition to the kind of subquestions you asked and grow out of that - and let me have that on the record, Miss Shank.

ISAACSON:Do you have a list of those questions, by any chance, the scope . . .? Joe, I’ll read you the questions and, you know, rather than the subquestions that we went through, just feel relaxed and give a general statement on what you feel about it.

“Whether certain statements attributed to you in the press, i.e., that you are a homosexual, are correct?” There have been a number of statements in the press, and the Council has been concerned about it, and perhaps you can clarify it somewhat in direct response to the question; or, perhaps just in your own words, you could define a little bit better for the committee exactly what you mean by saying that you’re a homosexual or any statements attributed to you in the press.

ACANFORA:I think the Council should be aware of the fact that people are not homosexual. I mean you can’t just put a person in a box and label it homosexual. Homosexual is a type of behavior in one aspect of a person’s life. You’re not talking about 10% of the population being homosexual, and separating them from everybody else. Homosexuals are people, and you have to remember that. They are teachers; they are people’s brothers, sisters; they are deans; they are people. They see you questioning, not their right to exist; you’re just questioning one aspect of that person. I’m not sure that you’re aware of that fact.

SHARON:If I could just jump to #2 for a minute. If you would ever have the opportunity to speak publicly concerning homosexuality, What would be the scope of your discussion and what would you advocate concerning homosexuals? Would you advocate that people become homosexuals? Would you advocate that? What exactly would you advocate? What is your stance on public advocation regarding homosexuality?

ACANFORA:Well. . . I never have and I never intend to advocate homosexuality. I’ve never said that I feel homosexuality is better than heterosexuality. I don’t believe that anyone should be enticed or persuaded into it. The only thing that I feel is that in our present society they are definitely - and I can’t see anyone arguing with the fact - that homosexuals are discriminated against; that many of their constitutional rights are violated because of the simple lack of understanding about what homosexuals are. People base their reaction to homosexual people on fear, on myths, on misunderstandings; and, I mean, it really hurts a lot of people. The tremendous hostility directed toward homosexuals is enough to really destroy a person, to really mess up his life in a lot of situations - and I can’t see anyone wanting this to continue. I’m not saying everyone should become a homosexual or that anyone who isn’t should try it. What I’m saying is - stop the intense hatred; stop the discrimination against homosexuals. And any decisions that are made should be made from reason; should be based on fact; and not on prejudice and discrimination.

SHARON:This would be the extent of any . . . ?

ACANFORA:That’s my feelings, that’s all I’ve ever felt on the subject, and that’s, I suppose, why I’m here.

SHARON:I just want to ask one other question. I want to ask . . . Based on your past experience as a teacher at Park Forest High School - your students there, after the filing of the suit, knew you were a homosexual - is that correct?

ACANFORA:I’m sure they would have to because of the tremendous publicity.

SHARON:Now, what evidence do you have, that you could present the Board of the … Do you have any evidence of the effect that that public knowledge had on your ability or capabilities as a teacher, as seen by your students?

ACANFORA:After I was returned to Park Forest Junior High by court order, it seemed apparent that most of the students there would know what had happened because of the tremendous publicity attached to the case; and, after I went back to Park Forest, I was well - accepted. There was absolutely no … nothing was negatively affected as far as my teaching effectiveness in the classroom. On the last day of class, as a matter of fact - because I wanted to know if this had affected my teaching, I took a survey of my students as to what they thought of me as a teacher. I asked for general comments, and I asked them to rate me on a scale from Poor, Fair, Good, or Excellent. The response that I got from over 100 of my students - 13 considered me a Fair teacher; 80 of them considered me a Good teacher; and 39 considered me an Excellent teacher. And this was after the tremendous publicity connected with it - so I would say, from my past experience, that it had no negative effect at all on my teaching capabilities.

ISAACSON:Joe, the Council’s concerned - and I think, maybe, probably rightfully so - of putting someone in a teaching position who is known to be a homosexual and teaching students. What effect is that going to have on the students, and . . . Let’s give an example; and . . . You might be in a classroom situation and there might be a student who has, what we might term, a sexual problem; or perhaps maybe he was in a movie theater or something and had been approached by somebody who was “gay”, and maybe touched him; and maybe he had certain ambivalent feelings about that - maybe he even liked it - and, because of certain pressures in society today, he’s feeling extremely guilty about it, automatically he feels, “My God, I must be a homosexual”, and he feels, “Well, I know that Joe Acanfora is gay. I’ll go and talk to him.” So the student comes to you and says to you that, you know, “I’m afraid I’m homosexual, that I’m gay.” How would you handle that? How would you handle that situation? I think that’s one of the things the Council’s concerned about. If a student is in that situation and he does come to you. . . Maybe you could clarify that a little bit for the Council, about how you would handle that, and perhaps say a word about the organization of which you are a member.

ACANFORA:I’ve been in similar situations as a member of Homophiles of Penn State where college students are in this situation and come to our organization and me, particularly. I don’t consider myself qualified as a counselor to recommend to anyone how they should . . . what their sexual orientation should be, how they should live their lives, and what decisions they should make. So, because I’m not qualified to do that, the only thing that I could do is to tell them to . . recommend to them, in the case of a high school student, to go to the school counselor or the school psychiatrist and be free to discuss with him the problem; that he shouldn’t fear discussing this problem with the counselor; that it is a common problem; and that the counselor and he should decide. . . should discuss it. And here at Penn State, in general, recommend people to the Division of Counseling and in a high school I would recommend them to the school counselors.

ISAACSON:Alright, let’s take it a step further. Let’s say in your classroom someone - even though you’re teaching Earth and Planetary Science - and someone, a student, gets up and raises the question about homosexuality, knowing or having heard someplace that you were gay, and wants you to talk about it; and this is during a course of Earth and Planetary Sciences. How do you handle that? And these are situations which the Council envisions will happen; and I’m sure you’ve thought about it and feel that they probably will happen once it possibly becomes known that you are gay.

ACANFORA:Well, as I say, because I don’t want personally to influence anyone in the direction of homosexuality that I don’t have any persuading effect on them, I would send them to a neutral person like a counselor, or, if they want to discuss it, perhaps a better place to do it would be in a Health education course or someplace which is already . . . which is more in line to discuss homosexuality with . . . such as in a counseling course, sociology course, or health course.

ISAACSON:In other words, if I understand you correctly, your position, while as a teacher, is to be just that - to be a teacher. And the fact that your sexual orientation might be one way or the other, as you envision it, should not enter into your teaching whatsoever, either in the classroom or out of the classroom - that the only thing you intend publicly to do is to seek the repeal of laws which discriminate against minorities, and, I believe, in your case, which discriminate against homosexuals •

ACANFORA:Right . . . right.

ISAACSON:. . . and am I correct in saying that? Is that what your aim is to do? It’s not to teach homosexuality or preach it or try to convert anyone, nor to even talk about it in the sense that people should convert? That in the teaching sense, what is your involvement?

ACANFORA:I’m here, asking to be certified as an Earth and Space Science teacher, and I’m not asking the right to go out and preach homosexuality. I don’t believe in that. And, in a school system, in the educational field, my concern is with Science. In my public life, I already said that I am strongly opposed to discrimination, against hate toward people, and against feelings based on prejudice or unreasonableness; and that is how I feel and that’s what I’m about.

SHARON:Can I ask you a question, Joe? You said you have feelings at the present time for both women, your sisters, and men, your brothers. Now, if you went to a school dance with a woman, would you feel that it would be any more proper, as Dean VanderMeer asked - he asked if you were at a dance would you openly fondle or caress the man you were with. If you were at a dance with a woman that you had feelings with, would you caress or fondle her in public?

ACANFORA:No. I feel that there are certain things that should be kept private; and I can’t see as right two people caressing, fondling, or having sexual involvement in public.

SHARON:Do you feel, as a gay person and being involved in love relationships with men, that you are any more promiscuous . . .Do you uphold by that tenet that gay people are more promiscuous in public than heterosexual couples?

ACANFORA:This is a common myth just like the myth that homosexuals are somehow attracted to children and that homosexuality males are all effeminate. There are so many myths connected with homosexuality because of the lack of opportunity to educate on the subject, and this is just one more that homosexuals are promiscuous - will go out seeking sexual activity with anyone they can find - and it just isn’t true. It’s just another myth that is connected with homosexuality because of ignorance on the subject.

ISAACSON:In other words, the myth in whatever the statement was by Dean VanderMeer questioning you whether you visit so called gay bars or things like that to try to pick up people - is this something which you engage in that? . . Is this something that you could even perceive that you would engage in?

ACANFORA:In our society, because of the extreme prejudice with regard to homosexuality, homosexuals are forced to group in areas where they’re not harassed; and so the gay bars form where gay people socialize. And, of course, in a perfect society, things would be totally intermixed and such as HOPS’s mixers on campus, where gay and straight people dance and have a good time and have fun, where gay people are no longer forced to group in one little hidden area because we’re afraid. I’m hoping that that’s not the case and that doesn’t have to be true much longer. I definitely am against it.

ISAACSON:Okay. This next question on the list was: What relationship, if any, do you believe exists between statements in the press that you don’t think your homosexuality should have any bearing whatsoever on your qualifications as a teacher? Now, this comes across pretty strong to a teacher certification council that has a duty and a moral obligation, I believe, to see to it that the prospective teachers that they certify are morally fit. Do you believe that the Council should not inquire into a person’s moral character? Could you maybe, like, interpret that statement a little bit? Maybe . . .were you defining that homosexuality, per se, should not be a concern of the Council or in reference to yourself the way you are a homosexual? Perhaps the Council would be worried of someone presenting themselves in a dress or something like that. Would you think this would be a relevant concern of the Council?

ACANFORA:The one thing is - I’m not denying the right of the Council or the right of the State to require that a teacher be of good moral character, because I think that’s definitely true. I agree with it. Young students at an adolescent age are at a very delicate point in their life where they are discovering things and where they could be persuaded, if someone enters the teaching field who wants to advance his own beliefs. And so, I think the Council and the State have a right to not certify teachers who are out for their own private ends. And what I’m saying is that being a homosexual does not mean that you advocate people becoming homosexual or that you try to persuade them or entice them into becoming homosexual. What I’m saying is one’s private life away from the classroom does not necessarily affect his teaching career and his effectiveness in the classroom; and I feel, in my case, that it definitely does not, because I would not be out to change any attitudes. I would not try, in any way, to persuade a student on his feelings towards homosexuality.

ISAACSON:Well, Joe, we realize that a person’s private life should not have a bearing, but you are in a delicate situation with children. This is what the Council’s concerned about. They realize, I’m sure, that a person’s private life should be private; but, when a person occupies a position as a teacher, even though a person feels their private life should be private, it necessarily has to have some effect on the students which one teaches because whatever a teacher does in a community in which he lives and teaches somehow gets back to the students and this is what the Council is worried about. Would you take that into consideration while teaching, and that you would possibly not be as open about your life and your career as you would be if you were in another field that was not so sensitive? In other words, you don’t intend to just conduct yourself in private as however you feel like it, without any concern whatsoever as to the effect it might have on your students. Do you, or don’t you, or . . .

ACANFORA:Well, I said before, that there are certain obligations about one’s public life connected with himself when he is a teacher, because he is in the eyes of his students; and I believe definitely that a person has to refrain from doing anything that would disrupt his effectiveness in the classroom or lose the respect of the students, and I definitely would try my best not to do anything . . . I don’t plan doing anything that would make me less effective as a teacher.

SHARON:But you don’t feel that advocating the end of discrimination against homosexuals comes into this?

ACANFORA:No, I don’t. I would think that every person in this country would support the right - the constitutional rights - of every citizen. I can’t see how anyone can argue that it is wrong to ask that decisions be made on reason, it’s wrong to ask that brutality and hatred in the country stop toward a group of people. That seems only reasonable to me, and I would think that the education profession would be especially concerned with people being discriminated against, with social forces which are attempting to crush out a portion of the population.

ISAACSON:Do you have anything on the question? Okay, the last thing, Joe, is just any other relevant matters which you wish to present to the Council; and I know that this atmosphere is - even though we have our coats off - is rather intimidating to you, and I’m sure the Council can sympathize with that - that a person in Joe’s position, having to come before a Board to prove his morality, is not an easy thing to do. It’s a very scary thing. This is a man who very much wants to teach, and it’s not easy to come across relaxed and to just tell where his heart is and what he’s about. But maybe you can just express to the Council, if you can relax a little bit - these gentlemen aren’t here, I don’t think, to crucify you - exactly what your opinions are about a teacher and about yourself and why the Council should certify you and just, in general, anything, maybe, you’d like to say.

ACANFORA:First of all, as far as my interest in teaching . . . I’ve always been interested in Earth and Space Science. I began at Penn State majoring in Meteorology for two years, and decided that I wanted to work with people rather than just work in a little weather station. So I switched into Education. I’m very interested in the field, and I hope that, you know, I can create the interest in my students; and I really am looking forward to getting into an Earth Science position in a high school. And, as for - that’s the teaching area of my life. My personal feelings, as I’ve discussed already, about the homosexual situation in the country that . . . from personal experience, I know how I’ve grown up. You have your best friends and people you really like, and they make jokes about gay people. They don’t realize inside that they’re making jokes about you, about how much it hurts, and you can’t say, “Wait a minute, I’m your best friend. How can you say that to me?” You just have to bear it; because, if you tell them, there’s this tremendous fear and hostility which even, a lot of times, friendships can’t even overcome. Or, your parents . . . you can’t even talk to your parents about it under normal situations because of . . . they feel, somehow, they’ve done something wrong; because they think homosexuals are sick, that they’re child molesters and things like that. You know - there’s just this gigantic circle of fear and intimidation and hatred and disgust and self-guilt that I think has to end and things have to be based more on reason in the future or else you’re gonna have a lot of people you know who just . . . a lot of people are being hurt by it, and a lot of people cursed by this situation the way it exists now. And you really have to go through it. It’s very similar, I suppose, to the black situation where blacks, for years and years and years, were told that “hour only good for slaves; you’re second rate citizens; you’re not even able to record a vote; and you’re not quite as good as everybody else.” Then, after awhile, the blacks believed it - they internalized this societal discrimination - and, finally, after being intimidated - being destroyed as full persons - some people began to realize … “Wait a minute, you know, this discrimination is based on myths, ignorance, and it’s time to educate people and, you know, accept their rights as full people.” And that’s the situation that the homosexual is in today. And, they’re not in a situation where they want the whole nation to be gay, or where they want their students to be gay or try it or anything like that. It’s just a civil rights situation, that a portion of the population is being discriminated against, that wants their civil rights, wants to stop being harassed and that’s what the situation is. A lot of people don’t know about it - they haven’t had the opportunity to be educated about it. If you consider yourself, your own background - Where have you ever heard anything about homosexuality? Perhaps it was mentioned - one sentence in a health class - or perhaps you’ve read something. But it is so hush-hushed. It is so concealed from society that misunderstanding and myth are bound to come out. Out of misunderstanding, out of ignorance; you have fear, you have discrimination. And I think that has to end.

ISAACSON:Perhaps you gentleman, even though it wasn’t in the scope of the questions - this is a little bit more relaxed situation - maybe you have some other questions on your minds which you’d like to ask, and I would ask the Council to refrain from asking anything about a person’s private sexual conduct. The reason we objected to this is not to make the Council angry or to attempt . . .that we’re trying to avoid anything. It’s just that we believe, and Joe believes - and under the law I think he’s right - that a person’s private sexual conduct should be no concern, really, of any certification board or anything. There’s much. . . .many of you are married, or maybe you’re not. I know I’m married. And I’m sure that there might be certain private things which my wife and I might do which possibly might be illegal - and for me, as an attorney, to be asked that by a certification board whether I’m morally fit to become an attorney - they wouldn’t even think of it. It’s just something which should really not be of concern to the Council. If a person’s engaging in public sexual acts or trying to pick somebody up or attracted to children or anything like that, I think that’s legitimate. But to ask somebody what type of private conduct they engage in, which is not public and never intends to be so, it’s a rather offensive thing, really, to have to answer.

McQUAIDE: May I ask a couple of questions?


McQUAIDE: Mr. Acanfora, have you ever engaged in public sexual acts?

ACANFORA:No, I never have.

McQUAIDE: Have you ever undergone any psychiatric or medical treatment with specific reference to your homosexuality?

ACANFORA:I had two visits to the Division of Counseling on campus here when I was a sophomore, and told him that I had homosexual feelings, and just asked what he thought of the situation. This was . . . I can’t think of his name right now. And he said that I would have to examine my own feelings inside; he couldn’t tell me that I was right or wrong. He suggested a list of books that I read to get educated on the subject, because I had absolutely no idea where I would go to find out about what homosexuality was all about. And, it was definitely a good experience, because I, you know, I got rid of a lot of myths I had about myself because that’s all I had ever known, and that was the only experience I ever had.

ISAACSON:Do you gentlemen have anything that - you know, possibly that’s not on the scope - that you just feel in your own minds you have a question about him to certify him that you want to ask?

PAULSON:I was wondering in regards to advocacy. f I understood, from what you said earlier, there are certain school conditions and groups where you would draw a line at certain points. But, feeling strongly as you do, would you feel compelled to join or encourage a group in the community - let’s say, to take action or advocate changes in the laws; and, if so, how might you relate that to your position or your role as a teacher?

ACANFORA:Well, I’ve already said what my feelings were concerning homosexuality - what I was advocating and what I wasn’t advocating. And if there was an organization in the community which had objectives which weren’t encouraging people to become gay; which were advocating the end of discrimination and, civil rights for everybody, I would possibly see myself supporting that organization.

ISAACSON:Would you do the same thing for a group concerned about equality for rights for black citizens, or for Chicanos, or for women?

ACANFORA:Well, you know, I believe in civil rights for, I guess, every citizen, no matter . . .Every citizen is entitled to civil rights, constitutional rights .

PAULSON:The second part of my question was how you might see your public role in such a group as related to your role as a teacher. Would you put any limitations on yourself or do you want to separate these entirely?

ACANFORA:Well, I’m sure everyone realizes that - obviously, I agree that you have to concern yourself at all times with your professional effectiveness in the classroom; and you have to judge for yourself - like, I’m sure you know that in a certain situation just how far you can go. It’s a person’s decision, viewing at the time; and I agree that there are limits to things that you can do in public because they would affect your teaching career and, generally, all I can say is that there are limits and I would concern myself with them. It would depend on the time and place and situation; what was happening. But I, you know, I couldn’t consider every possibility in that statement.

VANDERMEER:Are there any other questions? Go ahead, Joe.

ACANFORA:I would just like to, as part of the additional information right, I believe , . . Did everyone get a copy of the booklet? And, let me say, I don’t necessarily agree with everything said there, but I think it’s a generally informative booklet about things that maybe you don’t know and I think it should be read just before reaching any decision - just to have it as an additional source of information. And I also want to point out - possibly you’re not aware of the present situation in the nation about homosexuality as it relates to laws and things like that. Sodomy laws have been repealed in about five or six states in the last few years. The Washington, D.C. School Board passed a resolution a few months ago that homosexuals could not be discriminated against in employment and tenure and advancement at any level in the educational system.

Lansing, Michigan, City Council said that no discrimination against homosexuals can occur in their city, and New York City is about to pass one called HO 475. People, as the ignorance ends, are beginning to become aware of the extreme discrimination and bigotry and hatred that is present and are taking steps now to end it. I just want you to be aware of that.

ISAACSON:Is it possible, if there are no more questions from anyone . . . Are there?

SCANNELL:Let me try one more. We’ve been talking a lot about this question of public advocacy. You may prefer not to answer this, because it sort of loops back . . .

ISAACSON:Could you hold on just one second? I just want to change the tape here. . . Okay.

SCANNELL:The question sort of loops back . . . Given similar circumstances in a community as to what you had this year on the campus, Would you have put yourself in the forefront, as you have on campus, as a teacher in a community? Would you have made the same moves, given the same circumstances?

ACANFORA:Well, what happened . . . I don’t think I put myself in the forefront. I became a party to a lawsuit, which I thought was, you know, totally within my rights and respectable in every professional way in education, and things followed from that. If I thought that there was something being constitutionally violated in some cause - something unconstitutional happening - and I thought it was necessary for me to . . . if a lawsuit was in order and it was really necessary, I would consider becoming involved in it. I wouldn’t ask for the tremendous publicity that was connected to this last case, but it just happened.

McQUAIDE: Weren’t there certain press conferences called?

ACANFORA:Well, there were a lot of . . . lots of confusion and lots of misunderstandings that were being thrown around. A lot of things happening.

McQUAIDE: These press conferences. Were they called by you?

ACANFORA:They were called by . . . I believe the first press conference was called by the State College Schools.


SCANNELL:Well, I think what is behind my question is the fact that in the minds of many people in the community you have become the spokesman, not the organization. It’s not a matter of . . . You became the spokesman in this community. And what I’m saying is, Would you feel that in a community in which you were a teacher - say that this occurred in Harrisburg - that you were a teacher in the Harrisburg schools . . . Do you see that as being something which would have an effect . . . I’m concerned with this question as to how far the public advocacy would go.

ACANFORA:Well, let me answer that in a couple of different ways. First of all, if it’s true that I became the spokesman, it had absolutely no effect on my teaching career, on my teaching effectiveness in the classroom at the Park Forest Junior High School. Secondly, Mr. Johnson, the President, became spokesman for lots of things as President; and I’m sure he’s just as effective as a teacher. I think, if you have someone who becomes a spokesman for the end of discrimination against blacks, I don’t think he would lose his effectiveness as a teacher in the classroom. On the other hand . . . because my personal feelings are that I’m not going to be a spokesman anyway, even though I really wouldn’t see anything wrong with it, I don’t plan on being a spokesman in any community that I’m working in.

ISAACSON:If I could just clarify that. I think it’s true he was forced into that position. I don’t think it was of his own choosing. It’s true he was a member of HOPS, dedicated to exactly what he’s talking about - repeal of discriminatory laws. Unfortunately - and I don’t want to get into the discussion about it now - he was dismissed from his student teaching position. Well, that was news; and the press picked that up and came to him and asked him for interviews. Now, it’s not an easy thing, you know, when you’re thrown into the limelight - it’s not that he chose to be in the limelight; he merely was a plaintiff in a suit. If you, for instance, would be driving a car and you got hit by someone else, you would file suit and you would be a plaintiff in a suit. In that sense, I don’t think he thrust himself as a spokesman. I think what happened to him forced him into that situation. When someone’s dismissed from a student teaching position, and we had to come up and file a lawsuit to get him reinstated, and there’s press there, and the people would talk to him - they thrust him in the limelight. He did not seek out the press; he did not seek to be fired from his student teaching position; and this was an unfortunate thing which happened and which did force him in the limelight and which brought up a little bit of resentment. Whether it was justified or not, I don’t know. But it brought up resentment towards the school and towards the education officials involved; and he felt all he was doing was filing suit and that he was being punished for that. Whether that was true or not is really not material but that did force him into the position of a spokesman, which is a difficult thing to avoid; and I don’t believe that he, at any time, really, sought out prior to that time to be a spokesman for anything other than the repeal of certain laws.

McQUAIDE: Didn’t you anticipate, however, that the filing of that lawsuit would be news? Didn’t you, in fact, seek to make this a public issue, perhaps, by filing the lawsuit?

ACANFORA:I was concerned with the rights that were being violated, and that’s what my primary interest was in asking the courts to stop the violation of people’s rights, and that’s the only thing that I was interested in.

McQUAIDE: Didn’t you intend to use the press as a method of making that point to the community in general?

ACANFORA:Well . . . did I intend to use the press? I, personally, didn’t. I suppose Homophiles of Penn State, using their right of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, would hope to end discrimination by using the press.

SHARON:I would like to say that I think the media in this country has, in order to sensationalize and to sell copies, has a habit of making heroes of people in all fields and are attempting to isolate people and make them stars or spokesmen in all fields and in the movement for civil rights, especially, they have attempted to isolate people from certain groups and make them the so-called “superstars.” But it’s not only in the civil rights movement. It’s, I would say, like . . . it’s the same as in sports. The media has a habit in certain areas of making baseball players more known than others who are, maybe, of equal talent. I think this is a habit of the media, and I don’t think that Joe’s set out to make himself any type of “superstar”. Any press conferences that were called were not called by Joe personally. The press conferences weren’t run by Joe; they weren’t attended by Joe alone; and I don’t think Joe . . . Well, it’s true the media should be used sometimes to expose the inequities in the society, just as it’s used to publicize the Democratic Party platform and the Republican Party platform. I don’t think there’s any reason not to use the media to speak of minority rights. I don’t think that we, or Joe, attempted to abuse the media, and any superstar role which was put on Joe was put on by the media. I don’t think Joe sought out the media, and I don’t think he sought to become spokesman for the organization.

There were three other plaintiffs in the suit besides Joe.

McQUAIDE: Do you hold any office in the organization?

ACANFORA:I no longer do. Before I graduated, I was treasurer of the group.

ISAACSON:I have a statement I would like to make to the Council, if there aren’t any further questions .

First, I’d like the Council to consider, in addition to the booklet, “Twenty Questions about Homosexuality”, which was sent on behalf of Mr. Acanfora . . . I believe there were a number of letters sent to the Council by friends and relatives of Joe who have known him all his life, attesting to his moral character. And I would hope that that would also be taken into consideration by the Council rather than just the brief meeting here and the statements that you read in the press, in your consideration as to whether he is morally fit to be certified. In addition, I would like to make a closing statement. Let’s be honest. I realize the difficult position that the Council’s in. Here they’ve been dealing with someone who’s publicly, openly, admitted that he’s a homosexual, is a member of a group which the press blows up as, in a sense, advocating people should be homosexuals or people should convert to homosexuality; and there’s all types of images and fears that surround this. And it’s understandable - having no real direct communication with Joe or with the people in HOPS other than through the press or in a very adversary type situation and where the kids are versus the University, or whatever generally happens - a lot of misconceptions arise. And we . . . What we really are dealing with here is not with what’s been happening in the press and not the issue of HOPS. We’re dealing here with a man who is sincerely interested in teaching, who does not advocate homosexuality - if he did, I wouldn’t be representing him. I don’t think anyone should advocate any sexual, moral code for anyone else; that’s a personal decision. He does not intend to set by precept nor by example that a person should become a homosexual. What he does intend to do - and I fully support him in it, and I would hope that members of the Council would do likewise - is to strongly exercise his constitutional rights to seek, through legal channels and legal process, the reform of discriminatory laws. Now, that’s the only thing he’s been guilty of. The press blew it out of proportion; the HOPS, being students and having an idea in their mind they are versus the University, or whatever, possibly they blew it out of proportion. But that’s really what it boils down to. And that’s really what the controversy surrounding Joe boils down to. It’s not an easy thing for a person - you might think he likes to be a hero - but it’s not an easy thing for a person to openly admit they’re a homosexual. You’re taking your life in your hands. You’re laying yourself open to extreme harassment from people in the community, people who have fears. He knew full well that he would like to be a teacher and that he’s laying that on the line. This was not some little whim. This was a very serious matter to this man, who very conscientiously believes in certain fundamental rights of every citizen and did not feel that it was right to continue seeing discrimination against homosexuals and all people who are gay, having that intense fear to speak out for reform of laws because of what might happen to them. In effect, something did happen to Joe, and he was dismissed from his student teaching position. There was a lot of publicity surrounding that, and he was reinstated to his student teaching position. He continued to teach and got good ratings from his students; he got good ratings from his supervisor; he never once mentioned or talked about homosexuality while in the classroom; he never had prior to that point. He continued as a professional teacher in the most moral respect that I can think of. It had no adverse effect on his students; possibly it even had a beneficial effect, because they saw that even though they knew this person was gay not once did he mention it in class or out of class to any of the students. The only thing he did was publicly advocate that HOPS should be recognized on campus, because one of its goals was to break through a lot of the fears and misconceptions, to give information, to send people to proper counseling - not, when they come to them to say, “Well, that’s alright; gay is good, and you should be gay; you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.” That’s not the purpose of HOPS, nor what Joe was about. It’s to get people to proper counseling, psychiatric care, or whatever, so that they can talk it out and receive enlightened information about homosexuality and deal with it objectively and rationally and not as something to be feared nor diseased. This is all that he intends to do in the future, realizing full well that he is in a sensitive position with students - as he realized at Park Forest Junior High School, and conducted himself very professionally and appropriately in that context. But a person, any citizen, regardless of what job they had, would be in a very sorry State, and a very sorry country, if people were afraid to legally - no, not in the streets. We’re not talking about protest rallies or anything like that. We’re talking about seeking legal process through the courts to change laws which discriminate. That’s not only a constitutional right of every citizen, it should be a duty of every citizen to see to it that that’s done; and, in the future, regarding homosexuality, that’s all he intends to do. As far as his private life, he intends to keep it private. Anything public would be only towards that end, seeking the repeal of discriminatory laws, not seeking that people should become gay nor anyway affect them.

And I can just say, personally, that my wife and I, we don’t have children yet, but, if we did, that I not only would not object to an openly admitted homosexual such as Joe and the principles that he stands for teaching my children, I would encourage and be helpful and be grateful to have him teach them any subject. He’s the type of person that, truthfully - and this might come as a surprise - is one of the most moral people I’ve met. And, to say that he’s immoral - even imply that he’s immoral - because he has openly admitted something which he is, rather than hiding in the closet . . . if he had done that, you gentlemen would be fine. You know, there’d be no problem here it he had continued to pretend that he shouldn’t seek repeal of any rights, he should keep it quiet and just protect yourself and just forget about your brothers and your sisters and other people in the community who might need help and just keep your mouth shut and everything will go good for you.

I wish we had more people like Joe. Maybe there would be a lot of different laws in this country that would be changed that way. And all I could say is that I realize the Council’s in a difficult position - the implication of, “My God, we’re going to certify an admitted homosexual; the backlash we’re going to have from parents and from the community; What effect is this going to have on us; How will the alumni react to that; How can we do that?” Well, you have to cut through the myths and the fear a little bit and really think what you’re dealing with here. Not just an admitted homosexual who advocates that. You’re dealing with a person; you’re dealing with Joe Acanfora; you’re dealing with a moral person who’s got good qualifications, good recommendations about his teaching abilities, who is sincerely interested to teach, not to have a platform for his own personal desire. He’s a teacher, and he wants to teach. He continued to teach; he fought to be reinstated as a teacher; he was reinstated as a teacher; and he continued to teach. That’s all he’s seeking now. He’s not seeking that the University sanction his openness or sanction his stand. He’s just seeking that, merely because he advocated the repeal of certain laws and perhaps maybe was in a little bit of a blown up press situation, he should not be considered immoral because of that. I think that he should be really considered very moral for having guts enough to stand up for what he believes in, knowing full well that his life is laid on the line. And I just hope that the Council will consider it in that light and not so much based upon the fear of what the reaction will be to the Council’s recommendations . . . there are other school districts - the Washington, D.C., schools . . . something would happen to them. Yet, things change, and things are changing in this country. The University is not going to be the first, if you intend to certify him, to certify a homosexual. There are people in Civil Service jobs; there are court cases which your attorney, Mr. McQuaide, is familiar with; there are other court cases refusing to hire a homosexual - I admit that. I’m just hoping that the Council will not be afraid to be in the forefront of a movement for just basic human rights, having seen and talked with Joe personally and not dealt with him through an antagonistic situation in the press - which really was not completely of his own making and which I do admit after the ball got rolling that’s about the only support that he had. And, he added … to it. I admit I probably might have done the same thing myself.

You exercise your constitutional right of free speech, and you try to persuade people. The media likes to sensationalize; and they like the good guy versus bad guy type of thing; and that’s what happened to Joe. But that’s not what he’s here for and that’s not what he intends to do. He just wants to teach, and I sincerely hope the Council will let him teach.

McQUAIDE: Mr. Isaacson, your remarks raise another matter that needs some discussion. You make continual reference to the fact that the purpose of HOPS is to secure repeal, like Joe, of discriminatory laws. Are there not other purposes of HOPS, in addition to that? I think the language of the charter includes something to the effect that they are to assist the homosexual in accepting his or her sexual orientation.

ISAACSON:Now, I had spoken to the people in HOPS in regard to that. To clarify that point and what that clause meant - has meant in the past and will continue to mean - they only mean that, if someone comes to them who has what’s called a sexual problem, they do not encourage them to accept that sexual problem. They help them by referring them to counseling, whether it be a psychiatric counselor, whether it be a health counselor, or whatever - someone who will talk to them rationally about it - someone similar to what Joe went to, who gave him books to read. That’s the . . .

McQUAIDE: Does that reflect Mr. Acanfora’s position with respect to that particular clause?

ACANFORA:I think it does; I think he stated it exactly when he said if a student had come to me . . .

McQUAIDE: I would like an answer to the question for the record.

ACANFORA:If someone came to me for counseling about homosexuality - a homosexual problem they had - I don’t consider myself qualified - I’m not trained as a counselor - and I would refer them to a qualified counselor to discuss their problem.

ISAACSON:In other words, one of the purposes of that organization is not to send them to someone who thinks of homosexuality as a sickness but who has an enlightened, open viewpoint on it and doesn’t view it as a problem or not a problem - but just someone who can give them proper counseling, talk to them, find out if they do have a problem, and give them enlightened counseling about it. The purpose of HOPS, nor of Joe, is not to encourage anyone to accept anything which they might not want to. Perhaps the language in there was ambiguous, but for purposes of the record, are cleared up now. And I imagine in the future, since I’ve expressed to the people in HOPS there has been some question about that. They were somewhat taken aback because, at no time - and there are counselors at this University who can attest to that fact - have they encouraged anyone to accept his or her homosexuality if that person is not absolutely sure that that is, in fact, what they wanted. Anytime someone had a problem or a question, they referred them to proper counseling and guidance - not of their own, but to someone else, independent, and there are counselors in the University who can attest to that fact that people from HOPS have referred people to them, and perhaps it was unfortunate that that clause was misinterpreted.

VANDERMEER:Anything else? If you will excuse us, gentlemen, while we deliberate on this before reaching a decision.

ISAACS0N:Will a decision be reached now, or can you tell me when, so we would have some idea . .

VANDERMEER:That will, obviously, be one of the matters that we’ll consider at this point.

McQUAIDE: We’ll be in touch with you just as soon as we reasonably can.

ISAACSON:Would you rather have us, you know, leave town and be in touch with us by phone, or do you want us to wait . . . You know, it’s hard for a person to go home and then . . .

VANDERMEER:I would prefer that the Council not be under any implied pressure to reach a decision on the basis of your waiting to be told. When you can get in your car and go back to your . . .

ISAACSON:No, I don’t mean that. I just meant whether it would be in a week or a day or something like that - that’s all I meant. If you can give me some idea so that at least he knows . . .

McQUAIDE: I can contact you as soon as the Council has had an opportunity to discuss that aspect of it and give you a potential time.

ISAACSON:That will be fine. We’ll go back to Pittsburgh, then. Thank you, gentlemen. Appreciate it.


SCANNELL:Yes - how long is it going to take your wonder girl over there - you know, I’ve been really impressed with the job she’s been doing. How long will it take you to give us some sort of an outline of these…?

VANDERMEER:Janet, would you care to respond, to make a prediction?

SCANNELL:Is this going to be like weeks, or days, or . . .

SHANK:Would a couple of days be too long, sir?

SCANNELL:No, I’m not making any demands at all. If it was going to be weeks, or very long, I was going to say we’d better get rolling. On the other hand . . .

McCLAY:You mean you’d like to study the . . .

SCANNELL:I personally would like . . . You know, a lot of stuff was given to us - and I personally would like to see if you could produce in a few days a full transcript; and, if not, at least an outline of key points made; so that I could sit and roll this stuff around. Because you walk out of a thing like this . . . what’s clearest in my mind right now is what the attorney said just before he walked out, and I’m not sure what was said before that.

VANDERMEER:Would you say that by week’s end you could have the material transcribed?

SHANK:Yes, sir.

VANDERMEER:. . . and available to the Council?

WARTIK:I personally don’t see the need for this. I think we have protracted this case beyond any real necessity

McCLAY:That’s my feeling, too. I’m ready to . . .

WARTIK:We could reach a decision today.

SCANNELL:I think I would be less ready after reading this a week later.

VANDERMEER:I propose that we send Mr. Acanfora’s application for a certificate to Secretary Pittenger, asserting that he has completed academic requirements for his degree in Education and for qualifications on an academic basis for a certificate in Earth and Space Science. That we say, in addition, that we decline to provide the recommendation which affirms that he is “known to be a person of good moral character and possesses those qualities of personality which would warrant the issuance of a certificate”, and provide as an enclosure to this material the transcript of today’s session, plus such additional materials from the files as we have considered in reaching this decision.

SCANNELL:Does it change the meaning - your intent and the legal meaning - if we would word that a little bit differently when we come to the point where we say, “We cannot sign that he is known . . .”, and also add a clause, “Although we do not know he’s immoral” - we cannot sign that we . . . know that he is. Would that change it legally? To me, it doesn’t change it legally, and it would be an easier position to defend in the press.

McQUAIDE: What it comes down to is, essentially, that this is both a legal and a public policy question. Does an admitted homosexual, who has been involved in public advocacy - does he have “good moral character” within the meaning of the School Code? Who, in the last analysis, is going to decide that? It seems to me the school authorities first have to decide it, and then, maybe, the courts will have to decide it.

WARTIK:I will repeat what I said earlier - and this is that I feel that what is proposed here is a clear evasion of our responsibility, since we have not yet established that we do not unanimously feel that he does not or does have good moral character - and it may be entirely unnecessary.

VANDERMEER:My proposal is in the form of a motion. Are we about to let it die for lack of a second?

SCANNELL:I’ll second it.

VANDERMEER:Now, if you wish, Tom [Dean Wartik], you might want to move that that motion be tabled or that a substitute be provided.

WARTIK:I feel I will allow the motion to be voted on.

VANDERMEER:Is there any discussion on the motion?

McCLAY:I’ll call for the question.

VANDERMEER:Question is called for.

Will those in favor of the motion as stated please raise their hands?



The vote on the motion is 3 to 3. I really don’t know what the parliamentary . . .

WARTIK:It dies.

VANDERMEER:We’re now open for a second motion.

SCANNELL:The next motion is - I move we deny him certification and follow the normal pattern in such cases, which would be . . . well, we’ll stop there.

McCLAY:I’ll second that.

VANDERMEER:Discussion on this motion?


VANDERMEER:Those in favor of the motion as stated please raise their hands. (VANDERMEER, SCANNELL, Mc CLAY)


Again, the vote is 3 - 3.

Is there an additional motion?

McCLAY:I would like to move that Dean VanderMeer transmit the application for teacher certification to the Departrnent of Education without attesting to the moral character statement, and including a letter of transmittal explaining that the University Teacher Certification Council was unable to come to agreement as to whether Mr. Acanfora has or does not have good moral character, according to the School Code, Section 1209.

VANDERMEER:Is there a second to that motion?

WARTIK:I’ll second it.

VANDERMEER:Seconded by Dean Wartik. Is there any discussion?

PAULSON:Would this include, then, some information in the letter of transmittal regarding the fact of the division within the UTCC?

VANDERMEER:I don’t know if that’s the intent of the motion or not.

McCLAY:My intent was not to say that so-and-so voted for it, and so-and-so voted against it, but that we just couldn’t reach a majority agreement. This is what . . .

SCANNELL:I would prefer that that be the interpretation also - since the document itself, if the case goes to court at some point, is a matter for subpoena.

WARTIK:Or, even if it goes to court, I don’t know that there is a need for secrecy in this matter, but is it implicit in your motion that there was a tie vote?

McCLAY:Well, I would like to change the motion to read “. . . could not reach a majority of consensus” or something like that.

WARTIK:Is that what you were asking . . . ?

PAULSON:Yes, that’s . . .my point is that, as it reads now, it sounds to me as if we simply withdrew from the idea of voting and making any recommendation on this. And it seems to me that it has more weight if it’s indicated that, in fact, there was discussion, there were differences of viewpoint among the members of the Council, which meant that they were unable to reach a majority vote.

McCLAY:My intent is that we could not reach a majority vote.

WARTIK:Then I would like the motion to so read.

VANDERMEER:Does the seconder accept that?

WARTIK:Could not reach a majority vote . . .What is wrong with saying it was a tie? Which, then, does what Stan [PAULSON], I think, is trying to accomplish. It indicates clearly that there actually was a vote on this; we did try to resolve this case. If not, then it would be total abdication of what we feel is . . . take as . . . our individual responsibility. We did come to grips with it, and we actually voted, and the vote resulted in a clear division.

McCLAY:Does that one part of the motion determine (or is it unfair to ask) as to whether you’re . . . whether it’s going to affect how you’d vote, Tom [WARTIK]?

WARTIK:Yes, it does. At least, that it was a tie vote - then, I would vote in favor of this motion.

WALTERS:Would it be possible not to vote on it at this point? We are going to be meeting at 2:15 this afternoon - is that correct? Could you get us a rough draft of this and bring it down at 1:30 - double-spaced. I think the editorial job on this is very important.

SCANNELL:You mean on the motion?

WALTERS:Yes. I’d like to see it.

PAULSON:What about a phrase like “The Council was evenly divided”?

WALTERS:I just hate to do this at this moment - even though I think we pretty much know.

McCLAY:Well, I would accept that.

VANDERMEER:I’m to call for a tabling of the motion for reconsideration at 1:30 this afternoon?

SCANNELL:Yes, a tabling of the motion until she can produce a rough draft of it which you can bring so we could edit it. Because I think what’s happening now is we’re getting hung-up on words rather than concepts. I think we have pretty good agreement on the concept we’re after, but we haven’t got agreement on the words.

VANDERMEER:Is the motion tabled, then?

SCANNELL:So moved.

_________ Second.

VANDERMEER:Those in favor? (UNANIMOUS) Is there a motion to adjourn?

________ One to recess!

Minutes of UTCC Meeting
July 10, 1972

The meeting reconvened at 1:45 in Room 404, Old Main, to consider a motion that had been formulated in rough draft and tabled at the previous meeting. All members were present. After some discussion of the unedited motion, Dean McClay presented his motion as follows:

I move that Dean VanderMeer transmit to the Department of Education the application for teacher certification submitted by Joseph Acanfora III without initialing the recommendation called for in Part B of the Form, and include a letter of transmittal explaining that the University Teacher Certification Council was evenly divided on whether it could assert that Mr. Acanfora has or does not have “good moral character”, according to the School Code, Section 1209.

The motion was seconded by Dean Wartik. The motion passed by a vote of 5-1, with VanderMeer voting against the motion.

After some discussion, there was an informal agreement to the effect that only the application and transmittal should be forwarded; that information that formed the basis for questioning the Acanfora recommendation would be made available after consultation with University counsel in the event that the Secretary of Education requests it.

The meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.