DAILY COLLEGIAN

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Out of court settlement reached

HOPS wins charter right

By JEFF DeBRAY

Collegian Staff Writer

 

The Homophiles of Penn State have won the right to be officially chartered as a University organization beginning this term as a result of an out-of-court settlement yesterday.

The settlement recognizes HOPS right to register as a campus organization under regular procedures outlined for all student groups.

As a chartered organization HOPS will be entitled to University appropriations with the amount “to be determined by pro-rating whatever amount HOPS would have received”, this year if an appropriate budget had been submitted.

The settlement, agreed upon by University lawyer Delbert McQuaide and HOPS’ lawyers Rick Isaacson and Lenny Sharon, stems from the HOPS suit filed against the University Feb. 15 last year after HOPS charter was officially suspended by Vice President for Student Affairs Raymond O. Murphy.

Murphy suspended the charter three weeks after it was approved by the Undergraduate Student Government pending an investigation of the  organization’s legality.

HOPS agreed to abide by all stipulations of its amended constitution.

One major change requested by the University in HOPS’ constitution provides that HOPS “will neither attempt to convert individuals nor advocate any particular sexual direction for those individuals stating they are confused or unsure of their sexual orientation.”

This amendment also states these individuals “will be referred to an accredited psychologist or psychiatrist.”

HOPS member Jim Guthrie (graduate - business administration) said “HOPS doesn’t agree to this in principle, but it doesn’t really change anything HOPS is trying to do.”

HOPS agreed to drop all charges against the defendants in the case, among them University President John W. Oswald, Murphy, William Fuller, then Associated Student Activities manager; M. Lee Upcraft; then dean of student affairs; the University Board of Trustees and then chairman of the Board Albert Shoemaker.

The settlement also states if either the Undergraduate Student Government or the Graduate Student Association, the groups delegated to approve student charters, do not approve HOPS’ registration, the University will use its “powers of revision” to approve HOPS as a campus organization.

HOPS’ lawyers also agreed to drop all charges asking for damages to the plaintiffs.

Issacson said this didn’t really matter because “it couldn’t have been proven very easily anyway.”

Commenting on the settlement, he said, “It. was a pretty good victory for us. This could have dragged on for another year.”

Guthrie said the settlement “does not solve the basic Constitutional rights of the case The University has tacitly admitted they were wrong and that HOPS should have been on campus all along.

Other HOPS’ members first reactions to the settlement was one of relief. Tony Silvestre said he was “happy that it is over so we can get down to furthering the aims of HOPS and stop these distractions.”

He added, “There was no reason for the delay and lot of people have been hurt by it.”

University graduate Joseph Acanfora, who was also a plaintiff in the suit and who now is involved legal proceedings against the Montgomery County School Board in Maryland, said he was “relieved it is finally settled.”

When contacted, Murphy said he hadn’t heard about the settlement and that he wanted to “read it and find out what it says before commenting on it.”