PENNSYLVANIA MIRROR

May 11, 1971

 

University reverses position

 

By KATHLEEN C. EWING

of The Mirror Staff

UNIVERSITY PARK -- A recently-chartered group of men and women seeking to end discrimination against homosexuals was the object of an unusual move by the Office of Student Affairs Monday.

            In what he admits is not a usual step, acting vice president of student affairs Raymond Murphy ruled that The Other Vision -- Homophiles of Penn State (HOPS) may not use university facilities. The ban reportedly extends to bulletin boards in the HUB where a HOPS display was torn down Monday morning before the organization was formally notified of the suspension of privileges.

Murphy said he had referred the question of the organizations legality to the legal counsel for the university and that the ban on the use of university facilities would be in effect until such time as a decision is reached.

“When legal review and final consideration (take place) we will notify them,” Murphy said. Admitting that the legal review of clubs chartered by the Undergraduate Student Government supreme court was not a normal procedure and has not been carried out before to the best of his knowledge, Murphy said that it “could be taken with other organizations, like one that purports to overthrow government.”

Members of HOPS at a Monday night press meeting in the Daily Collegian offices on campus said that Murphy had not satisfactorily explained the reasons for a “legal review” of their group. They claimed that Ben Novak, a lawyer hired by the university to represent student interests, had reviewed the HOPS constitution prior to the granting of a charter and had raised no legal objection to the charter. The charter was granted on April 21 and the letter informing HOPS of USG approval noted that: ‘With this charter, The Other Vision: Homophiles of Penn State may use the university’s name and facilities, subject at all times to the rules and regulations governing student organizations.”

HOPS vice president Diane M. Whitney said that Murphy had taken no action until Monday which coincided with HOPS efforts to publicize their organization.

The publicity efforts concerned speakers from other homophile organizations who are coming to Penn State under the “Colloquy 71” program.

HOPS officers claim membership of some 50 to 60 students. They said Monday they are “part of the Gay Liberation Movement, but independent” having no formal affiliations with other groups.

The organization grew out of a Free University discussion on the homosexual subculture. Although HOPS cannot meet officially on campus, members indicated that most of the group attended the Free University sessions which continue to be held.

Two members of the homophile organization will be heard tonight on Lion Light at 12-12:30 on WMAJ.

Homophile, according to members of HOPS, “refers to anyone, gay or straight, who advocates the end of discrimination against homosexuals.”