Educational meeting crashed by HOPS




Collegian Staff Writers

About 20 members of the Homophiles of Penn State last night turned a meeting of the Penn State. Educational Association into a discussion of the teachers certification process.

Abram VanderMeer, dean of. the College of Education, was the target of the questioners who pressed for answers about Joseph Acanfora, whose morality is being ruled on by VanderMeer and the deans of five other colleges.

The committee has already met twice but failed to reach a. decision. Acanfora received a letter from VanderMeer after the second meeting requesting him to set a time that would be convenient for him to appear before the committee. Acanfora refused to appear unless the committee “defined morality” for him.

VanderMeer answered all questions on general principles of certification but declined to mention any specific cases, including Acanfora’s.

He also gave a functional definition of morality when pressed by the HOPS members: “Concern over morality arises when an individual’s observed behavior deviates markedly from, the norm?” He did not define norm.

The University does not issue any teachers certificates, VanderMeer explained, but merely makes a recommendation to the state. He said it would be “interesting to see if the certification would go through without the recommendation.”

The deans who were present at the meeting agreed the certification was not as important as the problems which would arise when Acanfora was seeking employment.

Gordon Godbey, associate dean for Continuing Education, said, “If the courts decide to issue a certificate, then he (Acanfora) must get a job. The situation is going to be more difficult with the public which is represented by the school board.”

Robert Lathrop, associate dean for Resident Instruction, added, “It is pointless to pursue this at the University, people are not ready to accept this (homosexuality).”

HOPS members accused the deans who were present of not offering to help Acanfora with his teachers certification problem especially since there was only 18 days until graduation.

Godbey said Acanfora had not sought any help or advice from him and “I wouldn’t even know if he is in this room, I’ve never even seen him.”

April Brightsen, student PSEA student president, was upset by the actions of the HOPS members in taking over the meeting and said, “It was very rude of them.” She added the meeting had not been called to “discuss only one issue.”

PSEA was also attacked by HOPS members for not backing Acanfora although he is in the College of Education.

Brightsen said Acanfora had never come to see her for help and “if he wants something done, he will come see the proper people.” She said she did not feel it was her duty to seek him out.