Guilty only of honesty
By ANDY BEIERLE
Collegian Managing Editor
Joe Acanfora is on trial for his life.
Having been charged with the “crime” of being a homosexual, a judgment will be made on his morality that will affect him for the rest of his life, no matter what the decision is.
But Acanfora’s only crime is his honesty. He has admitted what so many others have been less honest about, and he is being judged for this, not for his homosexuality.
In Acanfora’s own words, taken from the transcript of the University Teacher Certification Council hearing of July 10, “I am sure that there are many, many homosexual teachers represented on every faculty in every school across this country. I know for a fact that this University, every term certifies homosexuals, that homosexuals are on many school faculties.
It is true, the University does certify homosexuals. The proof is statistically validated. Yet because Acanfora was honest enough to admit his homosexuality -- not for personal notoriety, but in an attempt to end discrimination -- his morality has been questioned and he has undergone cruel and unnecessary treatment by this University.
The July 10 hearing is a case in point. At that hearing, Acanfora was subjected to questioning that bordered on personal abuse and had no relevance whatsoever to his teaching abilities.
Questions from Dean Abram W. VanderMeer of the College of Education included:
—“What homosexual acts do you prefer to engage in or are you willing to engage in?”
—“Do you look for other males with which to have sex?”
—“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?”
—“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.”
It seems that for much of the hearing VanderMeer questioned the private sexual character, which -- for what ever sad and ludicrous reasons -- was being deliberated upon by the council.
Or it might be wise to remind VanderMeer and those other deans that would be interested that the laws concerning oral and anal intercourse, often regarded as “homosexual,” apply to heterosexuals as well. It might be well to point out that Pennsylvania law provides a fine of up to $100 for fornication. And if VanderMeer is so interested in the letter of the law, as some of this questioning indicates, then it would to well to take notice of the laws concerning general lewdness and obscenity -- if anything was obscene the questioning at the hearing -- indeed the hearing itself -- was obscene.
But Acanfora weathered the questions well, maintaining a level-headed attitude that cannot even be compared to the hand-wringing, lip-licking questions put to him.
Instead of setting a precedent by approving Acanfora for certification without Nurenburgesque questioning, the University has taken a big step backward with its witch hunt, Spanish Inquisition tactics.
Deans Paulson, Walters and Wartik should be commended for their votes against denying Acanfora certification. But VanderMeer, Scannell and McClay should be chastised for their Ivory Tower thinking and should be made to feel uncomfortable with their “keep-the-nigger-in-the-back-seat” attitude that has destroyed the Constitutional liberties embodied in the long-lost American Dream.
An honest man is hard to find, and when they are treated to the abuse Acanfora has received, it’s no wonder why.
Acanfora, branded “morally questionable” because he was honest enough to admit his homosexuality -- a sexual orientation sometimes considered effeminate and unmanly -- has proven himself to be more of a man than several of those-who sat in judgment of him