Ohio university cuts ties with Methodists over LGBTQ issues

BEREA, Ohio — The board of trustees for Baldwin Wallace University ended the schools formal ties with the United Methodist Church last week. According to a press release from the school, the board vote came in response to the conference decision in February to tighten church prohibitions on same-sex marriage and exclusion of LGBTQ people from clergy. The board also sought input from faculty, staff, students and alumni before today’s vote. “BW’s Methodist founders were committed to inclusion 174 years ago,” said Charles Rotuno, chair of the board of trustees. “While we value the relationship that we have had with the United Methodist Church, we’ve concluded that becoming an independent university will allow the BW community to continue to fully embrace and embody the values of diversity and inclusion today and always.”

A Methodist chapel will remain part of the campus and a Methodist minister will remain as chaplain.

Serenity Strategy Network survey aims to outline needs

EDWARDSVILLE — The Serenity Strategy Network is running a survey to find out the needs of college students. The data collected will be used to help build an app to guide students to get into college and to avoid debt. The Serenity Strategy Network’s long-term goal is to get more LGBT individuals into higher education and to make sure they have the support system to increase graduation rates and the skills to get a job after education has been achieved. Fill out the survey here.

Want to study medicinal cannabis? You can soon.

SKOKIE — Oakton Community College in Skokie announced this week that its board had authorized a medicinal cannabis program. Yes, for real. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
The program, approved Tuesday, will allow students to earn a certificate as a cannabis dispensary and patient care specialist, according to a statement from Oakton. The certificate program will be added to the school’s curriculum in the fall pending approval from the Illinois Community College Board. “This is timely and relevant,” said Ruth Williams, Oakton’s dean of curriculum and instruction.

Federal judge says Christian student group can bar gay student at Univ. of Iowa

IOWA CITY — A federal judge ruled that the University of Iowa can’t remove a Christian student group as a registered organization for barring a gay student from a leadership post. NBC OUT reported on Thursday about the ruling. The university has been fighting the group, Business Leaders in Christ (BLiC), since 2017. In December, the U.S. Justice Department filed a supportive interest for BLiC. From NBC OUT:

U.S. District Judge Stephanie M. Rose on Wednesday granted a permanent injunction banning the university from rejecting the status of the group, Business Leaders in Christ, The Des Moines Register reported.

LGBTQIA+ scholarship applications now being accepted at Western Illinois University

MACOMB — Applications are being accepted for the Western Illinois University 2019 Martin Dupuis/Mukti Fund Leadership Award in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Communities. The $1,400 award recognizes a student who has provided leadership either for a LGBTQIA+ group and/or in regards to LGBTQIA+ issues. Applicants who meet the leadership criteria must be undergraduate students who will return to WIU for the 2019-2020 academic year. To be considered for this award, students must complete an application, write a short essay, provide a resume and include two letters of reference. The recipient of the award will be selected by the University Committee on Sexual Orientation Gender Identity and Expression (UCOSOGIE).

U of I LGBT Resource Center to hold spring semester kickoff on Jan. 17

URBANA — The University of Illinois LGBT Resource Center will be hosting a kickoff for the semester at their offices on Jan. 17. From the Facebook event:
We know you’re wondering – so here it is – our Spring semester welcome celebration! This upcoming Thursday the 17th, please join us in the University of Illinois Women’s Resources Center starting at 6 PM for a full night of fun, fellowship, and (you guessed it) FOOD. Come celebrate your success of getting through the Fall semester, and start the Spring semester off with your UIUC LGBTQ family, because we’re looking forward to seeing you.

College reviewer publishes list of the most LGBTQ friendly colleges

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — College Consensus, a new college ratings website that aggregates publisher rankings and student reviews, has published their ranking of 25 LGBTQ Friendly Colleges for 2019 at https://www.collegeconsensus.com/rankings/best-lgbt-schools/. Colleges and universities have long been the place where young people find themselves and their people, developing into the people they will be through the rest of their life. That has, historically, been particularly true of LGBTQ youth, who could go from unsupportive homes and communities to find a place where they are accepted for who they are. Today, while society in general is more tolerant than in the past, college can still be a crucial place of safety and growth for LGBTQ young people, which is why College Consensus has published its ranking of 25 LGBTQ Friendly Colleges. By highlighting institutions that make inclusiveness an intentional aspect of their education and community, College Consensus encourages students to find the place they will feel welcome, and urges schools to consider their own policies and culture.

Illinois State Women’s and Gender Studies Symposium submissions due February 15

BLOOMINGTON — Undergraduate and graduate students from all areas of study are invited to submit papers and detailed descriptions of other types of presentations (e.g. short performance pieces and artist’s talks) for the 24th annual Women’s and Gender Studies Symposium. Papers and presentations are welcome on any topic related to the study of women and/or gender and its intersections with race, sexuality, ability, class/caste, and colonization. Students must have a faculty sponsor. Submissions should include a cover sheet with the following information:

Title of paper or presentation
Name, address, telephone number, and email address
Sponsoring faculty member and, if relevant, the course for which the paper or presentation was developed

The deadline for submissions is Friday, February 15. Submissions can be made here.