Sentence deferred for Glynne graffiti

UVM police identified and arrested the man behind the spray-painting in the Living and Learning complex that happened late last October in response to a SGA resolution regarding Red Cross blood donation and gay men.”Mike Glynne is a heterosexist shithead” read the graffiti. Charles “Andy” Black, 20, of Southboro, Massachusetts, a UVM junior, appeared in court on Dec. 3 to answer the charge of unlawful mischief resulting in more than $250 in damage, according to the official court affidavit. The misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and/or a $1,000 fine.Black was also cited in the affidavit to admitting to other acts of vandalism around campus, including those at the Davis Center and Patrick Gymnasium. Police identified Black with the aid of an unidentified L/L resident after Black had allegedly told her that he was responsible for the spray- painting on the wall of Building E. According to police, they were able to connect Black with the other acts around campus by his tag, “AWK”. When asked about the incident Black, who identifies as pan-sexual, responded that, “I consider myself a member of the LGBT community, and this was my personal response to Speaker Glynn’s vote on the resolution, I’m not a representative.”I was just speaking the straight truth – people can’t handle heterosexism being called out.”When asked to define “heterosexism” Black responded that “it’s more complex, it’s not just fear like homophobia, but similar, it’s a more academic term than homophobia, it’s really getting at the structural oppression of non-heterosexual people.”The vandalism was targeted towards SGA Speaker Mike Glynne, apparently in response to Speaker Glynn’s tiebreaking vote which defeated the Senate’s resolution condemning the Red Cross’ accordance with current Federal Drug Administration (FDA) prohibition on the donation of blood by men who have had sex with other men since 1977, and due to its discriminatory nature, wanted the Red Cross banned from campus. “The resolution wasn’t going through the right avenues,” Glynn said.”The Red Cross must follow the FDA guidelines for blood donation, otherwise they can’t collect blood. It’s not the Red Cross’ issue, it’s the FDA’s issue.”The resolution was amended 12, 13 times, and it wasn’t even read on the floor before the vote,” he said.Glynne also said that he was “accosted” by the sponsor of the resolution after the piece was defeated, telling him that he had “set back the gay community 10 years” and that “my gay brothers and sisters are crying tonight” because of him. Glynne said he was treat?ed unfairly by a majority of the gay community. “To be honest, The Cynic as well. It seemed I bore the brunt of this conflict, I mean, the headline read, ‘Glynn e votes No,’ people forget that 15 other members of the Senate also voted no,” Glynne said. There seemed to be a lot of hate directed at him from the gay community, Glynn said, but that he had a long discussion with Dot Brauer, LGBTQA Services Director regarding the issue. Glynn said that Brauer was one of the first members of the University to come out and speak on behalf of the resolution.”She was all in favor of the resolution, she thought of it as an effective example of political activism,” he said. After Glynn had been harassed by community members following his vote they “talked for two hours and she said she didn’t condone the actions of the community against me, but she could see where they were coming from.” Brauer was unavailable for comment at press time due to travel engagements. LGBTQA Services Education and Outreach Coordinator John Mejia was also unavailable for comment. Student reactions to the incident seem to indicate that this is still a highly-charged issue and that feelings haven’t diminished since the vote or the spray-painting. Hilary Kulakowski, a sophomore, thought the spray-painting was “very nasty and immature” but was “shocked that the resolution didn’t pass. “I thought the whole school was in favor of it,” she said. “Two other schools, San Diego State and American University, have already banned the Red Cross on-campus because of their policies,” Kulakowski said.”I thought they tested all the blood for disease anyway.” Gregory Sacca, UVM junior and member of the gay community, said “It’s not fair to fight fire with fire, although I can understand where they were coming from, after all, Mike Glynn was the tie-breaker.” “[The Red Cross] still treat us like another species, they don’t want our blood,” Sacca said. He said that although he could relate to the feelings of Black, he stated, “UVM students should be better than that, they should rise above it.” When asked about the Red Cross policy regarding donation, he said, “My brother donates all the time, he’s clean, he gets checked regularly, he just lies when they ask him. As long as you’re clean it doesn’t matter.” “I think he just wanted attention, either good or bad,” UVM sophomore Cassandra Clarkson said.”It was immature to spray-paint that, there are better outlets to express feelings.” “Perhaps sometime when the Red Cross is holding a blood drive on-campus, only members of the gay community should go.”I mean they always talk about a blood shortage, and there are plenty of gay people who want to donate, that would be a good demonstration,” Clakson said.[Editors note: Article amended on April 15, 2008]