Solve your Google Problem with Creative Commons Content Licensing

What’s the problem/solution?

Everyone starting up a new website has a #GoogleProblem – you need your site to be seen and rank well in Google search through link-backs from reputable sources. Providing open access to your content (especially photos and video) through a simple Creative Commons license is a great way to gain valuable links for search engine optimization (SEO).

News reporters and bloggers need rich media and are often happy to use your open content if they are writing about your campaign or organization. The “cost” of using your content is free when they “pay” with a link back to your website. This helps build your standing in Google and build a positive relationship with media outlets for future work together.

photo by Seth Kaye courtesy of The Living Wage Campaign at UVA

Click here for Hi-Res original photo.

 Creative Commons License
This work by The Living Wage Campaign at The University of Virginia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

How do I use Creative Commons?

CreativeCommons.org has set up a wonderful licensing wizard with many options that are easily understood by every day people without a law degree. You can select how you want content users to cite your work – whether they can modify/remix/change your work, whether it can be used commercially, and whether you want derivative works to include the same open copyright license (sometimes called “copy-left”). The differences are explained in-depth here.

I typically prefer the most open license, attribution-only, which only requires users to cite the name and provide the needed link back to my website. The more restrictions you add, the less likely your work is to spread. For example, if you want news sites to link to your content (and you do!), you need to allow commercial use of your work.

The Creative Commons license wizard will give you the HTML code to add an icon and easily understandable explanation of the copyright license which you can simply pop into the footer of your website. I also recommend selecting Creative Commons options on Flikr and Youtube when you post content there.

Follow up

Don’t hesitate to email, tweet, or call reporters and bloggers who misuse your work! You would be surprised how generous people can be if you simply ask nicely – sometimes a reminder and a friendly ask is all you need, especially if they are writing in support of your efforts. If they aren’t so nice, study up on Creative Commons and copyright law on wikipedia. You too can pretend to be a lawyer with serious legalese like “fair use,” “commercial distribution and republication,” “acceptable content licensing” and “violation of the terms of our copyright agreement.”

My photo above of hunger striker and football player, Jospeh Williams, was used by Yahoo Sports and ESPN without attribution which made me sad. After one please-and-thank-you tweet, Yahoo added the link. ESPN tried to give me the run around, but after the reporter forwarded my lawyeriffic email to the boss, we got the link there too, no problem!

You are now well on your way to rule the Googles, share your story, and establish good relationships with media outlets. #SEO #FTW.

 

If you found this helpful, have additional insight, or used it in your activism or work, please tweet me @SethEKaye!

#UVAHungerStrike – Digital Work for Living Wage Campaign at UVA

#UVAHungerStrike!

This is epic. It’s Day 4 of the Living Wage Campaign at UVA’s hunger strike and I have never been a part of a more organized and disorganized campaign before. It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by all these folks who care – and an online world of supporters. There is way too much to keep track of: we’re not just a campaign, but a movement. The support we have from the student body, the Charlottesville community and around the country is quite staggering.

Doing our digital work has me #obsessed with metrics – Likes, Retweets, Klout, Google Analytics, Change.org signatures. Numbers are everywhere! And they are big and growing! 300 signatures in a few hours? Yes, plz. I’m so glad the things we write, tweet and post have meaning – they are not just floating out there in the #twittervoid – the world is watching! Or at least 1000 daily visitors.

I’ve never been more busy and more happy. Never been more excited for activism, not even for something gay, and that’s #craycray. I know this is what I want to do when I graduate, assuming they don’t kick us out! Now go sign and share!

www.LivingWageAtUVA.org

Change.org Petition

Best Practices for LGBT Demographic Survey Questions

The Diversity Council LGBT Subcommittee at the University of Virginia wanted to know if they should ask about LGBT status data, and how. I found the answer!

Linked below is the result of a significant amount of time in the #Clemonster brooding on how super structuralist and unqueer this memo is. Probably the biggest #GayNerdProblems I’ve had in a while, but I’m over it. If the administration is willing to act on the data and address concerns like climate improvement and domestic partner benefits, I can handle the structuralism bureaucracy and memorandize for them.

It’s 3 pages of super interesting reading! 5 total with the questions and appendix. At least you didn’t have to read the source material!

If you find the memo useful, please let me know! Thanks to Dr. Scout for the input!

UPDATE: The committee met and voted and changed the wording of the questions. I will edit and repost this with their changes at some point.

Download the PDF:

LGBT Survey Questions Memorandum

Creative Commons License
Best Practices for LGBT Demographic Survey Questions by Seth Kaye is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#DigitalStreetWorker: Coping Strategies

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on #cyberbullying, antigay hate, and the suicide of young LGBTQ teens. With the death of Jamey Rodemeyer, I really doubt that “It Gets Better.” I think we need a new approach.

Online youth researcher, danah boyd proposed the most promising prevention method I have seen back in 2008:

The most important thing that we need are digital street workers. When I was in college, college students volunteered as street workers to help teens who were on the street find resources and help. They directed them to psychologists, doctors, and social workers. We need a program like this for the digital streets. We need college-aged young adults to troll the digital world looking out for teens who are in trouble and helping them seek help. We need online counselors who can work with minors to address their behavioral issues without forcing the minor to contend with parents or bureaucracy. We need online social workers that can connect with kids and help them understand their options.

I got a chance to be a digital street worker today. (you have no idea how happy I am to be a legitimate street worker.) I noticed my friend Logan Hall tweeted something I thought sounded like he was upset and didn’t know how to deal with it, so I intervened:

I met Logan last year as a sophomore at Charlottesville High School when I was organizing the All Charlottesville Caring for Every Person Together (ACCEPT) vigil to bring attention to slew of  suicides of LGBTQ youth in Fall of  2010. Logan was lucky enough to have supportive parents who wanted to get involved in the vigil effort. I helped Logan prepare his story of bullying in school, and he turned out to be one of the best speakers at the vigil. So I when I saw his tweet this morning, I thought despite how far he had come, he might still be struggling.

I can’t imagine anyone online trolled harder than Chris Crocker. (save perhaps the soulless ginger). The love-him-hate-her legend launched one of the internet’s first and largest viral hits, LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE! which itself addressed intense criticism of Britney Spears for her lackluster 2007 VMA performance. On his Youtube channel, he constantly addresses his haters. He shows the depths and explicit nature in his “It Gets Better” video and when he explains his experience in school. Grown up Crocker offers some common sense advice, but I think not nearly as practical as his younger self.

The overtly intellectual models proposed by many of the “It Gets Better” videos and other anti-bullying efforts don’t give concrete, actionable strategies usable by teens. They shouldn’t have to “implement” or “execute” a complex series of steps, or do any thinking – they should have an instant reaction of what to do, it should be natural, and ingrained. Telling kids “just don’t let it bother you” or “stand up to the bullies” doesn’t explicitly lay out what to do when confronted with a bully. These messages aren’t reaching them where they are. danah boyd’s research method of ethnogoraphy – hanging out with youth online in their spaces – often found that she would have to use the slang and language of teens to relate to them and understand the intricacies of what was going on with them.

I think this is why Chris Crocker is so effective. If any other teen had faced the intensity of media attention and barrage of thousands of hateful comments he received and continues to endure, I don’t think they would have made it. But Crocker invented his own coping strategies and thrived in his on way. It’s a hairflip! He starts off excitedly introducing himself as part of the teen’s culture – “Ladiez! Wut up ladiez! We got ladies problems goin on in here.” #itschriscrocker, so he is immediately in with the struggling young gay teen because he is right there with you, the strugglingest, gayest, femmiest teen out there! “You know, if it ain’t no thing, it’s a hairflip! It’s whatever. It’s a hairflip!” He’s just like me and he’s hilarious and cool! “Just know that it’s going to be cool as soon as you flip that hair! And you flip it! It’s like therapy.” Learning? I’m just doin my thing! I believe we need this kind of social learning rather than explicit education and intellectual adult-like messaging. “I flipped my hair and I moved on.” An immediate coping strategy, easily remembered, and easily shared with friends through its fun-loving meme quality – It’s a hairflip! It’s quick and fun and teens know what to do when faced with a situation that seems difficult – “you flip your hair until that bitch is gone outta yo mind and you cool again.”

I knew Logan would relate, and he did! I think it was particularly effective and well received because we are all in this #homoclub together, no girls allowed – we have a certain kinship in our gayness. Because I’m such a talented digital street worker I got Logan the right attention he needed at that moment, he knows I’m out there thinking about him, and is now prepared to deal with issues in the future. #ItsAHairFlip! I think it would be wise for schools to follow danah boyd’s advice to organize and train volunteers of college age kids, especially LGBTQ college students, to mentor and live among teens to share their wisdom and coolness, the closer their identity and connection to the youth, the better. If not formally organized, you, dear reader, follow my example and befriend and follow the teens you know online and reach out  to them when you notice a cry for help. Now do it with me ladiez:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHAIVXIjRmw]

Student Self Governenance Scandal – UJC and Honor Mess With Cavalier Daily

Jason has been exonerated!

The UJC has ruled it does not have jurisdiction to hear the case about breach of confidentiality of an ongoing Honor case against Jason Ally, Editor-In-Chief of the Cavalier Daily. Now I am free to regain my name! I posted the following comment here which I now feel free to publicly identify with, and that’s exciting because most comments never get rated so high (and so low) as this one. #freespeech.

Nameless says:
September 27, 2011 at 5:20 am

I always sign my name when commenting here, except now I won’t. I can’t. I would not want to be guilty of interfering with an Honor trial.

Ms. McKenzie, you have stifled my speech, stolen my voice, and cheated the student body of its right to free discourse. Congratulations, you have successfully destroyed the Community of Trust. I don’t trust you. Nor the “Honor” system.

Ms. Marchetti, you are equally to blame in even considering hearing this outrageous “case,” when the UJC Constitution explicitly states you cannot hear such a case on journalistic/editorial grounds. We must have a free press. Nothing that has been said in the CD risks the integrity of these supposed justice systems more than hearing the truth of these organizations’ actions.

What pisses me off more than the farce of the sanctity of “Student Self Governance” is that you are risking the livelihood of Mr. Ally – this petty scuffle could seriously damage his career and life. I have no faith that the systems as they stand, especially under current leadership, would give him a “fair” trial nor that a jury of his peers will find him not guilty of a significant offense.

Furthermore, if you can arbitrarily drop charges against the other four CD editors, you must realize that you are acting outside of any code of justice. This must be an all-or-nothing decision or you are clearly targeting Mr. Ally personally. Such apparent discrimination, maliciously intended or carelessly enacted, is further evidence of how little judgement these large and powerful organizations possess.

Whatever Honor or UJC’s intentions or rules – the appearance of justice is often more important than justice itself. And right now whatever justice you think you might gain from prosecuting or hearing the case against Mr. Ally (or any of the editors), has cost the community much more throughout this whole charade.

Stop this nonsense right now: Resign. Both of you, Ms. McKenzie and Ms. Marchetti.

Most certainly this is just a first step – these organizations need to be restructured and some other checks need to be put in place to save students from the gross power wielded by incompetent fools. It really scares me that such people have the power to terminate a student’s education. The Deans in their wisdom, I’m sure are letting the students work this out for themselves – but if they had the sense to figure this out, they wouldn’t have gotten themselves in this predicament in the first place.

Do the right thing and drop all these ridiculous charges, remove yourselves from these organizations and let the community begin to formulate how to respond to such egregious violations of our trust.

Report this comment

High-rated – Agree/Disagree: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 14

Responding to my h8ers re: 9-11 Inclusion article

Overall and line-by-line response to the h8ers in the CD comments on my 9-11 Inclusion piece.

Oops. Comparing pain.

I should not have said Muslims were “the part of our community most severely impacted by Sept 11,” I should have said “a part.” My point was not intended to compare traumas nor to offend anyone by claiming a superlative on pain. My point was to address the suffering Middle Eastern communities have faced since 9/11, which I felt went unspoken at the 9/11 events. The point was to emphasize the effects of violence/prejudice/racism from anti-Muslim sentiments – not to say that these problems are worse than the suffering of the people who lost family and friends that day. These problems are large, not larger than others. I’m sorry that my writing was not clear. I think this line in particular pissed off a lot of people and really distracted them from my intended message. Their thoughts are clearly blinded by anger and I don’t think my message was received by many. I wonder if they would have actually considered my point had this line been different. This really bothers me as a writer; I really should have edited more carefully.

On the issue of unity.

I don’t see how the event planners can claim unity when so many students did not feel included, hence my article. Planning an event “for everyone” “as a whole” necessarily elides difference. “Unity” is achieved by appealing to the least common denominator, which is to say, the dominant culture. In this case, White Amurika. By claiming the event was for the “entire student body,” any non-normative identity or perspective gets homogenized away and erased. Some call this whitewashing. “Unity” is a great excuse to prevent critical thinking. Even if we did achieve “unity,” what for if nothing changes?

What remembrance events should be about.

The goal of the 9-11 event absolutely should have been to discuss and repair divisions among us; this is a university whose goal is educating the nations’ citizenry. Remembrance, Togetherness, Unity etc. are useless. Mourning and grieving are equally useless– the victims are dead and we can’t bring them back. Sorry if that’s callous, but the truth hurts, and wallowing in grief won’t help anyone, dead or alive. I personally have no time for grief. What we need now is a way to move forward to lessen the tensions that caused the violence in the first place. Honoring a memory must be active or it is in vain. Somber reflection means nothing if it doesn’t change our future behavior and actions. The goal of remembrance activities should not be to make us feel warm, fuzzy, and united. Remembrance events should address the issues that brought us to this point and repair the damage that has been done to prevent similar violence from ever happening again.

Names!

Have the courage to sign your real name and leave an email address. If you don’t believe what you are saying enough to claim your own words, how can I give you any credibility, and how could I respond?

Bemoaning multicultural issues.

This is such a privileged thing to say, it’s disgusting. We “multicultural” folks wouldn’t have to “bemoan” any “issues” if the dominant culture accepted us and included us respectfully. And using the word “bemoan” seeks to belittle the human claim we are making, so shove it, and listen up.

Line-by-line.

Annoyed and Offended

Mr. Kaye, it seems that you missed the whole point of the 9/11 remembrance event.

No, I got the point they were presenting, and I was disgusted.

This was not an event designed to discuss the divisions among us or to bemoan multicultural issues in America.

It absolutely should have discussed our divisions – how else can we repair them? Lighting candles? And I resent your use of the word “bemoan.”

Rather, students put this event together as a means of uniting the student body- as a whole- in mourning a tremendous loss and in pondering the lessons learned.

I don’t think much pondering or lesson learning happens when none of the events are actually about learning, dialoguing, discussing, or hearing another point of view.

These students made a valiant effort to look beyond political schisms and disagreements so that they could pay tribute.

Yes the dominant culture is so valiant, it leaps over anything that gets in its way or might be difficult, and wastes its time paying tribute to itself instead of trying to fix any problems. Smart.

This was not, nor should it have been, about building up the barriers between us and engaging in heated rhetoric.

Nobody is advocating more barriers be set up – but the planning of these events certainly pointed out where the barriers do exist. Dialogue is best when calm and recognizing the human claim of the other person.

Sure, our society has shown prejudice against Muslims. Sure, this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Yes. And the University’s response should have done so.

That being said, taking away the power and unity of the 9/11 events

They never were powerful for me and those who felt excluded.

which did in fact include Muslim perspectives,

This is simply not true. I wouldn’t have written the article if Muslim perspectives had been explicitly included.

“in order to service a political agenda”

I certainly have many agendas, and won’t apologize for them, nor take the blame for being ‘exploitive,’ but this article is not about politicking. It’s about respecting minority people enough to include them in decision making processes.

is frankly offensive to all individuals who lost loved ones and others in the midst of the terrorist attacks.

See my first point about comparing loss, “Oops.”

Why strip the band-aids from these wounds to the American spirit when they have not yet healed?

I think you missed the entire point of my article – the divides and tensions are high which you note as well; wounds have not healed – which is exactly why we need to address them in an academic setting. Furthermore, I do not like the ‘American spirit’ as presented– it removes our unique perspectives and is generally a hegemonic force, which I find harmful.

Your piece makes it clear that you value the Muslim population highly, and for that you deserve to be commended- but not too highly.

Thanks?

In fact, in making broad statements and judgments in which you claim that Muslims in general were, as a blanket statement, more affected than the countless students, faculty members, administrators and the like who suffered human losses, you discredit your stance and come across as exploitative.

Ugh. Didn’t mean to. See first point above.

To level accusations of prejudice and exploitation against a large portion of the student body in order to service an activist agenda and personal political feelings represents rank hypocrisy of the highest order.

I never said student leaders here are prejudiced. I said that they don’t think.

This article exploits a tragic event with sweeping repercussions in an attempt to turn us towards a more divisive, cynical worldview, and in order to promote a cause that does little to console those who are mourning and remembering in this stormy climate.

I’m not sure what my activist or political agenda is that keeps getting mentioned beyond include minorities in decision making and respect their point of view. I do have a cynical worldview. Until the world, and dominant culture, are inclusive and respectful of everyone, I’ll be a cynic. I’m very distrustful when I see the huge institutional organizations get together. Why? Because they keep making decisions that harm or exclude minority students, and this is just one example. I hate mourning, and that is not what I want out of a 9-11 event. I guess you do. Wouldn’t it be nice if both of our needs were addressed with adequate programming?

Mr. Kaye, I applaud you for exercising your freedom of speech, and for putting forth your contentious opinions in undeniably important topics. However, I, and I do not feel that I am alone on this, would advise you not to exploit the pain of others, to make sweeping statements, or to enflame readers with your fiery and radical language through this medium.

What is so fiery, inflammatory, and radical about asking people to include those not at the table? This should be common courtesy. I believe your anger stems from me accidentally comparing pain. Again, sorry. If you think this piece is radical, we have bigger problems, so it’s no wonder I’m a cynic when facing this kind of cultural reaction.

This article seems almost designed not to appeal to anyone at the University, since you take on the issues in such an uncomfortable and hypocritical manner, and with such a harsh, condescending, and preachy style.

If it’s uncomfortable I’m doing my job – you only learn when you stretch yourself. Hypocritical? How so? Harsh, condescending, preachy? Probably… And you are too.

While your support of unabashed affirmative action and polarizing activism may find some supporters at this University, the rest of your content here will push even them away.

Whoah. Where did this come from? I never once talk about affirmative action. And again, I don’t think asking for more voices to be included in the planning of university wide events could be considered polarizing activism.

I recommend that pieces like this not be put forth to the public in the future. While I value the free expression of opinions, articles of this sort cast a negative light on the Cavalier Daily, and, by extension, on the University community. Why publish a piece that seems, by design, to offend, to exploit, and to irritate?

People always claim the CD shouldn’t print things they disagree with. I’ve said so about Ginny Robinson’s trashy pieces about gender. But this piece was not intended to offend, exploit, nor irritate. I feel like it was my failing as a writer and lost you at the top with the unintended comparison of harms.

Never Forget 9/11

This comment is intended for Seth Kaye’s “Trick Candles”- comments are closed for that article. Seth Kaye must have an incredibly inflated ego.

Yup. I sure do have a big one. Here we go! It’s interesting that this comment is on an article about the Student Alliance for Sexual Healing (SASH) where I am not quoted, clearly I’m so important that they know where to find me because I was quoted in previous articles about SASH.

There would be no other reason that he would think people want to read his completely unsubstantiated and disgustingly insensitive opinion. 1. “I looked through the proposed schedule of ribbons, flags, vigil, speeches and barbeque and thought I was reading events for July 4.” The tragedy and remembrance of September 11 is hardly an occasion for sarcastic humor. I guess you thought you were being cute. You are not.

Wasn’t trying to be sarcastic or cute, just expressing my distaste. I chose the July 4th metaphor because it is one of our most extreme days of nationalism, and that’s what I thought of when I saw the planned events – a chance to celebrate Amurika in all its arrogance and ignorance.

2. Somehow the “hordes of superb students” planning the University-wide Sept. 11 events left out the part of our community most severely impacted by Sept. 11. And who is that? Seth Kaye is either incredibly naive or despicably insensitive. There is not one “group” that can claim to be most severely impacted by September 11. September 11 affected everyone. And who are you, Seth Kaye, to tell anyone that they weren’t severely impacted by September 11. I think that the people who lost loved ones, were very severely impacted by Sept. 11. I find it offensive that you attempt to diminish the loss and the tragedy felt by others in the community.

Ugh. This was not what I was trying to sayyyyy. Really annoyed with myself for confusing you.

I have many Muslim friends. I realize that Sept. 11 affected them in many ways, but they have never insinuated that their pains were any greater than mine. I think that they would also agree that the remembrance of September 11 should not center around their trials, but should center on the lives of those lost. I think Student Council handled the remembrance events well.

Never preface any comments with “I have [X] friends” – you sound like an asshole. Even if I accidentally compared pains, I never asked for Muslims to be the center of attention – just included.

3. “It appeared pretty obvious to me that minority student organizations were not consulted originally in the planning for these Sept. 11 events.” I know it is a student newspaper and that the guidelines are not as strict as they would be for a real newspaper, but why do the editors let such suppositions come into print. The editor should have made this young man provide more evidence than that it “appears pretty obvious to him.” I really can’t be sure from reading this poorly written opinion whether or not minorities were consulted or whether or not Student Council was in communication with more minority groups or what the rationale was for the events schedules. I would think an opinion like this requires a source, a quote or something that would give the appearance that this author did not just decide 10 minutes ago to put all his uterations down on paper. It seems this response belongs in the comments section where sources and references and research are not required.

My facts are correct. I decided not to get into too much detail in the article because the point was not to blame individual student leaders (UPC), but to critique the culture – I didn’t want to air too much dirty laundry, but since you asked… As a member of the Representative Body of Student Council, I received an email from the Student Council members who were planning the 9-11 events with their proposed schedule, which I mentioned. I was skeptical and looked to see if the Minority Rights Coalition, Muslim Student Association, or Middle Eastern Leadership Council were included, and they weren’t. So I asked that they be included. They weren’t contacted until a few days later which I know because I was shown an email of the initial contact as well as forwarded a message that went out to many of the planning committee by the Arab Student Organization with many of the exact concerns I had – Muslim/Middle Eastern/Arab leaders weren’t consulted until the last minute and had only been working on the interfaith dialogue event for a week, and it was advertized before it was planned. The Diversity Initiatives panel discussion took even longer to plan and we didn’t get it on the schedule.

Finally, it seems to me this article is not about September 11 or about including more minorities into events at all. It seems to me that it is about Seth Kaye and his beef with Student Council.

There are a lot of things I would change about Council, that’s for sure. Entire cows worth of beef. But the article is not about Studco, it’s about our rude unthinking culture. And you write as if I’m just complaining from the outside, but I’m on Council – that’s how I have all this inside knowledge about how poorly Studco functions in our culture. I hope we can do better in the future.

Annoyed and Offended says:

September 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Mr. Kaye, it seems that you missed the whole point of the 9/11 remembrance event. This was not an event designed to discuss the divisions among us or to bemoan multicultural issues in America. Rather, students put this event together as a means of uniting the student body- as a whole- in mourning a tremendous loss and in pondering the lessons learned. These students made a valiant effort to look beyond political schisms and disagreements so that they could pay tribute. This was not, nor should it have been, about building up the barriers between us and engaging in heated rhetoric. Sure, our society has shown prejudice against Muslims. Sure, this is a problem that needs to be addressed. That being said, taking away the power and unity of the 9/11 events, which did in fact include Muslim perspectives, in order to service a political agenda is frankly offensive to all individuals who lost loved ones and others in the midst of the terrorist attacks. Why strip the band-aids from these wounds to the American spirit when they have not yet healed?

Your piece makes it clear that you value the Muslim population highly, and for that you deserve to be commended- but not too highly. In fact, in making broad statements and judgments in which you claim that Muslims in general were, as a blanket statement, more affected than the countless students, faculty members, administrators and the like who suffered human losses, you discredit your stance and come across as exploitative. To level accusations of prejudice and exploitation against a large portion of the student body in order to service an activist agenda and personal political feelings represents rank hypocrisy of the highest order. This article exploits a tragic event with sweeping repercussions in an attempt to turn us towards a more divisive, cynical worldview, and in order to promote a cause that does little to console those who are mourning and remembering in this stormy climate.

Mr. Kaye, I applaud you for exercising your freedom of speech, and for putting forth your contentious opinions in undeniably important topics. However, I, and I do not feel that I am alone on this, would advise you not to exploit the pain of others, to make sweeping statements, or to enflame readers with your fiery and radical language through this medium. This article seems almost designed not to appeal to anyone at the University, since you take on the issues in such an uncomfortable and hypocritical manner, and with such a harsh, condescending, and preachy style. While your support of unabashed affirmative action and polarizing activism may find some supporters at this University, the rest of your content here will push even them away.

I recommend that pieces like this not be put forth to the public in the future. While I value the free expression of opinions, articles of this sort cast a negative light on the Cavalier Daily, and, by extension, on the University community. Why publish a piece that seems, by design, to offend, to exploit, and to irritate?

Never Forget 9/11 says:

September 17, 2011 at 6:33 pm

This comment is intended for Seth Kaye’s “Trick Candles”- comments are closed for that article.

Seth Kaye must have an incredibly inflated ego.

There would be no other reason that he would think people want to read his completely unsubstantiated and disgustingly insensitive opinion.

1. “I looked through the proposed schedule of ribbons, flags, vigil, speeches and barbeque and thought I was reading events for July 4.”

The tragedy and remembrance of September 11 is hardly an occasion for sarcastic humor. I guess you thought you were being cute. You are not.

2. Somehow the “hordes of superb students” planning the University-wide Sept. 11 events left out the part of our community most severely impacted by Sept. 11.

And who is that? Seth Kaye is either incredibly naive or despicably insensitive. There is not one “group” that can claim to be most severely impacted by September 11. September 11 affected everyone. And who are you, Seth Kaye, to tell anyone that they weren’t severely impacted by September 11. I think that the people who lost loved ones, were very severely impacted by Sept. 11. I find it offensive that you attempt to diminish the loss and the tragedy felt by others in the community.

I have many Muslim friends. I realize that Sept. 11 affected them in many ways, but they have never insinuated that their pains were any greater than mine. I think that they would also agree that the remembrance of September 11 should not center around their trials, but should center on the lives of those lost. I think Student Council handled the remembrance events well.

3. “It appeared pretty obvious to me that minority student organizations were not consulted originally in the planning for these Sept. 11 events.”

I know it is a student newspaper and that the guidelines are not as strict as they would be for a real newspaper, but why do the editors let such suppositions come into print. The editor should have made this young man provide more evidence than that it “appears pretty obvious to him.” I really can’t be sure from reading this poorly written opinion whether or not minorities were consulted or whether or not Student Council was in communication with more minority groups or what the rationale was for the events schedules. I would think an opinion like this requires a source, a quote or something that would give the appearance that this author did not just decide 10 minutes ago to put all his uterations down on paper. It seems this response belongs in the comments section where sources and references and research are not required.

Finally, it seems to me this article is not about September 11 or about including more minorities into events at all. It seems to me that it is about Seth Kaye and his beef with Student Council.

Billy says:

September 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

“somehow the “hordes of superb students” planning the University-wide Sept. 11 events left out the part of our community most severely impacted by Sept. 11.”

This is really an offensive and stupid comment. Tell this to any person who lost a father, mother, spouse, or any loved one in the tragedy and they would punch you in the face.

Brought To You Courtesy of the Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)

This piece was published in the September 14th edition of The Cavalier Daily under the unfortunate title “Trick Candles” with a few unapproved edits removing some of my tone. I was titled a fourth year Engineering student which is no longer true as of this school year. I will post a link to the article when the Cavalier Daily website comes back online. update: the CD website is back.

I helped plan a panel discussion with The Diversity Initiatives Committee of Student Council - How Can You Say I’m Not American?: Islamophobia and Patriotism in a Post 9-11 World. The panel will be held in Nau 101 at 6:30pm on Sept 15th. Invite your friends to the Facebook Event.

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“Brought to You Courtesy of the Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)”

In a 2002 speech about the Iraq war, then Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld infamously said “There are ‘known unknowns’ and there are ‘unknown unknowns’” – the things we can find out and the things we aren’t even remotely aware exist. Unfortunately I believe minority student populations often fall into the latter category – their needs are overlooked, not out of malice, but sheer lack of thought.

In his recent article “Hoos Included?” Evan Shields, chair of the Minority Rights Coalition, called for “inclusion” – ensuring that all viewpoints are represented when making decisions. In a responding guest viewpoint, Conor Sheehy expressed concern that the idea of ‘inclusion’ would reduce students’ viewpoints solely into stereotyped personal categories.  I do not believe this is the case. If we don’t value inclusion, we run the risk of minority voices being lost completely, which is more harmful than potential tokenization.

While no one should be valued solely for, or reduced to the categories they may fit into, it is very important that each group have accurate representation so we don’t end up in situations where groups can be ignored. Surely I am more than a gay/white/middle-class/Jewish/male voice, but I am more than happy to fill in those points of view lest they be overlooked. I would gladly have check-box representation occur – at least multiple points of view are on the radar – rather than I be excluded or not thought of until true inclusion becomes the norm. The more we learn about other cultures that are not our own, the more inclusive we become, the less likely we are to forget about or tokenize others. Diversity certainly means more than boxes to be checked, but still somehow “hordes of superb students” planning the University wide 9-11 events left out the part of our community most severely impacted by 9-11.

The planning of the University wide 9-11 remembrance events has made clear how important inclusion is on the University community level. I first heard about the 9-11 planning early in the morning of August 30th through Student Council letting the Representative Body know that a meeting of many major groups had occurred. Noting who attended that meeting (and who didn’t), I was skeptical (UPC, StudCo, Trustees, TYC, SYC, ROTC, IFC, ISC, NPHC, MGC, and Jefferson Society). I looked over the proposed schedule of ribbons, flags, vigil, speeches, and barbeque and thought I was reading events for July 4th. I checked again, and nope, there was no mention of a community forum, academic panel discussion or mention of the Muslim student’s perspective. It appeared pretty obvious to me that minority student organizations were not originally consulted in the planning for these 9-11 events.

On the 10th anniversary of 9-11, inclusion of those from Middle Eastern backgrounds should have been at the top of everyone’s mind in order to heal some of the harms done in the past decade. Given the amount of news reporting on violence and racial profiling of anyone who looks Middle Eastern (brown skin? turban? suspicious.), rise of Islamophobia, ludicrous controversy over the “Ground Zero” mosque and Koran burning, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (prompted largely by 9-11), and Osama death parties, you would think that student leaders would be aware of these salient issues affecting the Muslim and Arab communities. Apparently not.

I am very glad that the interfaith dialogue hosted by Sustained Dialogue on September 12th provided meaningful discussion for many students to breakdown stereotypes about those perceived to be of Middle Eastern backgrounds. It was a great success despite the fact that the Middle Eastern leadership was only given a week to plan the event. It was not until the Sunday before 9-11 that the Muslim Student Association or the Middle Eastern Leadership Council were contacted to work on an event. For a community so deeply affected by 9-11, it’s shameful that their input was a very late afterthought.

I can only hope that in future endeavors we can cast a little light on the “unknown unknowns” and ensure that all are heard. Had our larger organizations been more inclusive taking Mr. Shields’ advice by “simply asking, ‘What voices are not being represented, or accounted for here?’” we might not be in such a position.

Seth Kaye is a 4th year Computer Science student.

Tim Kaine Evolves on ENDA

This post originally appeared on the blog for the student club I lead, Queer & Allied Activism.

Former VA Gov. and DNC chairman, Tim Kaine, and Brian Moran, current VA Democratic Party chairman, came to speak to the University Democrats (UDems) this morning in Garden I. Kaine is campaigning to replace Democrat, Jim Webb as a Virginia Senator in 2012.

Kaine mentioned in his talk that he wanted to keep Virginia competitive and attract the best talent from out of state, so naturally I asked him about Cuccinelli’s March 2010 opinion (see some of our coverage here, here, and here), and support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would provide LGBTQ employees protection from being fired for being who they are. Versions of ENDA have stagnated in Congress since 1994.

We, Democrats, have to fight for the Jeffersonian notion that everybody is equal. […] At the federal level we can do more. […] Trying to make sure we pass ENDA, the [Employment] Non-Discrimination Act, those are things I would love to work on federally.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear such a positive answer; I suppose Mr. Jefferson’s gardens tend to be an ingratiating environment. However, we must realize “I would love to work on” is a phrase used when discussing topics like my stack of reading and job applications for this semester – we’ll see what actually gets done when it happens. “Would love to work on” is not “I will cosponsor” or “I will get off the sidelines and champion.” (Kaine borrowed Sen. Gillibrand’s slogan at one point.) A good sign for sure, but it reminds me of another politician whose views are “evolving” at a frustratingly slow pace. #evolvealready.

It seems Kaine’s rhetoric has evolved somewhat since 2006 when he came out against the anti-gay Marshall-Newman marriage amendment to the Virginia Constitution, while at the same time supporting marriage between “one man and one woman” – this position presumably has not changed. He recently reversed a 2005 position and now believes “gay individuals should be able to adopt.” The DNC also put out this lovely fluff video in which he does not mention marriage at all. In the seconds preceding my video below, Kaine touts his gubernatorial Executive Order prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation for Commonwealth employees. However, that “protection” seems to have had no teeth for Michael Moore.

Kaine’s comments come at a pivotal time for the University with the arrival of many top ranking leaders including President Teresa Sullivan, Provost John Simon, Chief Operating Officer Michael Strine, and new members on the Board of Visitors. Faculty and staff are hopeful these new leaders will finally implement non-discrimination protections and provide health benefits to “Other Qualified Adults.” In an interview for part one of a wonderful series by The Cavalier Daily, Chief Human Resources Officer Susan Carkeek backs up Kaine’s comments:

Not being able to offer benefits to domestic partners makes the U.Va. benefits package less competitive than that of other universities we compete with for the best faculty and staff.

Both the University and the Commonwealth’s continued economic growth and success are hindered by the General Assembly, Congress, and Cuccinelli’s resistance to equal protection and benefit measures. With the formation of an LGBT subcomittee of the Diversity Council, we can hope that it will get better here at UVA, but just as with Kaine’s support for ENDA, until healthcare benefits are offered and non-discrimination is enforced nationally, we will continue to monitor the evolution of these issues and push all these officials to do the right thing.

Watch the video here: