William Courson 0

Petition for the Termination of the Daily Targum's Editorial Staff

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A PETITION TO THE TARGUM PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC. AND TO THE TRUSTEES AND OFFICERS OF RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERITY OF NEW JERSEY: The Daily Targum is a student-written and student-managed, non-profit incorporated newspaper published by the Targum Publishing Company, with a circulation of 17,000 and which is associated with Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Founded in 1869, The Daily Targum is the second oldest and among the largest college newspapers in the nation. On October 5, 2010, in the wake of the bullying-provoked suicide of gay Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi, an editorial appeared in the foregoing which read, in part: "... The mistake was that Clementi's death should not have been turned into a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender protest for gay rights and safe spaces at the University ... Essentially, an angry mob fending for their rights turned the death of a young boy into a cause for "safe spaces" for gays across the University - all the while, these spaces already existed." The editorial article was one of the most shockingly homophobic student pieces that has appeared in any collegiate newspaper in recent memory, and is nothing other than a thinly-veiled endorsement of homophobic violence. Perhaps presciently, no authorship is attrributed to the article apart from simply, "The Daily Targum," presumably written as a collaborative effort of the student editors at the Daily Targum. The editorial goes on to state: "people's relentless agendas took his death and turned it into a cause based on false pretenses." The authors expressly felt that the people who laid outside Rutgers' student center in order to support "safe spaces" for homosexual students were "trying to push their own agendas for gay rights through the boy's [sic] death." The editorial went on - inaccurately and misleadingly - to describe the gathering of activists on the campus as an "angry mob." Even The Daily Targum's use of the word "boy" diminishes, slanders and undermines the late Tyler Clementi as a person not yet mature enough to deal with his emotions seemingly promoting the notion that being recorded unknowingly by a classmate during an intimate moment is one of the normal "hardships of life" everyone should have to go through. Although the Daily Targum's editorial staff had every right to voice their individual and collective opinions, given the fact that: 1. The editorial persuasively suggests that the publication's editorial staff is deeply out of touch with their community; 2. Given its close relationship to and identification with Rutgers, the State University, the publication of such an editorial does irreparable harm to the image of the University in both the academic community and among the public at large, and particularly prospective students of Rutrgers; and, 3. Given the fact that public funds, at least indirectly, support the publication of the Daily Targum 4. The editorial at hand promulgated factual errors, THE PETITIONERS request the resignation (or in lieu of voluntary resignation, the forcible termination) of the editorial staff of the Daily Targum and such other parties as may have been responsible for the drafting and publication of the editorial at hand. FURTHER it is respectfully requested that University authorities open an investigation into the potential for disciplinary action being taken against the foregoing. RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED: October 12, 2010 INTIATING PETITIONER: William A. Courson, Executive Director, The Magnus Hirschfeld Center for Human Rgihts, Montclair NJ

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