Apr 292009
 

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents the congressional district that includes my alma mater, and she has attended ASU events and activities to advance her political career and give her an undeserved credibility. Over the past several days, Rep. Foxx has made a number of inflammatory statements during the House’s consideration of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. Today, Rep. Foxx crossed a line when she took to the floor of the House, claimed that Shepard was killed as part of a robbery, and called the hate aspect of the crime “a hoax.”

Kenneth E. Peacock, Chancellor
Office of the Chancellor
Appalachian State University
ASU Box 32002
Boone, NC  28608

Subject: ASU’s association with U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx

Dear Chancellor Peacock:

I had the honor of meeting you some weeks ago at an alumni reception in St. Petersburg.

I was born, raised and lived most of my life in North Carolina. I am extremely proud of that upbringing, and am a very proud Mountaineer. The lessons I’ve taken from my upbringing and education have, I believe, served me well. I was incredibly impressed by your presentation and your enthusiasm for the University, and recognize the current budget pressures you must confront.

At the reception, I noted I’d been lucky enough to receive a small bonus from work, and promised to share that with the University’s program for the financially disadvantaged students. Perhaps, with the deepest regret I’ve ever felt in my life, I cannot continue my support of Appalachian State University. Even my pride in North Carolina is shaken, and I can no longer be proud of my home state.

Boone and the University are, as you know, in the Fifth Congressional District, and Virginia Foxx is the representative for that district. I have seen, on Rep. Foxx’s congressional website, a number of photographs with her appearing at ASU functions behind and beneath the ASU Banner.

Unfortunately today I saw a video of a statement made by Rep. Foxx on the floor of the United States House of Representatives opposing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. It was the vilest, most hate-filled, hateful, and un-Christian statement I believe I’ve ever heard come from a U.S. Representative. (And that is a pretty high bar.)

Obama_Shepherd.jpgTo advance her political career, Rep. Foxx claimed that Matthew Shepard was killed merely as part of a robbery. This is a lie, and Rep. Foxx is, or ought to be, aware of the record before making such a statement. The Laramie Police and Prosecutors said the two men lured Mr. Shepard from a bar by pretending to be gay, beat him to pulp, and left him hung, still alive, on a fence post for over 18 hours. The men attempted to use a “gay panic” defense during their trial, and one of the defendants admitted to beating Mr. Shepard because he was gay. How is that not a hate crime?

Yet Rep. Foxx had the gall to stand on the floor of the United States House of Representatives and say, “It’s really a hoax.”

Chancellor Peacock, I recognize the political reality with which you are faced, but as a gay man, who, while never having suffered as did Mr. Shepard, has been subjected to threats and discrimination, must also stand up to the very real face of hate. I have seen that in the face and words of Rep. Foxx, not only today, but in previous statements. So while I understand you will be able to take no action on this matter, I can act. I cannot, and will not, support any person, organization, group or institution that even associates itself with Rep. Foxx. A person with Rep. Foxx’s spirit of hatefulness and lack of integrity should not be actively exposed to the diverse group of young people under your charge as part of any University sponsored event

I hope you will appreciate that this is an extremely difficult decision on my part, but until such time as the University publicly denounces Rep. Foxx’s statement and bans her from access to the Campus or any University sponsored event, or until such time as the voters in her district recognize her for the hateful, dishonest person she is and vote her out of office, I will make no further contributions to ASU.

Again, I regret this decision, and hope that the time will be short when I can resume my contributions to my beloved Alma mater.

cc: Rep. Virginia Foxx

Remember The Late Night College Bull Sessions?

 Friends, Fun Stuff  Comments Off on Remember The Late Night College Bull Sessions?
Oct 282006
 

You’d be sitting around with some of your friends on the hall, and maybe have your inhibitions lowered a little having had a couple of beers…and you’d talk about the most deep topics. I think we often loose that when we get older. Maybe part of it is a fear of opening yourself up; part probably comes from becoming cynical and maybe a little less trusting of others. Maybe it becomes too important that we be seen as strong and independant…rather than exposed and thoughtful.

In Eggers dorm at ASU, because I was a Resident Assistant, I’d often find myself hanging out in the Resident Director’s apartment with friends chewing over the great questions of life. (At least when Larry “Rainbow” Johnson was the RD.) Anyway, I want to try to get back to just a little of that. While sitting around in the same room isn’t so practical in this forum, at least this opens the discussion to a lot of people.

So here’s the challenge. I want you all to use the comments section and tell us all about the 10 minutes of your life that you would like to live over again. A span of 600 seconds that was so meaningful, you’d love to do it one more time.

Let the discussion begin….

Fond Memories Of My Favorite Season

 General, Weather  Comments Off on Fond Memories Of My Favorite Season
Oct 092005
 

Autumn has officially arrived. As usual it’s a little hard to tell here in Tampa. However, we got a couple of overcast rainy days this past week. That made it a little cooler, and made me think of Fall.

I think autumn is my favorite time of year. Coming from the western part of North Carolina, and having gone to college at Appalachian State University in the northwest corner of the corner, I have seen some beautiful shows of fall colors. I have literally had my breath taken away while driving up the mountains to Boone and Blowing Rock returning to school, or looking off some of the overlooks on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As stunning as the colors are, I think its much of the other things about this time of year that appeal to me. My mom was the school system nurse for thirty plus years in my home town, and at one point in my life, I worked for a few years as a representative for a yearbook publishing company. So for many years, that “school schedule” was an important part of life. It is a time of settling in and getting back to routine.

My granddaddy was a cotton farmer, so the cotton would be coming in, and my mom and grandmother would be “putting up” corn, green beans, and vegetable soup. I remember a few early Saturday mornings going with Granddaddy to the cotton gin. I’d dig a hole in the cotton in the front corner of the trailer, and off we’d go with the big red Farmall tractor chugging along down the road. And that old cotton gin was an amazing place for me. I especially love the big vacuum tube that sucked the cotton out of the trailer.

Even now I feel like the business environment changes around this time of year. People sort of get serious again, and start paying more attention. Vacations are over, budget time starts, and you’re in the last quarter of the year.

The days start getting shorter and the mornings a bit cooler (even here in Florida sometimes). Back in my hometown you’d step out in the evenings and often catch the smell of burning leaves. People outside the city limits raked their leaves to the side of the road, and burned them. Football season goes into full swing. I was in the band, so each Friday night was a big deal during high school. And there’s nothing more beautiful than the big mountain covered with hardwoods rising above the end of the stadium at ASU draped in Fall colors.

Even when I was in college I was a resident assistant in a freshman dormitory, so not only was it a time for me to start back to school, it was the time to help thirty plus freshmen get off to a good start at college, and experience all the excitement of meeting new people.

So fall is a time that brings back lots of nice memories for me. Part is that agrarian attitude of brining in the crops and preparing for winter; part is that getting back to school with friends and routine; and a lot is the beauty that I know is so much a part of fall in North Carolina. I can see it in my mind, even here in Tampa.