The F word: Student group’s name stirs controversy

Nailah Edmondson

Shimmery glitter-covered posters with the phrase “The F.A.G.S. are back” have caused a heated stir of discussion amongst City College staff and administration.

“If the campus is making a big deal, perhaps it is due to the controversy caused by restrictions of our freedom of speech,” President Jason Frye-Kolarik said, “and the fact that someone actually made them think outside the box for 2 seconds.”

Last spring semester the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Student Union opted for a name change, now known as the Fellowship of Associated Gay Students. Frye-Kolarik. The president of both City and Mesa’s FAGS introduced the name change to his fellow members during the past spring semester.

“By a show of hands we went from alphabet soup to FAGS and experienced some difficulty from upstairs,” Frye-Kolarik said. “After a wonderful meeting with Gerald Ramsey later in the semester we received approval and yet again we are having trouble.”

What does “The F.A.G.S. are back” mean?

“We use humor to attract attention and for the enjoyment of our audience.” The president said there is no ulterior motive in letting people know “the F.A.G.S. are back”.

The outcome of the situation is now in the hands of City College’s Compliance Officer Mary Cole. At this time the club is entitled to keep the name. The question is how the name can be displayed.

Many are against the name change altogether.

“I think the administration that approved this should have recognized that it’s not going to promote openness”, Student Services Asst. Michele Montanez said.

Montanez expressed that there are students that have dealt with being victimized for their sexual orientation and now it is happening again with the support of their own campus.

The FAGS mission is to promote awareness of gay issues, open minds, promote safer sex, and fight for the equality of marriage rights.

As well as dealing with the motions of their recent name change, FAGS is on the search for an advisor. Their former advisor Berta Harris’s schedule has made it impossible for her to continue the position.

“She was an incredible asset to our group and will be missed”, Frye-Kolarik said.

Harris was pleased with the club holding an open meeting last Wednesday September 3 for staff and students to express questions and concerns.

She also tossed out the idea of having a larger event such as a forum with open dialogue that would discuss the term FAGS and why they are using it.

At the open meeting, a City College staff member handed a FAGS member a packet titled “In group and out group perspectives in the use of derogatory group labels gay vs. fag” and proceeded to say the poster personally attacked her, according to Frye-Kolarik.

“The posters were derogatory and inappropriate for campus,” History major Anthony Ramirez said.

With Mesa and City College being fairly close, one might think the reception on both campuses are alike. Yet Mesa seems to be embracing the name change. The club is receiving more than enough support from faculty, department heads and staff, according to FAGS members at City College.

Their are also FAGS clubs at MiraCosta and Miramar College. Mesa College has scheduled events for this fall semester such as a community wide health fair, their second semester drag show and a marriage equality rally.

As soon as the situation at City College is finalized, they will begin to plan for events as well.

A huge bonus of the name change is that it has done wonders for new membership. At Mesa alone, their are twenty new members. Prior to the name change growth was slow, according to Frye-Kolarik.