Does Gamma chapter do any work with the Boy Scouts? I know we used to work with Ranger Duff and the Girl Scouts.
SU denies another Boy Scout event
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
By Frank Brieaddy
For the second time in four years, Syracuse University has banned from its campus a Boy Scouts of America activity because the organization's prohibition of openly gay Scout leaders contradicts the school's diversity policy.
Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, was informed last week by Anastasia L. Urtz, SU's dean of students, that it may no longer use campus buildings to conduct its annual Merit Badge Day, when fraternity brothers and sisters coach Boy Scouts in a variety of topics to earn merit badges.
The Boy Scouts' ban on openly gay leaders is "irreconcilable with Syracuse University's non-discrimination policy" she wrote in a letter dated May 12. Urtz wrote that she was speaking for Chancellor Nancy Cantor.
"I'd say I'm more disappointed than anything else," said APO brother Rick Chetney, of Minetto, the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry student who has organized Merit Badge Day for two years. He said the five-year-old event has been attended by as many as 125 Scouts in the past.
Chetney said he wished the university viewed Merit Badge Day more as a service project by the fraternity than a Boy Scout activity.
Four years ago, former Chancellor Kenneth Shaw told the Onondaga-Seaway Council of the Boy Scouts it could no longer use the Carrier Dome for its Boy Power Dinner after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts' right to reject gay leaders.
Alpha Phi Omega is a national service fraternity founded in 1925 at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., by former Boy Scouts. Its goal is to advance the Scouting philosophy of leadership, friendship and service. Its members engage in a wide variety of community service including, but not exclusive to, work with Scouts.
Chetney said his group will seek an off-campus location for the event, which is usually conducted in April.
Onondaga-Seaway Council Scout Executive Ray Sander said he sees the new decision as a reversal of Shaw's promise - when he rejected the Boy Power Dinner - to maintain academic freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly with respect to the Scouts.
"I don't understand the logic," he said. "It appears as though this administration is taking (Shaw's) policy and expanding it."
Using the same reasoning, he said, the university would have to deny the use of campus buildings to student religious organizations that share the Boy Scout viewpoint on homosexuality.
SU spokesman Kevin Morrow, the highest ranking university official who would speak to the issue, said there is no inconsistency in the university policy.
"The university supports freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, but this is seen as an activity that furthers the policies and practices of the Boy Scouts of America," he said.
He said he didn't know why the situation had not been addressed earlier.