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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Nov. 30, 1998)
A 47-year-old developmentally
disabled man was charged with arson
last week in connection with a Nov.
16 fire at his group home.
Five people were injured in the
fire, one critically, that started in a
second-floor sitting room around 3
Lancaster County Attorney Gary
Lacey filed first-degree arson
charges against Bobby Ray
Easterwood for starting the fire in the
5746 Ballard St. group home.
Seven residents and four staff
members lived in the home run by
Developmental Services of
Easterwood, who has a history of
setting fires, is believed to have start
ed the blaze in his closet, fire offi
Easterwood appeared to have
been upset that night because he
could not watch a television program.
Damage to the home and contents
was estimated at $70,000.
If convicted, Easterwood could be
sentenced to one to 50 years in
Compiled by senior staff writer
Ihree boys barely
escape fire in shed
■ The blaze began when
children were playing with
paper and fire, eventually
causing $3,000 damage.
By Josh Funk
Senior staff writer
Three boys playing with fire in a
small shed Friday afternoon narrowly
escaped smoke and flames by punch
ing a hole in the roof.
“They were very fortunate that
they were able to get out,” Deputy
Fire Chief Jerry Greenfield said.
The fire, which started while the
boys were burning paper with a
lighter, destroyed the west half of the
shed behind the house at 1747 S. 16th
St., causing $3,000 damage.
The shed was a 6-foot-tall, add-on
structure built behind the original
To enter the shed, the boys had to
work together to pry open the door.
But after the fire started, they could
not easily escape.
The boys, 8- and 9-year-old broth
ers who live in the house and a 9
year-old friend, thought they had
stamped out the fire in the pile of
leaves and papers, until the smoke
started to build
As the fire grew and the smoke
thickened, the boys could not get out
of the shed. They stood on a chair and
used a hoe to punch a hole in the roof
and climb out.
The three told investigators they
ran to a friend’s house more than a
mile away after escaping die blaze.
A neighbor saw smoke coming
from the garage and called authori
ties, and another resident had seen the
boys running from the garage about
15 minutes earlier, Fire Investigator
Chuck Schweitzer said.
The boys were referred to police
and will go through an educational
program offered by the Bureau of
-“All it takes is one match,”
Schweitzer said. “And these kids
found out... that it takes one stroke
of a lighter to almost kill you.”
The Associated Press con
tributed to this report.
University Police search
for campus scam artist
bLAM from page 1
to get him the cash before dropping
Finney off at his car.
Finney always exchanges phone
numbers with his victims, though he
uses a fake phone number.
“Don’t give into this guy because
you’ll be out the money,” Bushing
On Nov. 22, Finney actually
called the victim later that night ask
ing for more money for a hotel room.
The victim refused and called police.
The Nov. 2 victim saw Finney
drive away in his supposedly broken
down ear after giving him the money.
Finney is described as a black
man, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds and
wearing round, gold-rimmed glasses.
Finney has a history of small-time
scams like these, especially on cam
Police were still looking for
Finney on Sunday, but Bushing said
they had a good idea of where to find
“People need to get better infor
mation before giving. Ask for a photo
ID if they are approached.’’
EHfenr. Bnn . Queetione? Comments?
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ALL MATERIAL COWM»rT1988
THE DALY NEBRASKAN
Greeks examine gay policies
GAY from page 1
close friends as early as ho* junior year.
“I didn’t really ever completely
come out while I was an undergradu
ate,” she said. “Being in a sorority
house, that gets kind of difficult”
Because the 40-member chapter
was entirely women, who shared bath
rooms and sleeping quarters, Young did
n’t think fellow members would feel
comfortable knowing die was a lesbian.
“Although I knew that I wasn’t a
predator, I was afraid ifl came out, other
people would think I was,” Young said.
That was one of the most prevalent
stereotypes of gays and lesbians, she
Rumors that Young was a lesbian
spread When that happened, some of
her friends were “very protective” of
her, she said
But not everyone was so open to the
idea “Snmf* nennlp.
A 1993 graduate from the
University of Wyoming said: “I have
managed to change quite a few of my
brothers’ ideas about gays.... (One
member) recently admitted that he had
quite a few reservations about my join
ing the fraternity. He said he used to
think of gays as being subhuman.’”
Sexual orientation may play a part
in whether someone is accepted into a
house if it is known a rushee is gay,
However; quality is supposed to be
what fraternity and sorority members
look for, said Tom Scott, a member of
Fiji - Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.
“Sexual orientation has nothing to
do with it,” Scott said. “We’re going to
pick up the best men that have the best
resumes sent to us.”
Hilt a follmu
had the tendency to “ Fiji member
want to distance thought other
themselves from me.” wise.
Years ago, UNL “I kmd of dis
had a similar situation agree. I just can’t
when a gay member see it being very t
of Acacia Fraternity accepting,” Jason
inadvertently came Jacobi said,
: In 1993 the mem- comes through
ber was seen in apho- rush and says,
tograph at National ‘Oh by the way,
Coming Out Day in I’m gay.’ I don’t
front of the Nebraska thinlr a house is
Union wearing going to sign
Acacia sweatshirt, them.” ilpfej
said Andrew Muller; a : ,v Beta Theta Pi
senior political sci- member Greg
ence majoranJ * Brockmeier.
mer Acacia member. agreed.
Muller said, %, “I seriously
i.Acacia members were _ ..... __ think that if
distressed about die house’s reputation
Other fraternities have mocked
Acacia, calling it “A-gay-cia” and jok
ing about its members, Muller said He
said fraternities like to give nicknames
to others, and that was the one that has
stuck with Acacia.
According to Case’s national sur
vey, a majority of gay, lesbian or bisexu
al members received a “relatively sup
portive response from the majority of
their members” when they voluntarily
revealed their sexual orientation.
The likelihood gay or lesbian mem
bers would be treated poorly - be
ignored, teased or forced to leave the
house - increased when members dis
cover on their own that someone is gay,
lesbian or bisexual .
With that type of case at Acacia,
Muller said the brothers had mixed
reactions to the gay member, some pos
itive and some negative, but he wouldn’t
elaborate on the negative.
Hie member aided up moving out
of the house, he said.
However, a majority of lesbian, gay
or oisexuai memoers stay m the closet
while in college. But about 40 percent
voluntarily came out to one or more
non-gay members, and less &an 10 per
cent voluntarily came out to the entire
chapter, according to Casels study.
If a sister came out while in Kappa
Alpha Theta Sorority, members would
be accepting, President Carolyn
Conversely, Alpha Xi Delta Sorority
President Courtney Johnson said nega
tive responses may be because many
members at UNL may not have had
exposure to gays and lesbians. Johnson
said coming from western Nebraska,
she hadn’t “dealt with it”
Historically, members of the greek
system from anywhere haven’t been
confronted with that said Sigma Nu
Fraternity members Bill Dixon and
But a new book shows that for
decades people have been coming out
or keeping their sexual preference in
while in a greek house. The book, “Out
on Fraternity Row: Personal Accounts
of Being Gay in a College Fraternity,” is
a collection of first-person essays tty 30
gay men who joined traditional fraterni
ties in college.
Case’s survey also included narra
tives that elaborated on gay and lesbian
someone was openly gay and going
through rush that houses wouldn't look
at them,” Brockmeier said.“It’s a step
dud hasn’t been taken as of yet Itb sad
that someone would have their backs
turned anthem, but it happens.”
Kappa Alpha Theta’s Armstrong
said die couldn’t foresee sexual orienta
tion affecting the acceptance of an
openly lesbian rushee.
“I would hope not,” she said bluntly.
Though all greek houses have non
discrimination policies, they don’t
always address sexual preference.
Alpha Xi Delta Sorority’s position
statement on discrimination reads:
“Alpha Xi Delta... believes it is inher
ent in our principles not to discriminate
on the basis of race, religion, national
origin, handicap or age.”
“I notice it doesn’t address the
issues as far as sexual preference,”
The statement continues: “Be it
resolved, that there are no discriminato
ry requirements imposed upon any
chapter or colony....”
Young said sororities and fraterni
ties are more free to discriminate than
• J* • A
juuiviuuoia ui uuici giuups uu ixuupui.
“I’m trying to imagine the residents
of Abel Hall voting on whether or not
someone gets to live in the dorm,”
Young said. “It doesn’t happen that
However, because of stereotypes of
greek living, some UNL greek mem
bers didn’t think gays or lesbians would
feel comfortable in a bouse.
Greek houses are seen as being het
erosexual. For example, in one UNL
fraternity house, a naked picture of
actress Jennifer Aniston serves as one of
the computer’s screen savers in the
house computer lab.
Some say the system is centered on
social interaction with the opposite sex
and that the system itself is elitist and
not open to any minorities.
‘1 can see how that would scare off
some people,” said John Rice, member
of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.
Fiji member JB. Goll put the situa
tion in die context of the psychological
hierarchy of needs, the basis of which is
the need for acceptance.
“It’s not like we don’t want them to
be around or anything,” Goll said. “But
I don’t think they’d have a feeling of
being accepted here.”
Johnson said if prospective lesbian
members were comfortable with join
ing a sorority, such as Alpha Xi Delta,
“I think it'd be up to them,” Johnson
Johnson would not directly say
whether a lesbian rushee would be
accepted into her house. She said it
would be difficult to say whether the
house would accept one because it has
never been an issue.
Biockmeier said it was important to
make a gay or lesbian person feel wel
come, but that members must under
stand heterosexuals’ needs as well
“1 think a homosexual might feel
uneasy, or especially a male homosexu
al, in being in a greek house,”
Brockmeier said. “They’d feel uneasy.
But if they could get past that, they
could understand these guys are in their
“I think it wouldn’t be a bad envi
Ryan Stowe, Delta Tau Delta
Fraternity president, said potential
members need to look at the actual
membership andgpabof greek houses
to overcome those stereotypes.
The greek system was becoming
more academically based than social, he
said, and members were trying more to
include minorities, which Stowe said
should include gay members.
Oswald said his fraternity, Sigma
Nu, hasn’t actively recruited from die
gay population. Rice said die same of
Phi Kappa Psi, and so did others.
Having someone come out in a
house would be good for a house
because it would give house members
exposure to a different type of lifestyle,
which could lead to increased accep
tance, Sigma Nu members said.
“I would love for that to happen,”
said Dixon, former Sigma Nu president.
And just as members of die greek
system say they are trying to reach out
more to the gay and lesbian population,
those outside of the Systran are trying to
reach into it
Allies, a campus group, has been
looking at ways to confront homopho
bia within the greek system.
Last year the group led a campaign
to encourage houses to become Allies,
or safe houses. In doing so, a house
would let others know it provides a safe
environment for gays, lesbians and
Kappa AlphaTheta, whichhasbeen
an Allies house for about two years, is so
far the only house to take that step.
Armstrong the house’s president,
said that when the house voted on
becoming a safe house, there was no
vA/miiv mig upimuiid.
She didn’t realize no other houses
elected to become safe houses and was
“I don’t think there’s a reason not to
become one,” Armstrong said.
Jill Matlock, Allies president, said
she was happy Kappa Alpha Theta did
become a safe house but said she hoped
the group’s spring campaign would be
Muller, the former Acacia member,
said that when he lived in the house he
tried to put an Allies sticker on his door,
indicating his room was a safe space.
“Within a day it was completely
ripped down and defaced,” Muller said.
Such homophobia exists throughout the
greek system, not just in Acacia, he said
Matlock said the effort to make safe
houses was to help defeat attitudes with
in and outside of chapters that they are
not open to gays.
“It’s just a shame the greek system
has such a stereotype,” Matlock said.
The group is also trying to diversify
itself, getting more greek members
Beta Theta Pi President Mattox said
there has been some talk of increasing
diversity within his house and accepting
Others in UNL greek houses said
But Muller said houses have not
done enough to combat homophobia.
He said that was one of the few tilings he
really disliked about the system
“Homophobia in the greek system,
is just rampant”
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