KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 14, 2001 -- Author Beth Loffreda will discuss her book "losing matt shepard: Life and Politics in the Aftermath of Anti-Gay murder" at the University of Rhode Islands Edwards Auditorium on Thursday, April 12 at 7:30 p.m. The book explores the infamous 1998 murder of a 21 year-old gay University of Wyoming student who was stretched across a Wyoming fence as a signpost that read: "When push comes to shove, this is what we have in mind for gays." The New York Times gave the book a favorable review.
Loffreda, an assistant English professor and adjunct professor of womens studies at the University of Wyoming, was a faculty adviser to the campus Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Association and had met Shepard before his untimely death.
She will provide penetrating observations of the institutional, legislative, and individual responsibilities of this issue and draw upon her dozens of interviews with students, townspeople, police officers, journalists, state politicians, activists, and gay and lesbian residents.
"There are still many lessons to be learned through an examination of the events and circumstances surrounding Matt's murder," said Andrew Winters, assistant director of URIs Housing and Residential Life. "Upon reading Beth Loffreda's book, I found it impossible not to acknowledge the parallels between Laramie and so many other university communities. In fact, I believe that this tragedy or one similar could easily have happened anywhere... here too.
"It is my hope that Beth's visit to URI will help us to better understand the complex realities which left so many of us reeling in the wake of this brutal murder," said Winters who is also adviser to GLASS, URIs Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Society. "Simultaneously, we look forward to her participation in helping us to renew the conversations necessary to support the work still needed here as we pursue the elimination of violence and the sustenance of a community truly based upon love and respect."
Loffreda will be on the Kingston campus earlier in the day for an open discussion regarding campus community climates for gay/lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people from 1 to 3:30 p.m. in URIs Multicultural Center. Both afternoon and evening discussions are free and open to the public. After the evening discussion, there will be an informal reception and book signing in the Multicultural Center. (The URI Bookstore will have copies for sale.)
The event is sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Society (GLASS) and is co-sponsored by the Office of the President, Housing and Residential Life, the URI Multicultural Center, the R.A. Advisery Board, Student Senate, the Committee to Eliminate Heterosexism and Homophobia, and the United Ministry at URI.
For more information contact Andrew Winters at 874-2894 or Karen Sherman at 874-5120.
For Information: Jan Saywer, 874-2116, Keith Marshall, 874-2116