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The Dunwoody campus library is presently closed due to an air conditioning system failure affecting the entire building. Estimated time of repair is midday on Wednesday (5/24), at which time the Dunwoody library plans to reopen. Students looking for a alternative (and cooler) location to study are encouraged to find a spot in NE Building (see map).
Monitor this blog on the University Library homepage and social media for updates and the exact reopening time. We apologize for the inconvenience.
“Bias is Bad for Business: Carl Owens, Gay Rights, and the Fight Against Cracker Barrel”, by William Greer
In January of 1991, Carl Owens, an activist with Queer Nation Atlanta, published an editorial in a gay newspaper called The Southern Voice. Owens was protesting a policy adopted by Cracker Barrel Restaurants, which stated that they would not hire or employ anyone “whose sexual preferences fail to demonstrate normal heterosexual values.” “It is time,” Owens wrote, “for individual lesbians and gays across the United States to help in the action to stop employment discrimination based on sexual orientation.” With this letter, Owens started an eleven-year fight for equality against a giant corporation. He was one of many activists in this struggle, and Georgia State University’s Archives for Research on Women and Gender has preserved his record of this little-known, albeit extraordinary, chapter of American History.
Gay rights activists staged protests and sit ins at Cracker Barrel locations across the southeast, but Owens had another plan: The Buy One Campaign. If enough people bought a single share, and then pressured Cracker Barrel to adopt a policy that protected gay employees from discrimination, it would be a “vivid example of our presence and power.” Remarkably, at a time when no federal laws, and only two states, protected gays and lesbians from discrimination, the campaign gained real momentum. Owens’ fight also attracted allies, some of whom came from surprising places, like churches.
To promote the Buy One Campaign, Carl Owens wrote to ninety-one separate publications. Other, smaller newsletters and periodicals that were not on his list carried his message as well. Sometimes his message appeared in surprising places, such as a bulletin from the Unitarian Universalist Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee. The First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta also printed Owens’ call in their January, 1992 newsletter, whose cover was graced with a photograph of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Eventually, The Buy One Campaign had a visible effect on Cracker Barrel and the makeup of its shareholders. In a report to the Lambda Legal Defense & Education Fund, Owens disclosed that Cracker Barrel had 4,500 shareholders in 1991. By 1993, the number had risen to 11,500. “I believe that over 50% of the stockholders of CB own only one share each,” he boasted. “And they are either Lesbian, Gay, or a supporter of the community.” Other shareholders made proposals that complemented the Buy One Campaign’s goals. In 1995 the Sisters of Mercy Consolidated Asset Management Program proposed that shareholders vote to instate a policy that linked executive compensation to “social corporate performance.” Two years later, they proposed that executive compensation depend on efforts to “recruit workers from the broadest possible talent pool, without regard to race, color, creed, gender, age, or sexual orientation.”
The Buy One Campaign’s strongest ally, however, was the New York City Employee Retirement System. For 1991 shareholder meeting, Cracker Barrel obtained a restraining order against a group of Queer Nation activists. Owens managed to get inside in the meeting anyway, and he confronted Dan Evins. Patrick Doherty, the NYCERS representative, joined Owens in the confrontation, telling Evins that “bias is bad business.”
When Cracker Barrel tried to induce the Securities & Exchange Commission to block Owens’ proposal, NYCERS sued the SEC. Initially, the SEC had sided with Cracker Barrel’s argument that shareholders could not propose measures that affected a company’s day-to-day operations, which included hiring practices. NYCERS’ suit held that SEC had a long-standing precedent of permitting shareholders to vote on equal employment policies. Two other groups, the United States Trust Co. and the Women’s Division of the Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church, joined NYCERS in the suit. The SEC ruled that the matter was now beyond their jurisdiction. If Cracker Barrel wanted to push the issue further, they’d have to go to court.
Still, the Board continued to recommend that shareholders vote against Owens’ proposal for a non-discrimination policy. In one such memo, the Board complained that “Mr. Owens is more interested in gay and lesbian concerns as social issues than in any economic effect these concerns may have on your company, and that he is using the Company’s proxy as a forum to promote his ideas.” Even though they couldn’t legally stop Owens, their recommendations carried a lot of weight. Proposals for a non-discrimination policy, alternately submitted by Owens’ and NYCERS, failed to draw a majority vote at ten consecutive shareholder meetings.
Owens kept pushing, and eventually the majority tilted in his favor. Finally, in 2002, the Board decided not to oppose Owens’ position. Instead, without a shareholder vote, they added new language to their hiring policy. A vote was deemed unnecessary because fifty eight percent of shareholders now favored the proposals. (Martin, Douglas, “Danny Evins”, New York Times, accessed December 8, 2016) Julie Davis, a company spokeswoman, described the change as “simple matter of listening to the shareholders.”
After eleven years, Carl Owens and his allies had won. He couldn’t have done it alone. The thousands of people who heeded his call to buy shares deserve credit, as does NYCERS, whose own holdings in Cracker Barrel gave the cause an enormous boost. Christian groups, like Sisters of Mercy and women of the Methodist Church deserve special recognition for advocating gay rights at the same time Pat Buchanan declared a “cultural war” to protect presumably shared religious values. (Patrick J. Buchanan, “1992 Republican National Convention Speech”, August 17, 1992, http://buchanan.org/blog/1992-republican-national-convention-speech-148, accessed December 8, 2016) Yet in the final analysis, there was no substitute for the persistence of Carl Owens’ and many other activists like him. The Buy One Campaign began, and ended, with his determination to right a wrong.
This posting was written by GSU Graduate Student William Greer. Questions about the Carl Owens Collection on Cracker Barrel Records should be directed to Morna Gerrard, archivist, Women and Gender Collections, at 404-413-2880 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students: Been using Tableau for data visualizations, or want to try it out? You can enter this contest and maybe win a Tableau swag bag!
To enter the Contest, complete the following steps – entry deadline is May 30:
- If you do not already have a copy, download the software at https://public.tableau.com/s/ (a free trial copy is available),
- Produce and publish a Tableau data visualization to your Tableau Public profile, and
- Provide a link to the visualization on your Tableau Public profile to https://public.tableau.com/s/Student-Viz-Assignment-Contest – Your Submission must be publicly accessible and available at all times during the Contest Period. All Submissions must comply with all Tableau terms and conditions of use, available at http://www.tableau.com/tos.
When the new catalog interface is available, you will be able to utilize your campus ID and password for authenticating into the catalog to view your library account.
Saved “Favorites” in your current GIL-Find account will not automatically migrate to the new catalog. Save any favorites you wish to keep by email or by exporting into EndNote before May 21st.
During the transition to the new catalog interface, GIL Express (USG community borrowing) will be suspended from May 5th through May 25th. If you need a book from another USG library you may put in an ILL request or consult a library employee at the desk on LN1 for assistance.
Thank you for your patience as we work to improve our service to each of you.
On a Thursday evening last week, CURVE hosted a group of exceptional young women interested in STEM fields. The high schoolers are part of an organization called WIT, or Women In Technology, which “passionately supports women at every stage of their STEM careers—from the classroom to the boardroom,” according to the WIT website. The girls participate in activities and tours sponsored by Atlanta universities and businesses that focus on careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
At the “Building Your Professional Toolbox” event, sponsored by GSU’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, the WIT girls rotated through learning stations featuring different technology and career information. Some of the highlights included activities led by GSU librarians in their academic specialties.
Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh, Librarian for Sociology, Gerontology, and Data Services, showcased data science careers by demonstrating how to map and visualize Twitter data with Tableau and NVivo.
Business Data Services Librarian Ximin Mi took the students on a worldwide vacation through a combination of Google Maps and a Vive virtual reality headset, and discussed the future of virtual reality, computer science, and tech jobs.
Kelsey Jordan, Librarian for Biology, Chemistry, and Neuroscience, led a “live” drawing workshop on medical illustration and health careers, featuring a real human heart, liver, and kidneys.
More than 5.7 million people call metro Atlanta home — that’s a more than 300 percent increase over the past 45 years. Specifically, the Atlanta MSA has morphed from just five counties to 29, sprawling across 8,376 square miles (an area nearly the size of New Jersey).
But, it is perhaps metro Atlanta’s evolving and increasingly diverse population that most strikingly shows the dramatic transformation since 1970.
“The racial composition has changed so dramatically — it’s really stark,” says David Sjoquist, professor of economics at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Sjoquist and Lakshmi Pandey, a senior research associate at the Center for State and Local Finance, recently examined these trends in new research, “The Changing Face of Atlanta.”
Illustrated with a dynamic webpage, in a series of 70 maps and additional charts, the researchers document the changes in race, age, income and education for the metro-Atlanta area from 1970-2015. See the changing face of Atlanta for yourself.
Other works by Pandey and Sjoquist:
Alm, James, Sjoquist, David L. “Foreclosures and Local Government Revenues from the Property Tax: The Case of Georgia School Districts.” Regional Science and Urban Economics, vol. 46, 01 May 2014, pp. 1-11.
Geller, Chris, Sjoquist, David L. Atlanta in Black and White: Racial Attitudes and Perspectives. Research Atlanta (Firm); Georgia State University. Policy Research Center, n.d.
Pandey, Lakshmi, et al. “An Analysis of Private School Closings.” Education Finance and Policy, vol. 4, no. 1, 01 Dec. 2009, pp. 34-59.
Sjoquist, David L. and Lakshmi Pandey. “An Analysis of Acquisition Value Property Tax Assessment for Homesteaded Property.” Public Budgeting & Finance, vol. 21, no. 4, Dec. 2001, p. 1.
Sjoquist, David L. Past Trends and Future Prospects of the American City: The Dynamics of Atlanta. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2009.
Want to learn more about how open practices and openly licensed content are changing higher education? During this virtual conference, a series of speakers will discuss topics related to open educational resources and the delivery of open content.
Attend in person on Wednesday, April 19: Atlanta Library North Classroom 1: 11:00am-5:00pm
Drop in anytime or stay for the entire webinar. Descriptions for each session are available here.
11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. – Introduction—Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO
11:10 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Opening Keynote: Open to Change: Situating OER in Global Higher Ed–Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director, Open Education Consortium
11:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Lessons & Learnings from the Gates Foundation’s Investments in Open Education within US Higher Education–Rahim Rajan, Senior Program Officer, Gates Foundation
12:15 p.m. – 12:45 p.m. Creating and Assessing OER Materials–Julie Lang, OER Coordinator, Teaching and Learning with Technology, Penn State University
1:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Delivering Open Access Monographs–Rupert Gatti, Founder and Co-Director, Open Book Publishers
2:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Delivering Open Courseware–Dr. David Wiley, Founder and Chief Academic Officer, Lumen Learning
3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Content Camp: A Collaborative Assessment Model from Ohio State–Ashley Miller, Educational Technologist, Ohio State University
4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Challenges and Barriers to be Addressed–Melissa Russell, Director of Content Strategy, and Mike Matousek, Director of Content Initiatives, Cengage Learning
4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion
Recently, the GSU Library celebrated Open Education Week with an Open Educational Resources (OER) information table located just inside the main entrance of Atlanta Library North. Approximately 68 students and a few professors stopped by the table to explore OER materials and find out more about how to make textbooks more affordable.
The OER information table included print versions of textbooks from OpenStax, BCCampus Open Ed, Open Textbook Library, Open SUNY, and College Open Textbooks, as well as, the opportunity to view these books online. All five of these textbook collections include high quality, peer reviewed textbooks that can be downloaded for free. Professional color publications in print can be purchased at a very low cost, or students can print them on their own if they’d like.
Most students said they had never heard of these textbook collections. Some students who said that they had heard of the OpenStax textbook collection knew about it from an AP class in high school or the knowledge that Bill Gates puts some funding toward the OpenStax organization. However, none of the students said that they had used OpenStax at GSU. Many of the students who stopped by said that they wanted more information about open textbooks because the cost of textbooks is burdensome.
Here’s what some students had to say:
“I have not bought a textbook since I’ve been in college because I never have the money. –No refund checks, –single parent home, –no savings.”
“We should be able to use older editions because of the significant … cost. New editions barely add anything. The cost to students aren’t worth the benefit.”
“…Requiring textbooks often that are not needed…I lose money reselling.”
“Two books, first is the biology 1rst edition and the other is biology 2nd edition. I already have the first edition and am required to buy the other only because my professor follows the study questions on the 2nd edition.”
“My textbooks totaled $800 my freshman year. (1rst semester)”
A few professors stopped by and explored the available open textbooks that could be adopted to ease the financial burden of textbook costs for students. One professor stated that she is working on creating an open textbook but is struggling to find the time to complete it because of so many other obligations.
When students use open textbooks, they have access to the content from the first day of class. A growing body of research is discovering the impact of open textbooks on retention, course throughput rates, graduation rates, drop out rates, and more. A collection of research on these topics and other open education topics can be found here. For a collection of open textbooks in use in the University System of Georgia (USG), see GALILEO Open Learning Materials. Or, view the top 100 highest enrolled courses for students in the USG with suggestions for textbook adoption here.
For professors who are interested in adopting an existing open textbook or creating an open textbook, grants are available, and the library is offering support. Grants are available for an individual course, multiple courses, and departmental level textbook adoption. The deadline for the latest round of grants offered through Affordable Learning Georgia is April 30. Find out more about these grants here. Or contact Mary Ann Cullen (Perimeter campuses) or Denise Dimsdale (Atlanta campus) for more information.
Intrigued by our new Popular Culture Literature Collection? Kevin Fleming, GSU’s Popular Music and Culture Archivist, and Jill Anderson, History/African-American Studies/Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Librarian, will be offering a “Teaching with Primary Sources: Popular Culture and Pulp” workshop for faculty and graduate students from 1-2:30pm on Monday, April 24 in the Colloquium Room, Library South 8.
In this hands-on workshop for faculty and graduate students, attendees will be the “students” for two exercises drawing on comic books from Special Collections & Archives’ Popular Culture Literature Collection. The exercise will be following by discussion and brainstorming on creative ways to use these resources for teaching. We invite you to attend as our “students”!
Curious about what’s in this collection? Check out its finding aid here (click on the “Open Finding Aid” tab to view the entire finding aid).