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Former IU professor put on leave following incident at blood drive

POSTED AT 06:55 PM ON Jul. 1, 2012  (UPDATED AT 12:00 AM ON Jul. 2, 2012)

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Former IU adjunct lecturer Uri Horesh is stuck in Indiana.

After being put under arrest for disorderly conduct, battery and resisting arrest, the state has prohibited Horesh from leaving Indiana until results from his July 30 trial are in.

Horesh was arrested after trying to donate blood.

On July 20, Horesh arrived at the Red Cross donation site with a copy of IU’s non-discrimination policy in his pocket. He was asked to complete a questionnaire.

One of the questions asked if he has had sex, even once, with another man since 1977.

Horesh answered yes and was banned from donating.

“This policy is very much outdated,” he said. “Asking this very outdated question is clearly some kind of caving in to some very old and homophobic prejudice.”

Because Red Cross was invited to IU, Horesh thought the Bloodmobile would be subject to IU policy on sexual orientation. But Red Cross employees said there was nothing they could do.

“We are definitely supportive and inclusive of all groups that want to donate,” Red Cross spokeswoman Katy Maloy said. “However, it is up to the FDA to determine our guidelines.”

After Horesh was denied from donating, he then allegedly blocked the Bloodmobile door, IU Police Chief Keith Cash said.

He reportedly refused to leave the Bloodmobile. A Red Cross employee threatened to scream if he didn’t move. Horesh then allegedly spat at one of the Bloodmobile employees.

A Red Cross employee on site called IUPD, and Horesh was handcuffed and arrested.

“Nowhere in our policy does it say everybody has the right to give blood regardless of their sexual orientation,” IU spokesman Mark Land said. “It’s Mr. Horesh’s view. Those are his words. We’re not letting anybody come on campus and violate our campus policies. This was expected protocol. He didn’t agree with it, but it has nothing to do with discriminating against anybody.”

This is not the first time Horesh has protested for LGBT rights.

In 2008 he went on a hunger strike at the University of Texas, protesting the lack of same-sex partner benefits. According to an article published in the Austin Chronicle, he stopped after seven days due to “physical weakness” and “personal obligations.”

Horesh then left UT in protest.

He then worked at Franklin Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., as director of the Arabic program. He tried to donate blood at a Red Cross Bloodmobile that visited the college and was denied. 

He said all he received was a “slap on the wrist.”

After Horesh was arrested at IU, he spent 24 hours in Monroe County Jail. His father bailed him out the following morning for $2,000 insurity and $500 cash.

“Our primary concern is for the students,” said Tom Gieryn, vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. “We need to make sure that the events surrounding his arrest are not a distraction from teaching and learning in his classes. Students might be curious why he was arrested, or students might be concerned when they learned the nature of his behavior.”

Horesh underwent a faculty review Tuesday and has been placed on paid leave until July 30, the day of his court date. He has been asked to cease all communication with faculty, students and staff he met during his time at IU.

“What good is a good policy if we keep violating it?” Horesh said. “If someone gets arrested along the way, it’s a small sacrifice for a better good.”

Horesh said he plans to plead not guilty to the charges.

Once he has received his July 30 salary, Horesh said he will donate $1,000 to the IU Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Support Services.

“I don’t think the director of the FDA is going to call me tomorrow and say, ‘Hey, things are going to change now because one guy in Bloomington was arrested,’” Horesh said. “I don’t know if one single action can bring about change, but I know that sitting on our asses and doing nothing is a sure way to not change anything.”

Horesh is scheduled for a pre-trial conference to personally discuss his charges.

Change.org, a web platform that petitions social change and empowerment, has started a petition against the District Attorney’s Office of Monroe County to “drop the homophobic charges against Uri Horesh!” As of 3 p.m. July 1, the petition has received 486 e-signatures.

 

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