Manti Te'o and the Rise of Online Relationships

by BB For those unfamiliar with him, Manti Te’o was the star linebacker of the storied Notre Dame football program. Te’o was the runner-up for the Heisman and received much press coverage throughout this past season. One incident in particular caught the eyes of the nation. In October, Te’o’s grandmother and girlfriend both passed away on the same day. Despite those heavy losses, Te’o played in Notre Dame’s game against Michigan State, leading his team to victory. He quickly became the focus of adulation. But some months later, Deadspin broke the story that Te’o’s girlfriend never existed. http://deadspin.com/5976517/manti-teos-dead-girlfriend-the-most-heartbreaking-and-inspirational-story-of-the-college-football-season-is-a-hoax. As the story has played out, several pieces of the puzzle have fallen into place. Te’o was most likely not involved in the hoax. He met the girl, Lennay Kekua, online, and the two had never actually met in person. As it turns out, Kekua did not exist and was, in fact,


Women in Combat: Law as Activism or Reaction?

by Johnathan M. Alba Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta announcement that women will be allowed to serve in combat, overturned an administrative regulation baring woman from combat roles. While I am unabashed supporter of the move, I wonder if this is part of the Obama Administrations “broad and ambitious liberal agenda” as the New York Times put it, or is it a reaction to a reality in culture and society? Is this law as activism or reaction? One of the more credible arguments supporters of the ban have, is that the women are simply not physically able to do the job. In the Marine Corps Gazette (an official publication of the U.S. Marines Corps) Capt. Katie Petronio, wrote about her personal experience in a combat unit. Capt. Petronio was extremely fit, but the physical strain required resulted in muscle atrophy in her leg and an ovarian condition that left


Experimenting with Moral Remedies in International Law

by Lily Colahan During our initial lectures in our Human Rights, The Holocaust and The Law seminar, we have discussed the concept of introducing moral criteria into the legal conception.  While oftentimes the U.S. legal system provides no remedy for purely spiritual harms, the international community has, as of late, begun to experiment with the idea of providing moral remedies through the processes of storytelling and truth-seeking. The experimentation with providing moral remedies to past atrocities is best known in the form of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Initiated at the end of Apartheid, the TRC is generally thought to have been a successful attempt to reconcile present South African communities with their troubled past. As part of the TRC, witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences. The Commission was empowered to grant amnesty to


BC Event Highlights Education's Role in Same-Sex Marriage Discussion

by Stephen Dixon Last week Above The Law reported that the office of BC Law’s LGBT student group had been vandalized with profanity and graffiti. This “cowardly act,” as described by BC Law dean Vincent Rougeau, is obviously just that. But it also highlights a different corner of LGBT rights than I had addressed previously, when I argued that innocuous television stereotypes of gay characters and themes were a signal of tolerance in mass culture and not necessarily an obstacle to overcome. Here, the vandalism took place not in the “lowest-common-denominator” arena of network television sitcoms, but at a prestigious Jesuit law school in Massachusetts–the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004. At the risk of weighing too heavily an isolated event, the juxtaposition of acceptance in the masses alongside rejection in the world of higher education is not only counterintuitive but also reveals the complexities of the issue.


Fake Girlfriends, Real Problems

By Evan B. You do not have to be a football fan to be aware of one of the more bizarre, confusing, and, in reality, not very football-related, news stories in recent memory.  I am, of course, talking about former Notre Dame Football star, Manti Te’o, and his “girlfriend.”  Girlfriend was placed in quotes because by now everyone knows that she did not exist.  Yet, his girlfriend had a face.  And it was plastered all over the internet and news outlets in the aftermath of the story breaking.  How could a fake girl have a very real face?  Quite simply, the alleged perpetrator of the hoax, Ronaiah Tuisosopo, took pictures from the Facebook page of a girl who we now know is Diane O’Meara.  As O’Meara put it, he “has literally been stalking my Facebook and stealing my photos” (http://espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/8869133/diane-omeara-woman-manti-teo-fake-girlfriend-photo-speaks-out).  And therein lays a separate, but perhaps more relevant and


Weighing the Costs and Benefits of LGBT Television Stereotypes

by Stephen Dixon In the run-up to the Forum’s Feb. 4 Conversation on Same-Sex Marriage, there is one question I have been particularly interested in: the relationship between gay television characters and public opinion for or against same-sex relationships. According to NPR’s Morning Edition, a recent content analysis by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation shows that the percentage of gay characters on television (4.4%) is now greater than the percentage of gay men and women in the general population (3.3%). Even without relying on that disproportionality, the study raises an issue that’s hard to deny outright: that gay characters and themes on television are in demand. The spate of seasonally renewed series in recent years–Glee, Modern Family, The New Normal, etc.–leaves little doubt that networks are gearing programming with the belief that gay characters are, if nothing else, an opportunity to boost ad revenues. This of course leaves


Hey Forum Fans! Check This Out

  Here are two essays by the Forum’s Thane Rosenbaum about Former New York City Mayor Ed Koch. Mayor Koch was a guest of the Forum’s in January of last year. The first is in The Huffington Post and the second is in Jewish Week.