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Local and national gay rights activists said a door for change was opened when the resignation of Penn State women's basketball coach Rene Portland was announced yesterday, ending her 27-year career with the Lady Lions.

"For nearly three decades, Coach Portland has had a documented history of discrimination and prejudice toward [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered] athletes. Her resignation is just one of many steps that needs to occur at Penn State to improve campus climate issues both within and outside the athletic department," a statement released yesterday by SpeakOut, a gay rights student activist group, read.

A statement released by Penn State yesterday morning did not specify the reasons for Portland's resignation, and Athletic Director Tim Curley did not elaborate at a later press conference.

Local and national gay rights activists said a door for change was opened when the resignation of Penn State women's basketball coach Rene Portland was announced yesterday, ending her 27-year career with the Lady Lions.

"For nearly three decades, Coach Portland has had a documented history of discrimination and prejudice toward [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered] athletes. Her resignation is just one of many steps that needs to occur at Penn State to improve campus climate issues both within and outside the athletic department," a statement released yesterday by SpeakOut, a gay rights student activist group, read.

A statement released by Penn State yesterday morning did not specify the reasons for Portland's resignation, and Athletic Director Tim Curley did not elaborate at a later press conference.

After staging a sit-in at the university president's office and demanding to speak with administration officials Friday, members of campus activist groups said they are still no closer to fostering a more tolerant diversity climate at Penn State.

Members of SpeakOUT, UnderTones and the Black Caucus organized the demonstration in response to last week's discrimination lawsuit settlement between Penn State officials and former women's basketball player Jen Harris.

Harris filed a lawsuit two years ago against women's basketball coach Rene Portland, Penn State athletic director Tim Curley and Penn State after she was dismissed from the team. She sued for discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender and race. The terms of the lawsuit settlement have not been released.

and Alyssa Owens

After staging a sit-in at the university president's office and demanding to speak with administration officials Friday, members of campus activist groups said they are still no closer to fostering a more tolerant diversity climate at Penn State.

Members of SpeakOUT, UnderTones and the Black Caucus organized the demonstration in response to last week's discrimination lawsuit settlement between Penn State officials and former women's basketball player Jen Harris.

In a commanding voice, Errol Henderson, associate professor of political science, told a crowd of predominantly black students last night to work hard if they wanted to live up to the legacy of America's greatest black leaders.

"That's a huge mantle to carry, especially for people who can't make it to an 8 o'clock class," he said.

Henderson was the keynote speaker for "Where Did Our Black Leaders Go?" -- the last event of this semester's "Alpha Week" events, which were coordinated by the members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

The university is relocating many student organizations' office spaces in the HUB-Robeson Center in an effort to create three separate areas, said Stan Latta, director of unions and student activities.

Latta said the three areas will be used for student engagement, fraternity and sorority life and student programming.

"We are making arrangements for the proposed new programming board and the center for student engagement," Latta said. "We are also trying to better locate the offices of fraternity and sorority life next to the four greek councils."

and Jasmin McCarroll

The university is relocating many student organizations' office spaces in the HUB-Robeson Center in an effort to create three separate areas, said Stan Latta, director of unions and student activities.

Latta said the three areas will be used for student engagement, fraternity and sorority life and student programming.