The Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations (PCRITP) on Wednesday appointed Bowdoin College Professor Theo Greene as a commissioner.
In their November 29 meeting papers, the Commission specified that the seat Greene is appointed to is an LGBTQIA+ Commission seat.
Greene earlier this year won the Sociology of Sexualities Early Career Award, issued by the American Sociological Association (ASA).
“Receiving this award is a vindication of the work I am doing to illuminate the lives of LGBTQ+ people,” Greene said at the time, according to a Bowdoin publication.
At the end of the meeting, the Commission also had a short presentation on the Freedom of Access Act (FOAA).
This is likely in response to their July 23 meeting in which Commission Community Engagement Director Angela Okafor was recorded telling all those in attendance that they were not allowed to take pictures, videos, or make audio recordings of the meeting.
This is a violation of Maine’s FOAA laws, since the Permanent Commission was launched and is funded by the Maine Legislature.
At that same meeting, PCRITP Executive Director Ariel Ricci told white attendees that they were not allowed to talk during the meeting because of the color of their skin.
Asked about this instruction she provided, Ricci denied having said it.
“[T]hat is not an accurate description of any requests made, from my recollection,” Ricci said.
When the Maine Wire explained that we had an audio recording from the meeting where she clearly said it, Ricci declined to elaborate.
It did not take long for all Commissioners to agree to appoint Theo Greene to the Commission’s LGBTQIA+ specific seat. This is not surprising, since in their November 29 meeting papers, the Commission writes that they “identified” Theo Greene as a candidate to fill the seat.
On Bowdoin College’s website, Greene is listed as an Associate Professor of Sociology.
According to his page, Greene’s “research, writing, and teaching interests lie at the intersections of gender, sexuality, urbanism, and culture.”
“His ongoing research draws on queer placemaking in cities to challenge the notions of placemaking as stable,” the site says.
Greene’s is currently working on a book titled Not in MY Gayborhood: Gay Neighborhoods and the Rise of the Vicarious Citizen.
The book “explores the persistence of iconic gay neighborhoods in Washington DC, through acts of ephemeral placemaking by nonresidential community actors (ephemeral citizens).”
After the Commission confirmed Greene to his Commissioner position and discussed other priorities, they ended their meeting with a quick slideshow explaining what activities and documents are covered under the Freedom of Access Act and how they are obligated to behave due to FOAA laws.
After the July incident in which the Commission’s Okafor was caught violating FOAA laws, the Commission has been effectively forced to acknowledge and abide by Maine’s FOAA.