Iraq War Veteran Who Successfully Battled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Will Be Keynote Speaker at Emerging Scholars “Stand Against Bullying” Conference at Chapman University

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Lt. Dan Choi Will Speak in Memorial Hall on Saturday, September 29 at 5:30 p.m. – Free and Open to the Public Two-Day Scholarly Conference Will Address the Issue of Bullying Aimed at Marginalized Groups

Lt. Dan Choi, the Iraq war veteran who led the successful fight against the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, will be the keynote speaker at Chapman University’s Emerging Scholars Conference at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, in Memorial Hall on the university’s campus in Orange. His talk is free and open to the public.

The keynote will be the final event of the two-day conference, titled “Stand Against Bullying,” which brings together educators, lawmakers and community leaders to explore the issues of contemporary bullying aimed at marginalized groups and intensified by social media.

Choi’s talk, along with a screening of the film @urFRENZ at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, in Chapman’s Folino Theater (inside Marion Knott Studios, corner of Palm and Cypress in Orange), are free community events. The film, written and directed by Jeff Phillips, is a realistic drama about the lives of teens, their families and the draw and discord of social networking sites.

On March 19, 2009, Lt. Choi, a West Point graduate and Iraq war veteran fluent in Arabic, announced that he was gay on The Rachel Maddow Show. Because of three words – “I am gay” – his life changed forever. Despite his value as an Arabic speaker, one month after his announcement Choi was notified that the Army had begun discharge proceedings against him. He was one of only eight soldiers from his graduating class who majored in Arabic.

A year later Choi handcuffed himself to the White House fence with a fellow gay veteran. After a series of protests, arrests and imprisonments, Choi attended the bill signing that finally repealed “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Since then, Choi has become an outspoken activist for gay civil rights. He has served as Grand Marshal of the San Francisco, New York City, Miami and Wichita LGBT Pride Parades, appeared frequently on national and international news programs, and serves on the boards of Marriage Equality USA and the American Foundation for Equal Rights. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Scout Leaders Course, Air Assault School, Parachutist School and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Harvard University.

Choi has announced that his talk at Chapman will be dedicated to the late Katherine Darmer, who was a professor at Chapman University’s School of Law and founding board member and Chair of the Legal Team of the Orange County Equality Coalition.

For information and registration details about attending the entire conference, which will include a variety of speakers, panels and a keynote by U.S. Rep. Loretta Sanchez ’82, please visit the Emerging Scholars website:

The screening @urFRENZ ( will be followed by discussion with the filmmaker, Jeff Phillips, adjunct faculty member at the Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, and actors from the movie. Tickets are free, but seating is limited. Reservations may be made online.

Chapman University is located at One University Drive in Orange, Calif. Directions and parking information may be found here:

Consistently ranked among the top universities in the West, Chapman University provides a uniquely personalized and interdisciplinary educational experience to highly qualified students. Our programs encourage innovation, creativity and collaboration, and focus on developing global citizen-leaders who are distinctively prepared to improve their community and their world. For more information, visit

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Mary Platt
Chapman University
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