“[…] This could very well be our campus. Allowing these kinds of acts to go on without taking a stand against them is really just like saying it is okay. It is saying these acts normal. It is saying these acts are permissible. The perpetrators who committed this act and the victims should know that it is not. We say NO!
The Current believes that it is time for everyone to stand up and say something when a wrongdoing is witnessed. We can prevent acts like these in the future by doing this. It is never ok to use anti-gay slurs such as these. The Current believes there is no instance at which this behavior is appropriate. If ever in conversation you hear the word, you can stop them and let them know their behavior is not acceptable, the same way you would if any other racial or anti-religious slurs were used. Picture the students that opened that door late last month as your best friend or a member of your family. The Current believes that if every student does this, every student can incite the change necessary to stop this kind of behavior and make discrimination against the LGBT community history.”
(excerpt, “Hate Crimes Cannot Hide Behind Free Speech,” March 16, 2009.)
This February, students at Montclair State University in New Jersey were shaken by two bias incidents against their new LGBT Center. Anti-gay slurs written on the door and in a note that also quoted the Bible and said, “Get out of our campus,” prompted responses from students and the school administration. The university sent out an email to students with a letter about the incident, and held two forums for discussion. Student group SPECTRUMS (Sexuality, Pride, Education, Community, Truth, Respect, Unity at Montclair State) posted flyers to raise awareness and to offer resources for students. In additional to an article detailing the incident and the response, staff of the MSU student newspaper, The Montclarion, printed an editorial calling for regular forums about bias and diversity as well as stronger efforts to catch and punish perpetrators of bias incidents on campus.
On March 16, The Current, the student newspaper at UM-Saint Louis, published a staff editorial announcing that they stand in solidarity with SPECTRUMS and MSU students in their efforts to fight hate on campus. Their words of support are a commendable example of the spirit of Not In Our Town and especially Not On Our Campus. We hope that these students’ message of encouragement to others on a distant campus inspires more people to reach out to other communities that are fighting hate. If you would like to express your support for these students, please do so in the comments section below.