Students should be able to make it through college without being targeted for who they are.
On Oct. 1, it was reported by the Shippensburg University administration that the office door belonging to Students Advocating For Equality (SAFE) was defaced with a poster that had a list of unacceptable remarks about sexuality, gender identity and the LGBT community. SAFE is an organization dedicated to bringing awareness to diversity, while bringing acceptance and tolerance to different sexual orientations and gender expressions.
The poster is not only against the student code of conduct, but the hateful action also brought fear to many members of the SAFE community, and the campus community SAFE is one of the few places on campus where students feel comfortable to fully express themselves in the company of other students who are just like them.
SAFE prioritizes inclusivity, which is what the university needs a refresher of. The county’s current hateful climate, the poor handling of past LGBT matters on campus or just the fact that homophobia is still socially prevalent in society, is not an excuse to be hateful, even though all increasingly prove to be causes of hate.
Despite the insensitivity of some members of the campus community, SU is LGBT-friendly and needs to continue making strides to maintain this status. Students of any sexuality or gender orientation are welcome here and should not have to tolerate being persecuted on campus.
Contrary to what was written on the poster, the LGBT community does not legitimize lunacy, have a corrupted ideology, keep people trapped in a web of lies or attempt to silence reason. Definitions vary and everyone has a different experience, but the community is about celebrating differences and educating others.
The poster is something to be ashamed of, and the lack of an identified author is frustrating. Whoever wrote the poster could be a classmate, a friend, a professor or staff member, as it was done anonymously.
Students should not have to worry that their classmates or mentors are secretly disgusted with them. They should not fear being attacked verbally or physically because of their identities. However, a 2016 FBI study revealed that 17.7 percent of hate crimes are targeted toward sexual orientation.
The Washington Post reported that hate crimes increased in 2016, just as they did in 2015. CBS News has also reported that the number of hate crimes has increased in 2017.
Shippensburg may not have been spared from the increase in hate crimes, but LGBT students are here to stay on SU’s campus. If someone is going to write a hateful poster, the least they can do is own up to it and put a name to the ignorance.