Vigil unites students on campus

Students gathered outside Bentley Hall to commemorate and honor the victims of recent suicides. JAMES SCHWENDENER/The Campus

Living in the Allegheny bubble certainly makes you take some things for granted.
Recently, eight young members of the LGBTQ community in the United States (that’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/ Questioning) have taken their own lives.
They felt, in their own high school and college bubbles, that the teasing, harassment and bullying they faced was too much to bear.
The atmospheres of high school and college campuses have been so vituperative that various members of the queer community do not feel safe, and many have nowhere to turn.
We, the president and vice president of Allegheny College Queers and Allies, are here to tell you, the students, faculty, and staff of this Allegheny bubble, that we will not tolerate hatred, harassment, or intolerance on our watch.
We are here to spread a message of acceptance, appreciation and love.
On Monday evening,  the Student Network Across Pennsylvania, Queers and Allies, the Allegheny Pride Alliance and the Committee on Discrimination and Sexual Harassment held the “A Night to Live” vigil.
This vigil took place simultaneously with the vigils at twenty other schools across PA at the very least.
The overall goal was a demonstration of solidarity, community and acceptance. Together, we showed that bullying and harassment based on gender or sexual orientation have no place at our school.
We write to you, the Allegheny community, in a state of shock.
The turnout for this vigil was awe–inspiring.
An estimated 10 percent of the Allegheny campus came out to show their support, many of them wearing white.
The networking and collaboration we witnessed in the past week that brought so many people together successfully at the last minute has been a sight to behold.
It is a testament to how tightly knit this community is.
We have never been more proud of all of you and the atmosphere of love, care and respect you have demonstrated.
Not only students but an impressive number of faculty and staff members were in attendance, offering support, wisdom, words and resources.
We are also one of if not the only college that is a part of SNAP to have had our vigil endorsed by the President of our school.
Thank you, President Mullen, for your support.
We are also here to assure you that Queers and Allies is taking the recent suicides very seriously.
As the vigil showed, we have more support and allies than we could ever have imagined.
Now it is our job as a community to ensure that Allegheny is a place of openness and is free of discrimination.
Fiona and I have never been more grateful for the community.
We are proud to be a part of the beautiful bubble of Allegheny College.
We thank everyone profusely for your attendance at the vigil and look forward to sharing more beautiful experiences with you, the wonderful members of the Allegheny community, as we work to eradicate hate on this campus once and for all.