Second slur found in dorm

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A homophobic slur found printed on a piece of computer paper in a residence hall last Friday prompted a response from both the administration and students.

The slur occurred in the wake of a similar incident in mid-February, where a student’s door was marked with the word “faggot.”

Dean of Students Joseph DiChristina confirmed the incident and declined to name the residence hall or specify the slur.

He said that an investigation is in progress and that criminal prosecution was “an open possibility.”
“Any individual who might be a target of something like this could make that choice,” said DiChristina.

DiChristina also said that discussions were underway to organize an open forum to discuss the incidents and express concerns after spring break, but details were not yet finalized.

“It makes all of us sad. It makes all of us angry,” he said. “None of us have an answer to the why. It causes confusion and frustration. But we have to make a statement that this is not tolerated.”
President James Mullen shared DiChristina’s concern.

“As I said in my message to the campus, I am deeply saddened when someone engages in behavior that is hateful and so far removed from the core of our statement of community,” he said in an e-mail.

In response to the incident, Queers ‘n Allies has organized a “March Against Hate,” to take place March 16 at 8 p.m., starting at the Gator quad.

“Chants, cheers, jeers, anything anyone has to say is fair game during the march,” said Annie Krol, ‘12, vice president of Queers ‘n Allies.

Sarah Bickel, ‘11, public relations chair of QnA, called the march an attempt “to make good out of the bad.”

“People in Queers ‘n Allies, and people not in Queers ‘n Allies as well, didn’t feel as if Allegheny were a comfortable home anymore,” said Bickel. “We felt the need to take back the campus.”

According to Krol, the march came out of a general meeting QnA held earlier this week where attendees expressed their thoughts on the incident.

“People are getting more afraid, more resentful, they don’t feel safe necessarily, and there’s this undercurrent of hatred directed towards a marginalized community that already maybe does not feel safe being open with themselves,” Krol said.

Professor of Communication Arts Courtney Bailey called the occasion to address a possible upside to the incidents.

“There is a kind of unfortunate undercurrent of homophobia on our campus, and sometimes it kind of bubbles up and makes itself really known,” said Bailey. “If there’s any upside at all, it’s that we’re taking more seriously a current of homophobia that’s always been there.”

Bailey stated that there have been indications of this undercurrent in the past, such as in last year’s Campus Climate Survey, which indicated that LGBTQ students were among the least comfortable with the college’s climate.

“I think that these incidents have made the larger community sit up and take notice of something that a lot of us have been aware of for a while,” Bailey said.

She called for that larger community to make themselves heard in responding to the incident.

“I would like to see the campus as a whole stand up and say, ‘This is what we stand for as a community, these are the things we won’t tolerate as a community,’” Bailey said. “That it’s seen not as just an LGBT issue but as a campus community issue.”