University says it’s completely fine for a student to distribute homophobic propaganda to queer people
Administrators at the University of Louisville, US, permitted an unenrolled student to distribute anti-LGBT literature to an ‘Intro to LGBTQ Studies’ class.
Students and faculty members expressed their upset at the university’s response to the student, who passed out homophobic pamphlets and “lurked outside” the class, the module’s professor claimed.
The materials handed out, published by the Christian group Living Waters Publications, described how a “train” is coming for those who are queer, Courier Journal reported today.
University students and staff express outrage and disappointment over university’s ‘inaction’.
“Perhaps you believe you are gay, or maybe you are sympathetic toward homosexuality and you think that what people do sexually is their own business,” the 36-page pamphlet said.
“Whatever the case, I want to convince you that you are sitting in a car on a railroad track with a train coming, and you don’t know it.”
Kalia Story, an associate professor of women and gender studies and Pan-African studies, reported the incident to department leaders, who then contacted administrators.
Pan-African studies department chair Ricky Jones said the Office of Student Affairs met with the student, who warned him that he could return to the class she as long as he provided 48 hours’ notice.
“I want to be clear, we do not believe this is a free speech issue,” said Jones.
“I believe it is an issue of hate speech, and it is an issue of harassment.”
Officials met with the student and explained that he followed campus procedure and, “his intention was only to provide information, rather than to intimate,” a statement provided by a university spokesperson said.
However, the conduct from administrators did not impress the faculty, who lampooned the action as “beyond disturbed”.
“This kind of disregard and dismissive attitude by the Dean of Students Office when it comes to concern of student and faculty safety is not and will not be tolerated by me or my students. It’s blatant disregard,” Story said.
Luke Moore, president of Shades, a queer student organisation, said group members are outraged over the “inaction and incompetence of the University of Louisville, Neeli Bendapudi and her staff, and the Student Affairs office.”
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Shades absolutely condemns the University of Louisville, the Student Affairs Office, and Neeli Bendapudi and her staff…
“They are saying through their actions that they could care less about us,” groups members said in a Facebook statement on Tuesday.
Other students told the paper that they feel unsafe as a result of the student’s actions, coupled with the perceived inaction of staff.
“I should not be afraid to learn my history,” explained Kaelan Strom, a student in the class.
“I should not be afraid to attend a class. I should not be afraid that things may escalate.”