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LGBTQIA+ community faces harassment

Samuel Casey

News Editor

In a campus-wide email on Sunday, Feb. 3, President Sarah Bolton spoke about the instances of vandalism in two separate campus locations this past weekend. According to the email, racist, homophobic and transphobic language were used to target students near a campus house. 

Bolton wrote that harassment of that nature was completely unacceptable and that it was a violation of the expectations, values and policies of the Wooster community. She continued that if those involved were found to be members of The College of Wooster community, they would be held accountable in accordance with the Scot’s Key and might also be addressed by the police. 

Bolton also mentioned the vandalism that had occurred in Kenarden Lodge. Signs for restrooms and student rooms were torn down on multiple floors of the building, including the all-gender restrooms on the all-gender floor. 

Robin Perry ’20, the Student Government Association (SGA) Senator for 2020 and a SafeZone Training Facilitator, commented that they did not have any information beyond what was shared with the all-gender housing community in Kenarden.

In an email to the Voice, Perry wrote, “I know this isn’t exactly new for us. LGBT+ spaces on campus are routinely vandalized, and having strangers shout homophobic and transphobic slurs is something I’m very accustomed to from just walking anywhere near Beall Ave. with my partner.”

Perry told the Voice that they have been committed to advocate for the equality of all queer and trans students at the College.

“This is definitely something I will be keeping up on, and hopefully [the Wooster] campus will be able to come up with some more long-term solutions for these kinds of situations,” they said. 

Bolton announced that the Bias Incident Response Team would discuss the next steps and ways that the College could move forward and address the incidents that took place. She also offered support through campus resources such as the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, Longbrake Wellness Center and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Melissa Chesanko, director of Sexuality and Gender Inclusion at the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, sent the Voice a statement.

“Any time an incident of bias happens on campus, it has a ripple effect larger than those words or behaviors. As a community, we must understand that these incidents are not isolated, but happen in the midst of a national climate where we commonly see discrimination and hate based on so many areas of our identities, including but certainly not limited to, gender identity, gender expression, sexual and romantic identities, race, religion, size, ability, immigration and citizenship status. The impact of this can most acutely be felt by those with multiple marginalized identities, as we witness with the high rates of violence enacted on trans women of color. When bias happens close to home, this presents an opportunity for all of us. Use this as a chance to reach out to your friends who are trans, non-binary, queer or people of color. Show your support through your actions. Reach out to friends or campus resources for your own support. Meanwhile, we must each interrogate the ways that we benefit from systems that are set up to privilege some identities while marginalizing others and use our leverage to work towards equity.”

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