In a time when diversity is preached, some say intolerance is growing.
Following the alleged beating of two CSU students in April, a group on campus created the “Not Cool at CSU” campaign. The campaign, led by the Healing Action Response Team (HART), placed a half-page ad in Monday’s Collegian and submitted a guest column.
“If you do not support any type of discrimination or harassment, cut this out and display it where others can see it,” the column stated. “This will show your solidarity, provide support to those that have been or could be targets and will help create a culture where everyone can live freely.”
Shay Bright, assistant director of Conflict Resolutions and Student Conduct Services, said the ad was in response to the alleged assault in which two students were allegedly harassed and beaten after defending their gay friends, who were seen kissing at an apartment complex.
Nick Redavid, a senior liberal arts major, and Andrew Herrmann, a freshman biology major, were the students allegedly assaulted April 16.
Redavid and Herrmann said the incident occurred when some of their friends were leaving a party in the University House at Ram’s Pointe apartment complex.
People who were at an upstairs apartment saw two male friends of Redavid and Herrmann kiss goodbye.
Name-calling and insults followed, then an altercation began. When Redavid tried to split it up, he was allegedly punched in the face and then passed out.
Herrmann also tried to defend his friends. After someone said, “You’re fags,” Herrmann responded with, “So what if they are?”
A friend heard Herrmann’s head hit the ground and the next thing Herrmann remembers was waking up, surrounded by police. Herrmann ended up with a cut lip and a swollen eye.
He was so exhausted and upset from the fight, which Herrmann believes lasted three to five minutes, that “I remember going inside and crying myself to sleep,” Redavid said.
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services (GLBTSS) closed its office and spent Monday on the Plaza, trying to get the word out that hate is not accepted at CSU.
The “see a slur, cover it up with something positive” board gave students the chance to cover up words like “spic” and “dyke” with constructive statements such as, “diversity makes the world great” and “hate is not acceptable.”
HART is not just reaching for tolerance for the GLBT community. The program is for anyone who is discriminated against including race, background or religion, Bright said.
“We want to make people aware that these things could happen on campus, and we don’t want them to,” she said. “We are not immune to it.”
“Not Cool at CSU” was created from a similar idea known as “Not in Our Town.” Bright said “Not in Our Town” is a campaign out of Billings, Mont., in which Jews were on the receiving end of hate speech and crimes on Jewish holidays.
After one family had a rock thrown through their son’s bedroom window, an ad featuring a menorah was placed in the newspaper. People were encouraged to cut out the ads and hang them in the windows of their houses to discourage the discrimination.
“Those committing those acts didn’t know who was Jewish,” Bright said.
Bright hopes people will display the ads in residence halls, houses, car windows, etc., so that, “those discriminated and harassed can feel comfort.”
Valerie Wolfe, senior biology major, said she was on the Plaza with GLBTSS to stand up for a section of the community that may not be heard.
“For people who don’t have a loud voice and need support, I’m out here today,” she said. “(Students) need to realize it’s not a GLBT problem but theirs too.”
Cari Merrill can be reached at email@example.com