University Students Demand More LGBT Support

Security is the new trend nowadays and, in the case of Illinois State University, it's the most talked about topic on campus.

The school has recently experienced an explosive incident. According to an editorial published in the student paper Vidette Online, it involved an evocative word:

“On September 28, queer people were once more a victim of a heartless and cruel joke, as students from Kappa Sigma Kappa Sigma fraternity at Illinois State University spray-painted the word “F-slur” on one sorority as well as one fraternity that was on the campus.”

The culprits were punished however, that's not enough.

As the individuals involved in the alleged crimes were removed from the fraternity, Kappa Sigma discusses with the university on what they should do in the future, and students are furious.

“Homophobia should have no place at ISU,” the editorial says. “The individuals most impacted by the use of those slurs should feel safe on campus.”

The joke has led to an online petition. In the last week, ISU student Jakai Martin has launched an petition in support of lesbians, gays bisexual, transgender and bisexual students. According to Jakai, the climate of campus hate has reached its highest point. He is determined to eradicate it through a string of demands. The issue is security -but not the traditional kind security, but that which is that is a result of emotion:

“Recently, the culture of queer hate at the university has reached a record-breaking level and queer students aren't feeling secure on campus.”

Jakai's plea is threefold. He asks for three things:

“There are more counselors available for counseling services, and the introduction of a telehealth tool for students”

“A designated safe zone for LGBTQIA students”

“An apology in public from President Terri Gross Kinzy] on ignoring queer students”

The sense of security is certainly a cherished notion in the present”

“Theater cancels Dave Chappelle Show Because It's a “Safe Space'”

“Student Papers Will Encourage Diversity by preventing it from happening as free Speech is substituted for ‘safety'”

“LGBT Group Slams Social Media's Right-Wing Bias and Demands Increased Censorship of ‘Safety'”

It is often the case that “safety” is a stand-in for “agreement.” And disagreement can be a synonym for “hate”:

“University makes Comedian sign a Behavioral Agreement prior to the Charity Show”

“University Schools Students on the importance of free Speech and on the importance of reporting those who make use of it”

“Students at Boston University Demand Ben Shapiro be barred from speaking. Hate Speech is not free Speech'”

ISU President Terri Gross Kinzy shared an Oct. 17th video, in the light of the Greek gaffe. The message she posted, in part:

“In the past few weeks, many people reached out to voice anxiety, fear and anger in reaction to statements and actions. Let me say it out loud that these actions are an affront to the core values of the University. … This University is committed to investigating reports and continues to monitor and examine, in collaboration with the offices of the Student Conduct Office and Communities of Responsibilities as well as local and campus police, as well as police, and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access in The Office of the President. Additionally, the University provides support and resources to those who have been directly or indirectly affected by many offices throughout campus and beyond, including The Dean of Students office, Student Counseling Services, and when necessary, Human Resources. Each member of Illinois State University carries the responsibility of creating an environment that is respectful and concerned that is essential to learning and growth.”

As per the October 19th editorial, there should be additional action:

“We must support those in the LGBTQIA+ community as members have to take on the burden of explaining the reasons and why these actions are harmful as well as informing the community about these issues.”

“ISU should be able to listen and not only listen to voices from the queer community.”

“We must be attentive to the voices of queer people.”

For the purposes of both the articles and petition, besides counseling, ISU already does a number of things.

From the Campus Reform:

“ISU also provides a variety of identified “safe spaces” for its students. The Multicultural Center has a “Green Room” for students to “spend time in silence.” Additionally, there is an “Reflection/ Prayer Room” where students can “spend time in quiet reflection.””

In addition, Student Counseling Services has the “Relaxation Room” to provide students who are in therapy with a “safe and comfortable space.”

The school also made the news in March due to its focus on sensitivity. 

But, the progress continues. For instance, the initiative has garnered 2,903 signatures.

Will ISU do more? It appears likely.

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