Last week, a horrifying and homophobic flyer spread across Cleveland State University.
The poster boasted inaccurate statistics about suicide rates among the LGBTI community. It also showed a man with a noose around his neck and big, bold letters reading: ‘Follow your fellow f****ts.’
Numerous copies of the flyer appeared the same day the university opened its first LGBT center.
Ronald M. Berkman, President of CSU issued a statement after students removed the posters.
The statement reaffirmed the university’s commitment to both respect and free speech. Many critics saw the statement as using free speech to defend the flyers.
Now, the university released a follow-up statement, admitting their ‘inadequate initial response’.
In the statement, the university reveals they’re investing in sensitivity education. They are also creating an advisory committee to address the concerns from students.
Here is the new statement in full:
On Thursday, October 12, appalling white supremacist flyers attacking our LGBTQ+ community and racial and religious minorities were discovered in the Main Classroom Building at Cleveland State University. The flyers were immediately removed. Hate has no place in our community. It never will.
We unequivocally condemn the abhorrent message on these flyers. An attack on one group is an attack on our whole campus. We unwaveringly value our marginalized students, faculty and staff, we honor them and we will always support them. Therefore, we must come together as one to show that inclusion and respect will prevail.
We also recognize that this hateful act and the University’s inadequate initial response made many members of our diverse community of students, faculty and staff feel unsafe, unheard and unvalued.
The safety of CSU’s students, faculty and staff is the University’s highest priority. If you need any support at any time, please visit www.csuohio.edu/lgbtq. Many campus resources are available, including the new LGBTQ+ Center, the Counseling Center and the Care Team.
We also want to affirm that our community is a welcoming one. To this end, we will invest in ongoing Cultural Humility and Cultural Sensitivity education that addresses the intersectionality of race, class, sexual orientation, gender and religious issues. Additionally, the undersigned will work with CSU’s community to co-create a collaborative advisory committee that will devise a plan to address the specific concerns we have heard from you.
Meetings have already been held to start organizing this committee with key campus organizations and the broader community in Cleveland and the state of Ohio. We ask that you play an active role in this conversation. Given the broader nature of this attack, we invite representatives of all diverse groups to participate. To do so, please contact CSU Chief Diversity Officer Dr. Maurice Stinnett at 216.523.7292 or [email protected].
We will be transparent about our progress and provide regular updates to the community through the University’s Diversity and Engagement Division website at www.csuohio.edu/engagement, and distribute updates through the University’s social media channels.
Standing together as one proud CSU and the greater Cleveland community, we will emerge from this process stronger, more committed and more united than ever.