April 21, 2010
Miami Student: I’m A Hate Crime Victim.
OXFORD, Ohio — Police continue to investigate a fight that started at a gay and lesbian student organization event early Saturday morning. One of the victims told 9News he believes the attack was a hate crime. The Miami University Queer/Straight Alliance hosted a drag show to raise money for Operation Smile at StadiUm Bar and Grill in Oxford. The co-president of the student group SPECTRUM said the group holds four shows a year to raise money for a variety of charities. Ben Collings, a Miami University junior, attended the event with his boyfriend. He says when he was in the restroom, he overheard others using derogatory words for homosexuals. Collings pointed out the event was in the upstairs portion of the StadiUm bar, required a secondary cover charge to enter, and the second floor restrooms were not accessible to those who were on the first floor. He says he overheard some saying, “[Expletives] do not belong in society”. “Tensions escalate, I go to use the restroom, I get pushed, a fight breaks out in the restroom and it kinda filters outside, more people get involved,” said Collings. Collings said his boyfriend ran across the street to the Oxford Police Department to alert them to the attack while he followed the individuals where a fight ensued. Collings suffered a broken cheek bone, broken nose and receive two black eyes. After the fight, he was taken to the hospital for treatment and underwent numerous tests. He says his injuries may require reconstructive surgery. Oxford Police say it was Collings who initiated the fight, and so far, they have not labeled the crime as a “hate incident” or “hate crime,” but they continue to investigate. “I was assaulted because of my sexual orientation, if you want to define it as that – if you want to define it as assault, that’s what it’s going to be defined as,” said Collings. Collings also told 9News he believes if the incident involving him is not labeled a hate crime, he believes an attack on his boyfriend inside the bar is a hate crime. The student group SPECTRUM said this isn’t the first time something like this has happened in Oxford. “Every time it has happened, it has never been labeled a hate crime, most people react with frustration or anger, so we just at this point are trying to bring more public attention to the problems on campus,” said co-president Mat Hall. Collings said despite his injuries, he hopes his experience will help others. “If this little bit of injury prevents someone being beaten to death later on, then of course, this was worth it,” he said. A silent protest is scheduled Thursday night starting at 7 p.m. outside Shriver Center on the campus of Miami University as a response to Saturday’s incident. The event is open to the public.
April 22, 2010
Miami students rallying against hate.
By Meagan Engle, Oxford Press.
OXFORD — Miami University students are organizing a town hall forum and silent Rally Against Hate on campus today, April 22, in response to allegations that two (sic) gay students were assaulted Uptown on Saturday night. Miami’s Student Senate issued a resolution this week condemning violence and discriminatory behavior against Miami students. The resolution came in response to two male students’ claims that they “encountered verbal and physical degradation regarding their sexual identities” Friday, April 16. According to Oxford police, the two 21-year-olds got into a verbal confrontation with another man in the bathroom of bar around 12:45 p.m. The students followed the man outside the bar, where he punched and kicked one student in the face, according to reports. Oxford police are investigating the assault, but aren’t considering it a hate crime because the students followed the man out of the bar. The suspect is described as less than 6 feet tall, with brown spiked hair. He was wearing a salmon polo shirt and charcoal shorts at the time, according to police. The silent rally will follow a town hall meeting on how themed parties such as “Ghetto Fest” — an off-campus bash put on by local residents — affect the student body and Miami’s image. The town hall meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Heritage Room at Shriver Center. The rally will start immediately following on the west patio, said student Alex Schaefer, who is helping organize the event. Rally participants will be asked to wear a piece of duct tape over their mouths. They are also asked to wear Miami gear and bring signs with slogans about intolerance, discrimination and hate. Buttons with the words “No hate on my campus – Miami” also will be distributed, Schaefer said.
October 25, 2010
Miami continues gender-neutral housing.
By Ethan Carey
In an effort to promote a more inclusive environment for students, Miami University has implemented a gender-neutral housing option for those who are uncomfortable in the sex-segregated housing model. According to Demere Woolway, assistant director of the Office of Diversity Affairs and coordinator of GLBTQ Services, the gender-neutral housing option allows more students to feel comfortable with their living arrangements on campus. “At Miami, (gender-neutral housing) is an option for students who are in their second year or older who want to live on campus and who want to choose a roommate not necessarily on the basis of their legal sex,” Woolway said. “This is a good option for some transgender individuals whose legal sex may not be the sex with which they identify. It may also be an option for whom sex-segregated living is not a good option, so for example a gay man who is more comfortable living with heterosexual women.” The gender-neutral housing option is in its first year of implementation, according to Woolway, who said there is a limited amount of space for students seeking this type of housing situation. This year’s program has allotted 12 beds within Heritage Commons and Hahne Hall, while plans for next year will provide 16 beds for students showing need. “This is the first year of implementation,” she said. “Last year was the year that the policies were written and it was designed, and this year it has been implemented on a very, very small scale.” Woolway said gender-neutral housing situations typically include suite-style living where students have four people and they all use one bathroom. According to Vicka Bell-Robinson, associate director of the Office of Residence Life, limited space requires students have a legitimate reason to request gender-neutral housing. “There is not a lot of space so there must be a good reason,” Bell-Robinson said. “This program is really geared specifically towards people who are uncomfortable living in traditional corridors.” The major reason this option has been offered is to help those students who feel sex-segregated living arrangements are not the best option, Bell-Robinson said. According to Coordinator of Residence Life Jamie Workman, 12 students have requested gender-neutral housing in its first year of implementation, but only 11 of them chose to live within the suite-style living arrangements. Junior Matt McCandless, a former resident assistant in Morris Hall, said offering a gender-neutral housing option is an easy way to promote diversity and ensure all students are comfortable with their on-campus housing arrangement. “I think that this is a good idea because members of the GLBTQ community are treated differently and I have seen it up close as a resident assistant,” McCandless said. “I think the gender-neutral housing option will offer students more security in their living arrangements and will promote a more positive environment at Miami.” Woolway said while gender-neutral housing is becoming a nationwide trend, it has only been implemented on a small scale. “I can tell you that nationally many of my colleagues at different universities have programs like this in place and it has remained a very small number of students who take advantage of it,” Woolway said. “The wide majority of students are comfortable living in sex-segregated housing, that’s what they’ve grown up with, that’s what their expectations are.” Bell-Robinson said while the program is still young, the university hopes to continue offering a gender-neutral option into the future.
November 14, 2011
University alumnus marks LGBT Alumni Association’s founding with two scholarships.
The 15th anniversary of the 1809 LGBT Alumni Association’s founding marked more than just a milestone for the organization. A new scholarship for LGBT students will be offered thanks to alumnus William Manchester. Manchester graduated from Miami University in 1959. As a member of the 1809 LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Alumni Association, Manchester wanted to give back to the school and show his support for the LGBT community, according to Demere Woolway, assistant director to Office of Diversity Affairs and Coordinator of LGBT Services. Manchester has pledged $185,000 to help make the scholarships possible. From this money, two scholarships will be created; one of which will be need-based offered for any student and the other for the LGBT students, Woolway said. “It’s amazing to think Miami made that much of an impact on someone that after they leave they still continue to give back in more than just one way,” sophomore Margret Allard said. “It really shows how much support and love the school has.” Manchester’s first gift to the school will support the 1809 LGBT Alumni Scholarship. Students are nominated for the scholarship by the LGBT alumni board and the coordinator of the office of GLBTQ, according to Michael Kumler, director of development in Student Affairs. “It’s wonderful that we have alumni who love Miami and who want to celebrate the changes,” Woolway said. Although Manchester himself experienced some negative times at Miami, the progress that has been made encouraged him to give back according to Billy Price, president of Spectrum. “I think it’s great coming forth and setting up scholarships, it shows support not just through the administration but from the alumni as well,” Price said. The second scholarship Manchester donated will go towards the university’s general need based program. Students are eligible to receive the need-based scholarship based on their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form completed as part of the application process, according to Kumler. The two scholarships provided by Manchester will be set up for $1,000 each.
“Generally, [the scholarships] are $1,000, but depending on availability of funds they may be more,” Kumler said. ” Because both gifts are being endowed by other donors, Manchester’s gift doesn’t actually affect the timeline of the scholarships being awarded.” Both scholarships support the university’s For Love and Honor campaign. The campaign is designed to enhance student learning opportunities, student financial aid and faculty support along with improving the campus.
March 15, 2012
Miami officials face discrimination lawsuit.
By Adam Giffi.
Kaeden Kass is a transgender male student who is facing a difficult decision with potential legal implications for Miami University. After applying to be a resident assistant (RA) Kass received a job offer. The complication: Miami is requiring Kass to reside with female roommates because his birth certificate states he is a female. Kass feared this would happen when he sought the job. “I knew I would be stirring the pot if I applied, but I didn’t want to not take opportunities just because I thought I might run into controversy,” Kass said. “I was very clear with Residence Life from the start that if they wanted to put me in a sex-segregated corridor it would need to be a male one because living in a female corridor would not be acceptable for me and they assured me this was fine.” According to Kass, he was reassured when he saw on the general application form every candidate fills out there was not a line for ‘sex’ but rather ‘identified gender.’ Kass explained why he did not wish to be placed in a female dorm. “I’m just as male as any other guy walking around Miami,” Kass said. “As soon as I am forced into an all-female space, my [male] identity gets erased. I just cannot handle being invisible like that anymore.” However, a few weeks into the process Kass said he was informed that the Dean of Students, Susan Mosley-Howard, representatives from the Office of Residence Life and others were meeting to discuss his application. Shortly thereafter, Kass met with Mosley-Howard, where he was informed they were going to house him on the basis of his legal sex. “I was told that they have to go by my legal records and they kept informing me repeatedly that legally I’m a female,” Kass said. “I felt that I was treated like a delusional person who doesn’t know I’m trans and who is not aware of the complexities of my situation. It felt condescending.” Kass said he has filed an official charge of discrimination with the Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity against Mosley-Howard as well as against Robin Parker, general counsel in the Office of the President and against Jerry Olsen, director of the Office of Residence Life. Demere Woolway, Miami’s coordinator of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (GLBTQ) Services, was involved in the talks about Kass’ case. She said she is displeased the university has been unable to accommodate Kass thus far. “I think it’s really unfortunate that we weren’t able to find a housing situation that was what was appropriate for this student,” Woolway said. “I personally feel that we should be able to house people on the basis of their gender identity and not just their sex.” Not only has the process made Kass feel uncomfortable, he said ha feels it is in violation of university policies: the University Statement Asserting Respect for Human Diversity and the University Statement of Non-Discrimination. Both of these contain language stating that all at Miami must work to ensure everyone feels comfortable and the latter states: “Miami University is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, military status, or veteran status.” Kass sees his case as directly contradictory to these statements. “I don’t see how this is not discriminating against me,” Kass said. “At Miami we have all this rhetoric about embracing diversity and not discriminating against anyone on any basis and Miami is not living up to these values.” Woolway agreed that on some level the statements are not being adhered to. “It gets complicated,” Woolway said. “I do think at the very least the decision is not respectful to the spirit of those policies. The spirit is that we are going to pay attention to people’s gender identity and fully respect their gender identities. But I’m not a lawyer and don’t know if that language is legally binding.” According to Associate General Counsel in the Office of the President Chris Wilson, the university cannot provide any information regarding whether such a complaint has been filed. “I can tell you that the university takes all reports of discrimination seriously and has policies and procedures in place for investigating complaints of discrimination,” Wilson said. Kass said President David Hodge has notified him that an investigation by an outside party will begin now and could go until May 5. Mosley-Howard was unavailable for comment and Olsen declined to comment. First-year Katie Tank explained why she feels university officials took the position they have. “Miami has probably chosen to take this stand to try to eliminate controversy,” Tank said. “They probably thought sticking to a legal definition of gender would be the easiest way to do this, but it looks like there will be controversy anyway.” Kass is nearing a decision on his job offer. “I feel like I’ve already lost,” Kass said. “They’ve already basically said they aren’t going to respect my gender identity and so I pretty much have no choice but to deny the job.” Both Kass and Woolway expressed a desire to raise awareness of these issues and encourage a greater level of acceptance on campus. “Trans students are members of our community here; we should be working to make our residence halls and other places on campus open and inclusive for anybody that is a part of our community,” Woolway said.
March 28, 2012
Attack On Gay College Students Investigated.
Police Seek Public’s Help Finding Attackers.
OXFORD, Ohio — Two college students were left bloody and battered [on March 24th], and investigators said they believe the two were attacked because they’re gay. Miami University student Michael Bustin was walking from one of the establishments on the campus with a man he’d met, talking and minding their own business, when he said they were blindsided with blows. “I was just walking my friend back from the drag show that was being put on,” Bustin said. “We were both holding hands for a few seconds. There was nothing to it. We were just holding hands.” Bustin said he heard someone yell a derogatory slur before four men walked up to his friend. “Out of nowhere, he started punching (my friend). I got in the way of the two, saying we wanted to go home. We didn’t want any harm. Then, I got sucker punched twice in the face,” Bustin said. Bustin said he remembers the four men giving him several more swings before some students stepped in. “If they weren’t there, I’d probably by lying in the hospital right now,” Bustin said. The university responded swiftly, sending a bulletin to the community, and Bustin said the dean reached out to him immediately. “It actually made me feel humbled that the university looked into my matter,” Bustin said. “I just want this to be a message. Just stop hate.” Oxford police said they’re still working on sketches of the attackers.
March 29, 2012
Spectrum holds summit to facilitate GLBTQ action.
After holding the first Love, Honor and Pride Summit last week along with many other events to celebrate LGBT Awareness Week, Spectrum has put together a course of action to further build a sense of community within the GLBTQ community.With almost 40 people coming together for the event, including two volunteers from IBM to help lead, ideas were generated to figure out a way to garner a greater sense of community with each other and within the entire Miami University community. Billy Price, co-president of Spectrum, said he greatly appreciated the IBM members and their influence on the summit. “They were great facilitators,” he said. “Having them lead us and learning from their strategic planning, we were really able to figure out what we as a group thought were the most important steps to take for Spectrum in the future.” The Coordinator of GBLTQ Services, Demere Woolway, described the event as a much needed opportunity to bring people together to flush out and plot a five-year plan to help better create a welcoming and encompassing GLBTQ community at Miami. “We generated so many good ideas of where we could go in the future,” Woolway said. “With the help of the IBM volunteers we were able to prioritize ideas, narrow them down and pick five specific actions we plan to fulfill in the near future.” These five actions included encouraging outreach toward high school Gay Straight Alliance groups to help ease students’ fears of taking the next step into a college community, improving training for faculty and staff, having the alumni create an “It Gets Better” video to help show how far the GLBTQ community has come and where it can go from here, creating a special dinner or banquet at the beginning of each semester to welcome and bring together GLBTQ students and improving and expanding on gender-neutral housing and restrooms. Co-President of Spectrum, Mark Noviski, said he believes Miami has successfully made a place for the GLBTQ community, but there are still steps it must take to encompass everyone. “Miami hasn’t really fully developed a place for the transgender community,” Noviski said. “They need to have a tough conversation and flush out their policies to make everyone feel more accepting on this campus.” Sophomore Gabi Jellison, one of three students currently living in gender-neutral housing on campus, agreed with Noviski. “Miami has the potential to be a fantastic place for the GLBTQ community,” Jellison said. “I’ve met many members of the faculty and staff who are wonderful, passionate people that make a point to celebrate diversity. However, so much could be improved within the university structure alone. Many of my friends in the GLBTQ community are surprised that I live in a gender neutral suite and had no idea that it was even an option for them.” Woolway said she also believes there is room to grow, and with the success of the summit under their belts, Spectrum now has a foundation of how they plan to create an encompassing sense of equality throughout the Miami community in the future.
April 5, 2012
UC and Miami to Host Rallies Against Hate Crimes.
Coinciding events are in response to recent assault on gay students in Oxford.
University of Cincinnati and Miami University student organizations will hold rallies at 5 p.m. Thursday in response to the March 24 assault of two students — one from UC and one from Miami — on the Miami campus. The events are meant to show support for GLBT people and call for an end to hate crimes. Miami University student Michael Bustin and a male friend were reportedly walking home from a drag show when someone yelled a derogatory slur at them. Bustin’s friend was then attacked by four men who also reportedly assaulted Bustin when he tried to help, according to WLWT-TV. The two men had been holding hands during their walk home. Miami University sent a memo to the community and reached out to Bustin soon afterward. The rallies’ Facebook page says the other man was a University of Cincinnati student. The police have released a sketch of one of the accused attackers and are seeking the public’s help to find those involved. Both events will begin at 5 p.m. Those attending the Miami rally are encouraged to wear “Love is the New Label/White Out Hate” shirts or just white T-shirts or tops. After the rally, participants will line up holding hands in a demonstration of solidarity and to show that “no one deserves to be hurt for showing affection.” More from the rallies’ Facebook page: “We, the students of the LGBTQA alliances of Miami University and University of Cincinnati, stand united in our demand for a safe places to live, learn, work and show affection. It is unacceptable for anyone to be assaulted, but it is especially repulsive for the victims to be targeted because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other classification.” The Miami rally will take place at the Phi Delt Gates on the Miami Campus, while the UC event will take place at the corner of Martin Luther King Drive and Clifton Avenue. The events are being organized by Miami Spectrum and UC Alliance. For more information, click here or search on Facebook: “Emergency Action: Miami & UC Unite Against Hate!”
June 1, 2012
The passing of Religion Professor, Roy Bowen Ward.
To Our Miami University Family, It is with great sadness that the 1809 LGBT Alumni Board announces the passing of Religion Professor Dr. Roy Bowen Ward on Sunday, May 20, 2012. With his death we have lost a great person and family member—a critical catalyst who propelled the Miami University LGBT Community forward, making it much stronger today than would have been imagined possible back in the 1980s when GLA was first founded. Jeff Logel ’89, member of the 1809 LGBT Alumni Board, voices the sentiment of the Board. In citing Audre Lorde, Jeff says what many of us feel: “I have come to believe over and over again that what is not important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” Roy Ward challenged Jeff and others to find their voice. “He challenged me to speak up, strongly and loudly, even when I knew the consequences would be ‘bruising or misunderstood.’ I will never be silent. Silence equals death. The personal is political. A strong voice and even stronger politics destroy the vacuum allowing others to blaze trails of justice. Let me be clearly understood—Roy taught me never to fear again.” A small summary of Roy’s commitment to Miami includes the following: In August 1986, Linda Singer and Roy Bowen Ward taught the first course directly and explicitly about gay and lesbian issues on the Miami campus. The course, entitled “The Homosexual and Lesbian Experience,” championed a campus of inclusion and a voice for LGBT acceptance. In September 1986, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance (GLA), which now exists as Spectrum, formed on the Miami University campus and was recognized as a student group. Roy Bowen Ward, Professor of Religion, affiliate in Women’s Studies, and History, served as the first faculty adviser to the newly formed group. Roy was the only faculty/staff member willing to serve in this role—for which he received much verbal and written harassment. His bravery ensured a vibrant LGBT student group from 1986 to the present—we owe so much to Roy! He was always such a force for social justice and will be missed by so many. In his honor, the Miami University 1809 LGBT Alumni Association annually awards a $1,000 scholarship in his name. There will be a memorial service on Sunday, June 3, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. in the Sesquicentennial Chapel on Miami’s campus. Roy’s four children will be attending. Please spread the word, and hopefully you can join Jeff Logel and other members of the 1809 LGBT Alumni Board at the memorial. The 1809 LGBT Alumni Association will also be honoring Dr. Ward during our reception on Saturday, June 16, 2012 during Alumni Weekend. The reception will be from 2-4 p.m. in the Resource Room of the Women’s Center and Office of GLBTQ Services in 206 MacMillan Hall. If your plans include returning to Miami for Alumni Weekend—and we hope they do—please join us to pay tribute to Roy through pictures, stories and spending time with friends. If you are unable to attend, please feel free to share your stories and/or memories of Roy with Co-Chairs Andy Zeisler (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Amy Greenbaum (email@example.com), and we will make sure that your voice is shared. In shared grief, 1809 LGBT Alumni
September 7, 2012
Discussing diversity: Lawyer rules actions of Miami officials non-discriminatory.
Discrimination charges filed last school year by Kaeden Kass, a transgender male student, have been dropped. School policies go unchanged, but discussion continues. According to Kass, controversy arose after he applied and received a job offer as a resident assistant (RA) last year and was denied his request to live in a male residence hall. Kass said discussion began between Dean of Students Susan Mosley-Howard and representatives from the Office of Residence Life. According to Kass, he was informed shortly after he would be housed according to the gender listed on his birth certificate—female. Kass said he was assigned to Flower residence hall in a suite with females, but turned it down. According to Kass, he now lives off campus with another male. “I didn’t want to be a part of a system that was rejecting me,” Kass said. “If they’re not going to really stand up and think critically about what diversity means and challenge themselves to live up to their values then I don’t want to be a part of it.” Kass filed a charge of discrimination with Miami University’s Office of Equity and Equal Opportunity against Mosley-Howard as well as Robin Parker—general counsel in the Office of the President—and Jerry Olson, director of the Office of Residence Life. “I had to name specific people who I thought were discriminating against me, but it’s really not a people thing; it’s a system thing,” Kass said. “It’s hard to change the system.” According to Kass, the system in place does not accommodate certain students, including but not limited to homosexuals and transgender individuals. “We’re ignoring their identities and making them live with people that they can’t identify with—a situation which can more often than not be alienating and hostile,” Kass said. According to Olson, Parker—who declined to comment—is the school official that would normally handle such cases but could not oversee Kass’ after being named in the complaint. Olson said as a result an outside party was brought in to do the investigation. According to Kass, the investigation ended in May after being ruled non-discriminatory by a lawyer from Columbus, Ohio, Betty Stanton. Kass said school policy remains unchanged aside from the RA application, which now asks for students’ ‘sex’ rather than ‘identified gender’. According to Mosley-Howard, there is no flaw in the system as Kass believes there to be. “There are no other changes because the issue was not the policy or the process, so those things are still the same,” Mosley-Howard said. According to Olson, if a similar situation arose it is impossible to know if it would be handled the same way. “I think every situation winds up being unique, and we want every student to have the opportunity to serve in leadership roles,” Olson said. “Whether [a different case] would wind up being exactly the same is hard to tell because every case is different, but there is no interest on the part of our department to limit who is eligible to apply, and who is accepted to be an RA.” Though he did not comment on the outcome of the case, Olson said he acknowledges Kass’ feelings. “I don’t want any student to ever feel as if he or she has been treated unfairly—that’s awful,” Olson said. “I believe that Kaeden had felt he had been discriminated against, and we have to be able to respond well to students who feel that’s what occurred here at the university.” According to Mosley-Howard, Kass was treated just as any other student would be. “Each time a student applies to be an RA we look at the set of circumstances that they present, and then of course the process is exactly the same for every student,” Mosley-Howard said. “The process is very consistent across the board.” Along with frustration over the outcome, Kass said the controversy got a lot of unexpected media attention, which led to hurtful comments that had a damaging effect on him. “With the media, it’s so easy for people to de-personalize stuff,” Kass said. “It’s so easy for people to forget that I’m an actual human being.” According to Demere Woolway, Miami University’s coordinator of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBTQ) Services, negative reactions like the ones Kaeden experienced often stem from peoples’ lack of familiarity with transgender individuals. “When you’re born, ‘is it a boy or is it a girl?’ is the very first question you ask and it continues in elementary school,” Woolway said. “Girls line up here and boys line up there. We grow up in a world that says this is the way things are, and it’s hard to question something like that.” Kass said he thinks people may have reacted differently if they understood his motivation behind filing the charges was not to hurt anyone, but to fight for his rights. “I’m just a person who’s trying to live the best life I can, and who’s trying to be the happiest that I can be,” Kass said. “I think that everyone deserves that right—that’s why this is so important to me.” According to Woolway, Kass’ case was not in vain. “The end result was obviously not what he was hoping for,” Woolway said. “At the same time it has allowed us to have a conversation about how we are serving transgender students. We have been able to talk a little more publicly about how we as a university can serve students who don’t fit gender binaries very well.” Woolway said she is in touch with colleagues across the country whose universities are also looking for alternative ways to accommodate students in similar cases. According to Woolway, even before she came to Miami in 2009 there was discussion of expanding gender-neutral housing on campus, which would allow male and female students to choose to live together. According to Kass, this option should be in place in existing residence halls. “How do you maintain a binary sexed system when the lines between sexes and genders are blurred?” Kass said. “You really can’t. That’s where a gender-neutral approach comes in.” There are a number of gender-neutral housing openings currently available in Hahne Hall for students with substantial reason to opt into it, but Kass said he does not feel that is acceptable. “The ‘substitute’ that we’ve put in place to ‘deal’ with trans students is inadequate and virtually unknown,” Kass said. “The fact [that] it’s so underground is stigmatizing. It’s shoved in the corner of the university and is only available to second-year students and up.” According to Vicka Bell-Robinson, associate director for the Office of Residence Life, last December the idea of offering gender-neutral housing in Heritage Commons was brought up prior to—not in connection with—Kass’ case. Bell-Robinson said a survey was sent out Aug. 1 to Miami students asking their opinion on gender-neutral housing options being available in the future. According to Bell-Robinson, the survey results should be in by the end of September, and will hopefully help determine whether the option should be offered. According to Kass, though this option will help accommodate transgender students, it does not address the bigger issue. “We need to acknowledge trans students’ identities and stop treating them like freaks,” Kass said. “We also need to break down the sex-segregated system as a whole, which is the larger culprit that leads to discrimination like this.” Kass said his case is not the focal point of the issue at hand. “My case was a symptom of the real problem,” Kass said. “People can’t forget about it. It will change if people keep talking.” According to Woolway, the bigger issue is peoples’ refusal to accept and respect the identity of transgender individuals. “Regardless of the decision in this particular instance, GLBTQ Services is going to continue talking about the needs of trans people—continue to push people to examine their policies and practices to make sure that we are doing our best to include everybody on this campus,” Woolway said. According to Kass, changes to the system are necessary, and he realizes it will be a slow process. “I know the issue is complicated and it’s hard to see where the problems are and what exactly should be done about them,” Kass said. “Because just as the issue is two-fold, the solution must be.”
October 25, 2012
Brotherhood urges respect on and off ice.
Over the past year and a half, through hours of practice and travel for games, the Miami University men’s hockey team has stood united behind more than just their love for the game. The team has been spreading the message that athletes should be judged by how well they play their sport, rather than irrelevant factors such as race or sexual orientation. On Oct. 15, the You Can Play campaign, a project supporting respect and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes, released a video featuring Miami hockey players as they talked about openly gay student manager, Brendan Burke, who was killed in a car accident in 2010. According to Senior Curtis McKenzie, Burke’s death spurred the inception of the You Can Play campaign by Brendan’s father Brian Burke and brother Patrick Burke. The video is a tribute to the legacy Burke left on the team and its message is very simple: “If you can play, then you can play.” Head Coach Rico Blasi said Burke’s attitude was one to admire. “One of the things Brendan always talked about was that it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, or black, or green; if you can do a certain job it shouldn’t matter.” Blasi said. “He was genuine, compassionate and just himself. He didn’t try to hide anything or be somebody that he wasn’t. Just that alone is a great message for everybody.” Blasi said that although the You Can Play campaign got its start in hockey, due to the Burke family’s strong ties to the sport, the message is directed at athletic teams of all types, and further—at society. “We’re all in this together – who are we to judge?” Blasi said. “If everyone could just learn a little of this [message], and be aware of it, I think our society would be better.” Blasi said he is deeply upset that gay slurs, fliers and other displays of insensitivity continue to be evident on Miami’s campus. Still, Blasi and the team are focused on all of the positive progress that has been made through the project so far, and the hope is that any negative feedback can be changed. According to McKenzie, the project has grown rapidly since its inception, reaching the NHL and college sports teams of all types across the country. “So far it’s been a great success, but its still developing, I think, as well,” McKenzie said. Senior Brian Mattison said he feels the campaign is a step in the right direction. “I think that the campaign will bring sports teams closer to their teammates. In terms of Miami’s campus, I think it can have a big influence on helping people feel more comfortable expressing their sexual orientation.” More videos and information about the You Can Play campaign can be found online at youcanplayproject.org. Anyone, and any team, can get involved by taking the online pledge to promote equality and respect in sports. In regards to getting more athletic teams and students at Miami on board, Blasi said it is not for him to decide. “If they want to do it because they feel strongly about it then I would encourage them to do it,” he said. “Everybody has to do things for themselves, we’re just trying to deliver the message.”
November 29, 2012
LGBTQ group Spectrum hosts first ‘Queer Prom’.
On Nov. 29, a small group of students gathered at the Goggin Ice Center Lounge to attend an event that was the first of its kind on Miami University’s Campus. Queer Prom, hosted by Spectrum, is a semi-formal event for LGBTQ students and allies at Miami University. Spectrum is Miami’s undergraduate LGBTQ-straight alliance and is known for sponsoring events that promote activism, awareness and acceptance according to Co-President senior Billy Price. Spectrum often hosts drag shows as its primary fundraiser and social event. The Queer Prom event is part of a push to refocus Spectrum’s efforts to host more social events on campus, according to Spectrum Co-President junior Matt Metzler. “This event was small this year, in part because we spent such a short time planning for it,” Metzler said. “For the first time ever putting it on, I think we had a great turnout and it has set us up for many more great events in the future.” Sophomore Jacob Turnbow, the social chair of Spectrum and the main planner for Queer Prom, said the event was tough to pull off on such short notice. “A lot of Spectrum members have been asking for an event like this one for a long time and I’m glad we were able to get it together,” Turnbow said. “I am very proud that Miami is accepting enough to host a potentially provocative event like this one.” Couple Connor Wilkinson and Kendal Keiser met in their small-town high school and said the event was particularly special for them. “I have never been around this many gay people in one place before,” Wilkson said. “[Queer Prom] has been fun and a great experience.” “It is great to see people out and being themselves,” Keiser said. “One of my favorite parts of being [at Queer Prom] is that every type of couple and every person is welcome.” First-year Lilly Barger compared Queer Prom to her high school’s prom. Barger said she would have loved to be out in high school especially for prom. Barger said she wore a suit to prom when she would have felt more comfortable in a ball gown. “Many of us weren’t out in high school or couldn’t be very outgoing about it if we were,” Barger said. “This event can’t replace the high school experience, but it does remind us that there are places where we can be ourselves.” Senior Dylan Mosley was an attendee who had been out for his high school proms. He said the biggest difference that he felt between the events was the size. However, according to Mosley and a number of others at the event, the small size was not necessarily a negative point. “Most of the people here (at Queer Prom) already know each other, the event is really small, but I think it is more comfortable for some people,” Mosley said. Queer Prom was included in the Spectrum sponsored “Out Week” activities and marked the last major event of the semester. According to Turnbow, Spectrum has already begun planning for its largest and most visible event “Awareness Week” which is scheduled to begin March 19.
June 25, 2013
Miami University Makes Strides Toward Acceptance of Gay Students
By Katie Chaffee & Chelsea Davis & Lauren Smith & Megan Walsh.
Students and alumni say that Miami University has created a climate of acceptance for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer students, despite the school’s longstanding conservative reputation and location in a deeply conservative part of the state. “I think the biggest obstacle hindering Miami’s accepting of the LGBTQ community is the campus’s tendency toward conservative values,” said Matt Metzler, an English education and English literature double major and co-president of the campus LGBTQ group Spectrum. “There is a long-standing conflation of conservative values and anti-gay views.”Miami University was awarded 4.5 out of 5 stars on the LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index compiled by Campus Pride, an advocacy group for LGBT students. The score was based on Miami’s LGBT resource center and course offerings, among other factors. By comparison, Campus Pride gave Central State University 1 star, Wright State University 3.5 stars, University of Cincinnati 4 stars, and Ohio State University a perfect 5 stars. The University of Dayton is not included in the listings. LGBT resources and events at Miami include pride parades, galas, awareness week and a number of organizations. Miami also holds a yearly Lavender Graduation. Scheduled the day after graduation, the ceremony honors LGBTQ and allied graduates. Metzler said one of his proudest moments at Miami was in October 2011, when gay and straight students joined forces for a Unite Miami rally to protest the planned appearance of members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church on campus. “They were originally coming for a class but then they decided that they were going to picket while they were here,” said Metzler, “and that’s obviously a really sensitive subject for the LGBT community.” Acceptance of gay and lesbian students at Miami is not complete, according to Carol Stubblefield, administrative assistant in the Office of Student Affairs at Miami University Hamilton. “A female student came in (to the office) just the other day in tears for having been picked on or bothered in class by the professor. There needs to be more direction and more experience for teachers,” she said. “They need to be more aware of these students.” Stubblefield, who graduated from Miami University Hamilton in 1988, said the university was more judgmental when she was a student. Increased inclusiveness at Miami fits within a national trend at colleges and universities, according to GLAAD, an advocacy group formerly called the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. “Universities have become more inclusive of LGBT issues in their diversity services offices or having a specific program for LGBT services,” said Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Entertainment and Operations Coordinator. “In recent months a number of universities have amended their student insurance programs to address the needs of transgender students.” Townsend cited a recent incident at Emerson College, in Boston, where one of the school’s fraternities raised funds for their trans brother’s surgery. Janet Hurn, 48, a Miami alumna and full-time faculty member at Miami Middletown and Miami Hamilton campuses, has a life-partner in fellow Miami alumnae Tina Gregory. Miami recognizes that she is in a domestic partnership and the couple receives benefits from the university. Hurn said as a student in the 1980s, she used to feel like a second-class citizen, but no longer harbors those feelings. Metzler, the campus LGBTQ group co-president, said one adjustment Miami could still make is to take gender identity into account for all first-year and transfer students’ housing applications. “The first step will be to make sure that Miami advertises the existing genderneutral housing opportunities that they offer,” said Metzler. “The only place to currently learn about these opportunities is on the GLBTQ Services website.” The challenge facing Miami is the same as the challenge facing the country as a whole, said Hurn: learning to accept differences. Beyond issues of sexual orientation and identification, we need to become “cognizant of differences and a tolerant society,” she said.
August 2, 2013
TransKids: Miami University Research on Transgender Children Could Change Attitudes.
By Nicole George.
Miami University researchers hope a 10-year study with transgender children and their families will help people for generations to come. The TransKids Project is gathering information through continuing interviews and surveys of families with gender-variant children. It’s some of the first available research on a non-clinical sample of families with gender non-conforming children. “The broad aim is to increase awareness and understanding of these families’ experiences raising their children in order to reduce prejudice and discrimination,” said Kate Kuvalanka, an assistant professor of family studies at Miami who performed other research with LGBT families. “We also hope to better inform educators, health care professionals and policymakers as we learn about the challenges our families are facing in their schools, in therapists’ and doctors’ offices, and other community settings.” A majority of parents in the study are striving to affirm and accept their children’s true selves, and Kuvalanka said that will help researchers discover the long-term impact of family support on a child’s well-being. “Research has shown that transgender youth have a high risk of suicide, and we wonder whether the children in our study will have a lower risk due to their supportive families,” she said. Transgender children have gained some understanding and acceptance among policymakers lately. In July, California lawmakers approved a bill that gives transgender children the right to choose the restrooms they use and the teams they join at their schools. Massachusetts has similar law in place for its transgender youth. In June, state officials in Colorado overruled a local school district and ruled in favor of a transgender first-grader’s right to use the girls’ restroom in her school. But such victories still come amid setbacks. An Idaho grocery store banned a transgender woman from its premises in April because she used the women’s room. In New Mexico, the organization that regulates high school sports issued a directive in July that requires transgender student-athletes to play on teams based on the gender listed on their birth certificates. Seven Miami University students worked with the TransKids project during the 2012-13 academic year. They said they’ve already felt the impact personally that they hope their research will have on others. Elena Rymer, who joined Kuvalanka in 2011 as the first student to help with the project, said the study has “opened up my mind to a completely different community” and has made her an advocate. While she knows her the research will help transgender children, Rymer said she feels like she has learned so much more from the study’s participants. “I feel like I’m stealing from them,” she said. “We are honored that these families have opened their lives to us, and we look forward to sharing their stories with others,” Rymer said. The study also has created a support network among the participating parents and families. What has been helpful to families is “knowing there are people wanting to know about their kids. They seem really appreciative,” said student researcher Derek Mahan. “It lets them know they’re not alone,” said Caroline Trank, another student researcher. As part of the study, Kuvalanka will track how children persist in their gender variance over the course of the 10-year study. Many professionals dismiss variance as a “phase of strange behavior,” she said, “but when 3- and 4-year-olds insist they have been born in the wrong body, what direction do parents take?” The study also will chronicle the troubles children experience in school and in the health-care system when they choose to transition from their natal sexes. By recording and compiling the experiences of families, Kuvalanka’s team wants to help therapists, clinicians, social services, schools and other families understand what families of gender variant children go through.
August 26, 2014
New Miami website kicks up controversy.
By Katie Taylor.
Controversy over a portion of Miami University’s new website has students pointing fingers at the administration. During the transition to the new domain, the portion of Miami’s website with resources for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBTQ) community was cut from 26 pages of links, photos and contact information, to a two-paragraph blurb. Director of University News and Communications Claire Wagner said the lack of content is not permanent, and is a result of the complex nature of the digital project, which is ongoing. Matt Metzler, 14’ Miami alumnus and former co-president of Spectrum — Miami’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (GLBTQ) student organization — expressed his disappointment. “I would like to think that it was not an intentional slight against the GLBTQ community here or against anyone in the Office of Diversity Affairs,” Metzler said. “But I do think even if it is unintentional, it still communicates that the GLBTQ community and other diverse minority communities on campus aren’t necessarily Miami’s biggest priority.” In response, Metzler dragged the issue into the social media spotlight with a story published in Brickwork magazine, a progressive Oxford publication unaffiliated with the university. As one of the magazine’s co-editors, he was involved in the launching of the hashtag circulating Twitter, #ErasedAtMU. “We wanted to make a big splash on social media and hopefully extend that to, not only the GLBTQ community, but any other minority community at Miami who feel they might not be represented very well on Miami’s website right now,” he said. The new Assistant Director of Diversity Affairs, Shevonne Nelson, took on her role as the coordinator of GLBTQ Services in July. Prior to her hiring, the position remained empty for a year. Though she felt Metzler’s article headline and the hashtag were too strong, she recognized the issue at hand and acknowledged the need for a solution. “Our website is lacking; I’m going to be honest,” Nelson said. “But the services and the support we provide students was not and is not erased, even if our website is not fully functional.” Metzler’s biggest concern is for incoming students who are unable to find the resources they need. Until yesterday, after attention was brought to the issue, the contact information of the new GLBTQ Services Coordinator was not listed on the website. In the midst of the conflict, confusion over who is responsible for the GLBTQ Services page surfaced. According to Director of Student Affairs Budget and Technology Tim Kresse, website creation was delegated to various offices within Student Affairs. GLBTQ Services falls under the Office of Diversity Affairs. Diversity Affairs Director, Gerald Yearwood, declined to comment on the website overhaul. Nelson said a meeting has been scheduled this week to make headway on the project and provide GLBTQ students with the resources they need. She is dedicated to making students feel comfortable, safe and welcome, and has made herself available since taking the position a month ago. Assistant Director of the Armstrong Student Center (ASC) Adam Leftin, responsible for creating the ASC portion of the university website, said the focus should be turned to the work Diversity Affairs and GLBTQ Services has accomplished through the transition. “It took so many different people at the university really stepping up to try and make sure that the students last year (during the move into the ASC and website change) received the services and events that type of student-population really needs, to feel that support; no one should feel erased.” Metzler acknowledged the past success of GLBTQ Services on Miami’s campus, but encouraged the administration to resolve the issue as soon as possible. “I would just like to communicate to [incoming students]… that there is a very strong and supportive GLBTQ community on this campus,” Metzler said. “We’re still really active and there are a lot of things going on this year that they’ll be able to get involved in even if they can’t necessarily find that information online right now.”
April 8, 2015
Student Charged In Graffiti Case Withdraws From Ohio School.
By Associated Press
One of two Miami University students charged in connection with offensive graffiti in a residential hall has withdrawn from school, and the second says he plans to. Nineteen-year-old William Armour says in an “open letter” sent to The Associated Press that he didn’t live up to the school’s ethics code and feels that his continued presence on campus would be “a distraction” that brings unwanted media attention to the school. Student Samir Lal said Wednesday by email he apologizes and is withdrawing. School president David Hodge called the graffiti “profane, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic and homophobic” in a university-wide message Monday. Armour claims he wrote only one statement on the hall information board, and that he isn’t “a racist or a bigot.” He and Lal still face charges of criminal mischief.
April 10, 2015
Study: Few GLBTQ students feel welcome at Miami, in Greek life.
By Bonnie Miebers, Senior Staff Writer.
GLBTQ students feel less like they belong on campus than their fellow students in Greek life, according to a study by Miami University’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Services. Sixty-six percent of straight Greeks feel they always fit in at Miami, while just 33 percent of GLBTQ students feel equally comfortable on campus. GLBTQ students in the study said they had fewer friends in sororities and fraternities and more GLBTQ friends compared to straight students. Students in sororities and fraternities reported the opposite, having more friends who were also involved in Greek life and fewer GLBTQ friends than straight students who are not involved in fraternities or sororities. The study shows that the exclusivity and selectiveness of fraternities and sororities can make even straight students feel left out. Greek life is the reason many students feel at home at Miami, but the way sororities and fraternities are gendered can attribute to the alienation of people who do not fit into those categories. “I don’t feel comfortable walking around campus holding my boyfriend’s hand,” openly gay first-year Colin McDonough said. “I think if I was in a frat I would feel ostracized because I would be the ‘gay’ brother.” Paul McCreary, awareness chair of SPECTRUM and openly gay brother of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, said he sees things differently. “I never thought I would be in Greek life,” McCreary said. When he first came to Miami, McCreary said that he believed Greek life was for straight, white people. But, after accepting a bid from Lambda Chi, he said he feels Greek life is inclusive. McCreary said the Interfraternity Conference (IFC) is very accepting and does not tolerate any type of discrimination. “Greek life, from what I’ve seen at Miami, isn’t homophobic,” he said. The study urges sororities and fraternities that believe their organizations are inclusive to be more open about that inclusiveness. It calls for positive images of GLBTQ identities and discussions of transgender individuals. Shevonne Nelson, assistant director for the Office of Diversity Affairs agrees that, looking at the study as a reference point, the campus has room for growth. “Our GLBTQ students, faculty and staff consistently report only having moderately positive experiences on campus,” Nelson said. “Moderately positive” may not sound bad to the average person, she said, but to the person who is made to feel only moderately okay, it is a big deal. Nelson, however, believes pinning the problem on a single group, like Greek life, is a part of the problem. “Singling any one group out is part of the larger problem of why many groups feel moderately or less comfortable on campus,” Nelson says. “We need a climate change and we must all be a part of that change.” Students can be a part of and start this climate change by becoming more aware of how they contribute to making GLBTQ students feel like they belong on campus, Nelson said. Showing students they matter and their identities are valued is an important part of making students feel at home at Miami, she said. “We need to move beyond tolerance and fundamentally challenge the ways we talk about, support, and affirm the GLBTQ community,” Nelson said.
September 13, 2016
Mentoring offered for LGBTQ students.
By Kelly McKewen,
The Miami Student. Students identifying as members of the LGBTQ community in Miami’s class of 2020 have been offered two opportunities that were not available for previous classes. On the application for admission to Miami, an optional question was added to one section of the application, asking prospective students if they identify as a member of the LGBTQ community. The question was placed in a section that asked students other questions such as their affiliation with the military or with the Miami Tribe, or whether they are a first-generation college student. As these students now enter Miami as first years, a mentoring program has been created to help aid in their transition. The decision to allow students to self-identify on their applications was a result of the Office of Admissions’ efforts to prioritize diversity. The purpose of the new question was to connect LGBTQ students with resources within the LGBTQ community on campus, said Susan Schaurer, director of admissions. “Particularly for LGBTQ students, once they got here, they would have to find those resources,” Shaurer said. “We wanted to make certain we do a lot to provide diversity programs to those students on the frontside.” In conjunction with the new question on the application, a mentoring program was created for all students who self-identified on their application. The mentoring program partners first year LGBTQ students with professors and other faculty to help them connect with other members of the community. Most students involved in the program have not yet met with their mentors and know very little about what the mentoring relationship will entail. Some students, such as first-year Ryan Jago, expressed concern over being paired with a mentor just for self-identifying on the admission application. “I really don’t see a huge reason for me to have a mentor, and I hope they didn’t just assume I needed one because I’m LGBT. But, I do see a benefit in getting to know a professor on a personal level and not just a student-teacher level. I see the benefit in knowing that there is someone I can talk to, even if I never do,” Jago said. In future years, including for the class of 2021, the Office of Admissions plans on adding another question to the application to address concerns like Jago’s. In the future, if a student chooses to identify as an LGBTQ student on their application, they will also be asked if they would like information about the resources available to them. First-year Austin Zimmers believes the mentoring program will help make Miami a more inclusive place. “I think that having this program is going to contribute to a more inclusive environment because it’s a step that is being taken to help a community that has struggled to feel included in the past, feel welcome at Miami. People struggling with their gender identity or their sexuality will have a resource to help them, and students who are comfortable with themselves will have a connection that can hopefully allow them to help others who aren’t comfortable yet,” Zimmers said.
September 20, 2016
Miami students counter-protest religious hate group.
By Angela Hatcher and Jack Evans
The Miami Student. A throng of students congregated at the corner of Maple Street and Spring Street, just outside the Shriver Center. Students walking to and from class stopped and stared, listening and observing the commotion. It was a mob of people. All that could be heard were shouts of, “You’ll burn in hell!” and responses of, “Gay is good.” Getting closer to the chaos, sweat could be seen trickling down people’s faces as they stood under the sweltering sun. There was passion in the eyes of the protesters and counter-protesters. They were there with a purpose. Miami police officers Sgt. Andy Rosenberger and Officer Don Delph surveyed the area to ensure things didn’t get out of hand. The tension was tangible. Around 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, a group of protesters known as the Official Street Preachers (OSP) gathered at Miami University’s Oxford campus. Armed with Islamophobic and anti-LGBTQ signs and sentiments, the group began preaching their message to whomever would listen. “A person is not born a homosexual, the homosexual makes a decision of choice because of the perverted mind that they want to engage in homosexual and lesbian activity,” said a street preacher identified as Vijay. “[The] bible says that if you don’t trust in Christ and give up your homosexuality, you’re going to end up in hell.” The semicircle of students that formed around him erupted in protest. “God created people the way they are,” a student cried. “How dare you! How would you know?” another shouted. As time crawled by, the masses of students grew in number. Some lone students got caught up in the moment on the way to class. Pairs of people walked across the street from Armstrong to see what was going on and lingered to watch the activity. Others walked by, only to return 15 minutes later with water bottles and friends. Students of the same sex held hands and skipped through the fray. Some would grab each other and passionately kiss in front of the demonstrators. Others remained silent, holding up signs that spoke for themselves. The students all had different reasons for being there but stood united in counter-protest against OSP. “I’m here to preach the good word of consensual premarital sex, because it feels really good, and I don’t think these guys have ever heard about it,” said sophomore Oliver Greive, holding a speaker blasting Lonely Island’s “I Just Had Sex.” “I was out here earlier, but then I went back to go get a rainbow sticker. And then more friends and more rainbow stickers,” said first-year Jess Scott, sporting a sticker. “Honestly, I was going to pick up a package because I have class in an hour, but this is much more enjoyable,” said first-year Jake Gold. Some had a more serious message. “This is not God, this is irrelevant. What’s in Revelation? Depart from me you worker of iniquity. They talk about burning in hell, but this is hate,” said first-year Sierra Evans. “My message is what’s been instilled in me since birth: Love. God is love.” Sophomore Paige Galberg held a handcrafted sign that read, “Homosex is in,” next to the OSP sign that read, “HOMO SEX IS SIN.” “I identify as bisexual and the majority of my friends are LGBTQ community members or allies,” Galberg said. “This is just not ok. This is sad.” Miami administrators who were present at the demonstration had positive things to say about the students’ responses to the OSP protesters. “I think the student response was overall terrific,” said Mike Curme, dean of students. “It showed great support for segments of the student body who may have felt targeted by the protestors. They tried to engage in civil discourse with the demonstrators, and they acted in accordance with our institutional values.” Jayne Brownell, vice president of student affairs, offered some encouragement to students who may face discrimination and other hardships during their time at Miami and beyond. “Miami is a public institution and we are not going to be able to shield students from the bigger issues and concerns from the larger world,” said Brownell. “A lot of times they are going to be confronted with messages that they disagree with. I encourage [students] to keep supporting each other, stay engaged, educate and listen.” Miami University president Gregory Crawford also showed support for the student demonstrators in a tweet Friday afternoon. “Thanks to those students who demonstrated Love & Honor today with peace & civility in the face of division. So proud of you all,” Crawford wrote. As the protest continued throughout the afternoon and into the early evening, students began to go back to their daily routines. Greive, whose music had taken a different tune, turned to Vijay as he started to play John Lennon’s “Imagine.” “I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will live as one…”
May 1, 2018
Oxford Hosts Pride Parade
By Erin Glynn
Over 70 students and Oxford community members marched from the Seal to Uptown Park on Saturday in Oxford’s first Pride Parade in over ten years. The event brought together a number of Oxford community and Miami University organizations including Spectrum, Tint, Not in Our Town, the League of Women Voters, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the Women’s and LGBTQ Center, the Office of Diversity Affairs, and the Office of Community Engagement. Marchers wore Spectrum t-shirts that read “Love. Honor. PRIDE.” as well as rainbow leis, scarves, flags and face paint. Many Oxford residents brought their children with them. One toddler clad all in rainbow hearts gleefully handed out stickers to the crowd. Spectrum president and junior Hannah Abigail Clarke began the parade with a speech at the confetti-covered Seal. She wore a pride flag draped around her as a toga with a laurel wreath hair ornament — a nod to Roman generals who marched in parades “full of pride and triumph” — and explained that she wanted everyone there to feel as though they were conquering silence and invisibility. She urged those assembled to remember that pride parades began as marches of protest after the Stonewall riots in 1969. Clarke announced that “for too long queer students have been invisible and silent on this campus,” and the parade was a great step because “queer happiness is a revolutionary act in itself, being seen is a revolutionary act in itself.” Then the group moved uptown chanting “Whose town? Our town!” and “When gay rights are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” Once marchers reached Uptown Park a celebration commenced. People sat on steps and in the grass eating cupcakes with rainbow frosting and listening to a playlist that included Lady Gaga, Tegan & Sara and ABBA. Many joined in games of Jenga and Twister. President Gregory and Renate Crawford brought first dog Ivy along with them to the parade to offer support and mingle with students. Quentin Stickley, a member of Spectrum, enjoyed the laid-back, jubilant atmosphere. “It really means a lot to be around other queer people because sometimes it can feel really isolating especially being a trans person” they said. “Where I come from there aren’t a lot of out queer people so it’s it’s really nice to be around people my age who are in a similar situation as [I am].” Cat Looby, a member of Spectrum’s executive board, agreed. “It’s really nice because it’s a celebration and a show of solidarity between students, staff and faculty and community members,” she said. “It’s nice to feel all the warmth and the commonality together.”
Tyler Bonanno (Residence Director in the Office of Residence Life), Mathew Ferguson (Residence Director in the Office of Residence Life), and Hannah Thompson (Associate Director, LGBTQ+ Services) meet in interest of creating the Queer and Trans Faculty and Staff Association QTFSA.
Tyler Bonanno, Mathew Ferguson, and Hannah Thompson meet with Daniel Meyers to learn about the history of GLEAM. Daniel Meyers also transfers administrative rights of the GLEAM (Gay and Lesbian Employees At Miami) listserv and website to Tyler, Mathew, and Hannah.