Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We've Got A Long Way to Go *Trigger Warning*

This past week, threatening messages directed at the queer community were found at Montclair State University. While not outright directed at specific individuals, messages stating that gay students would die on February 7th were found in a bathroom and in a note left at the campus LGBT center. MSU president Susan Cole stated in an email to the campus, "These actions are grossly unacceptable in our community and a clear violation of university policies, as well as the basic tenets of human decency."

It is sad that in this day and age we still have people who are targeting LGBT members within their community, especially on a college campus where people are supposed to learn to challenge and expand their world views, not propagate hateful ignorance. As if this was not enough, reading the comments left by readers on the local news site I read this on disturbed me. Readers posted such things as:

"LBGT center......really, they need all of that? Sounds like a tough place to be a straight guy.....yuck."

"Oh my god someone offended the gay community everybody watch out."

"Whoever did this is guilty of vandalism for writing on the wall, that's it. There's no hate/bias crime here. The freedom of speech applies to all not just oversensitive gays. Why doesn't Montclair State have a Heterosexual Center, I mean they have a LGBT center? Sounds like the university is discriminating against heterosexuals."

"Do we have a 'normal center'?"

"Hey, if they die, than they die.. who cares really."

These are just a few of the many comments left that leave me astounded at the sheer number of people who are so wrapped up in hatred and ignorance that they would take the time to actively condemn members of the queer community who have had to deal with death threats at their university, a place that is supposed to be their home. The Ramapo College Women's Center's thoughts are with MSU, and we hope that the students there can find peace and security in the face of these hateful messages. We've got a long way to go, but we will get there together.

For anyone at Ramapo College who has been particularly affected by this incident, our confidential queer support group meets Mondays at 9:30pm in the Women's Center, and our staff is always available for peer listening should it be needed.

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