Mankato prez sends note to LGBTQ community

Here’s a memo sent out by the president of Minnesota State University – Mankato in light of the recent spate of suicides by youths bullied for their sexual orientation.

(For those unfamiliar with the term LGBTQ, it’s an initialism for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer members of society. One variation is GLBT, but without the Q.)

The crux of the memo:

Minnesota State Mankato wants to make a clear statement to any student who is feeling silenced by violence, harassment or bullying:  You should not have to feel this way.  We encourage you to find the strength to ask for support and advocacy from one or more of the resources below.

From: Davenport, Richard

Sent: Monday, October 18, 2010 2:35 PM

To: <ALL> Students; <ALL> Staff

Subject: Message from President Davenport

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

There has been significant media attention to the anti-gay bullying and subsequent suicides of LGBTQ youth across our nation. Our sympathies are with the families and friends of Tyler Clementi  (Rutgers University), Raymond Chase (Johnson & Wales) and of Seth Walsh (13 years old), Asher Brown (13 yrs old), Billy Lucas (15 years old), Justin Aaberg (15 years old) and Cody Barker (17 years old) who all took their lives in September 2010 after suffering anti-gay bullying.

These tragedies are reminders that harassment and bullying, including cyber-bullying, are harmful and dangerous.

Minnesota State University, Mankato promotes an inclusive and diverse campus community, where students are encouraged to learn and develop in a safe and respectful environment.   But it is up to each of us as individuals to find the courage to be an empowered bystander, to challenge acts of harassment and to speak out against bullying behavior and language.

Minnesota State Mankato wants to make a clear statement to any student who is feeling silenced by violence, harassment or bullying:  You should not have to feel this way.  We encourage you to find the strength to ask for support and advocacy from one or more of the resources below.

To our LGBTQ and allied community, if you are struggling to find support or people with shared experiences please know that you are not alone.  We encourage you to contact the LGBT Center for support or any of the resources below.

The LGBT Center will be hosting a Remembrance Vigil to confront bullying on October 20th at 7pm by the Fountain.  Purple represents spirit on the LGBT flag and is also representative of our Maverick Spirit.  Please consider wearing purple on October 20th in memory of all who have lost their lives to bullying and harassment and in support of those who may be struggling.

To find support, advocacy, and referral advice:

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center, Centennial Student Union 194, 389-5131 The Women’s Center, Centennial Student Union 218, 389-6146 The Division of Institutional Diversity, Morris Hall 265, 389-6125 Multicultural Affairs Center, Centennial Student Union 243, 389-6300 The Department of Residential Life, Carkoski Commons 111, 389-1011 The Counseling Center, Centennial Student Union 245, 389-1455 The Dean of Students Office, Wigley Administration Center 228, 389-2121 Minnesota State Student Association, Centennial Student Union 280, 389-2611

To report violence, harassment or bullying behavior:

The Office of Affirmative Action, Armstrong Hall 112, 389-2986 University Security, Wiecking Center 222, 389-2111 Student Rights and Responsibilities, Wigley Administration Center 228, 389-2121

Minnesota State University is a place where we should all be proud to live, learn, and work.  Let’s continue to promote our shared values of respect and civility.

Richard Davenport

President