NKU ignores homophobia

On Sept. 13, The Northerner reported that Residential Assistant Jeremy Phillippi said he was greeted by torn decorations and a rather vicious remark on his door.

The university is currently investigating, and not much else; a response deemed by some people as inadequate. However, they all forget too easily: It’s still alleged. Nothing has been proven, no one has been charged.

It’s only Phillippi’s word that the vandalism even occurred, which to me as well as the university does not constitute enough evidence for formal charges to be filed. But I personally believe him.

I see examples of blatant homophobia everywhere on campus. I’ve heard one student claim that he escaped a ticket because the officer was a “pole-smoker.” I’ve noticed other students mention their roommates might be “dykes.” An ex-boyfriend is sometimes called a “faggot.” Boring classes and lame movies are both often described as “gay” by students.

I’ve had a professor who compared the ‘homosexual lifestyle’ to torture.

Let’s not forget the infamous chalking incident last semester. A group countered an authorized set of pro-gay rights messages with hateful anti-gay slurs around campus but were never caught.

Apparently, being gay isn’t acceptable for some people, but berating gays is A-OK.

Another program called Safe Zones trains professors to help GLBT students. Safe Zones identify safe and comforting environments for students who are nervous, frightened or unsure about their sexuality to talk to an understanding, professional.

Unfortunately, the program has not been maintained. Some Safe Zone stickers remain in offices after a judgmental individual may have replaced the tolerant one.

Bigotry still remains at NKU, and the administration isn’t stemming the tide. It hasn’t taken a proactive stance to fight homophobia.

A student may have been victimized, Safe Zones aren’t safe, hate-filled chalking crimes go unpunished and NKU gives a non-response.

This is the mental and physical safety of NKU students, which should be top priority.

What happens if a gay student is beaten, but no one witnesses it? Will University Housing Director Matt Brown wonder if that incident was motivated by hate?

I’m not asking for mandatory diversity classes, but NKU should help Common Ground, NKU’s Gay-Straight Alliance to come out of the closet, rather than sweep the problem under the rug.

The Administration should encourage partnerships between gay-rights organizations and other groups, such as fraternities or sororities. Create events where straights and gays can mingle, and straights can discover that gay people are people.

It shouldn’t take an alleged hate crime to convince the university to start combating prejudice and hatred.

If NKU seeks diversity, then it should help students see that harassing gays isn’t OK.