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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Bias incidents target gay student, community reacts

On Sept. 14 a Bryan resident filed a Public Safety report and informed Residence Life that a note had been left on his room door that read “Die you MF fag. Nobody wants your kind on campus.” It was soon followed by a second threat. On Thursday Sept. 17 a rock, with a note attached was dropped in the students’ room at around 11:30 pm.

The note said “I hope (the rock) hit you in the f—ing head faggot. You don’t deserve life like the rest of the world. It’s bad enough without all the gay crap pulling people down. It’s sick, unnatural, and death is almost too good for you. Almost.”

The person or persons responsible for this act still remain unknown.

“The difficulty in these anonymous acts is ever knowing who did it,” said Fetrow, “and that is why it is very important to respond. We have to say something about it. We can’t just let it go.”

While there is speculation around campus on the identity of the reporting party, neither Public Safety nor Campus Life would validate any speculations.

“The name is not released because the person who filed the report wishes not to be identified at this point,” said Dean of Students Aaron Fetrow.

President Kent Chabotar published a statement in the buzz on Saturday Sept. 19 in response to this incident, explaining that while it is the responsibility of the Bias Incident Group to respond to anonymous acts of bias, the group for this year has not yet been formed.

Fetrow said that the group will be formed in a week or two.

Associate Dean for Campus Life Jennifer Agor said that the bias incident group will determine what needs to be done after the initial responses.

“Since they had not yet convened, (Campus Life’s) plan was to ensure that we had a timely, appropriate response to these incidents,” said Agor.

While the members have not been set in stone yet, the Group is traditionally chaired by President Chabotar and includes three students and several staff and faculty members.

“Clearly this messages are harassment in violation of numerous college policies and are criminal acts under state and federal law,” said Chabotar in the statement, which was made available to the entire campus.

“Making this information public might help in the investigation process for all of us to know the information in case we might see of hear anything,” said Bryan resident and sophomore Kalyn Howard.

The Investigation

According to Director of Public Safety Ron Stowe, due to the “nature of the notes and the seriousness of the matter,” Public Safety reported this incident to the Greensboro Police Department, which is actively involved in the investigation.

“As a normal course of action, Greensboro Police Department will review the case and treat it as any other report received by them,” said Stowe. “The Department of Public Safety will continue to investigate the matter to determine what, if any action is appropriate from an internal standpoint. The two inquiries are independent of each other.”

Along with the GPD and Public Safety, Campus Life will play a role in the investigation by urging anyone who knows anything about the identity of the perpetrators to come forward.

On Sept. 18 Fetrow addressed Bryan hall residents in a mandatory hall meeting.

“Having the hall meeting was an attempt to make everyone aware of the situation and how the College is going to handle it,” said Bryan Hall Director and alum Kristin Charest. “We need everyone to be informed because Bryan is a community.”

At the meeting Fetrow said that the notes are a state and federal crime.

“This is a cowardly, immature and passive aggressive way to express your views,” said Fetrow. “This is a deplorable and disgusting act and we don’t have any place for that at Guilford.”

Bryan resident and sophomore Rachael Nolan said that she appreciated Fetrow’s address.

“I feel that it is a really good thing that Fetrow talked to everyone at once because really this is all the administration can do right now,” said Nolan. “I hope that getting everyone involved helps catch the person who did this quicker.”

Fetrow asked those who attended the meeting to work with Campus Life and Public Safety so that the perpetrators can be identified.

“The person or persons who are responsible may not be here tonight but someone here will know something,” said Fetrow. The mature thing to do if you know something is to step forward.”

Sophomore and Bryan resident Ben Chaves, who attended the meeting said that at the meeting he realized that it will be very difficult to solve this case.

“When Aaron said that the person who did this might be here at the meeting everyone was looking around at each other,” said Chaves, “and we pretty much came to the conclusion that if someone knows about it they are probably going to be quiet.”

Community Support

Agor said that it is Campus Life’s responsibility to ensure that the Campus receives necessary support.

“We need to support the person or persons who has been hurt by these incidents, and make sure that they have what they need and feel safe and supported,” said Agor. “We need to get the message out to the community that behavior like this is ignorant and not in any way acceptable here or anywhere.”

Recognizing the need for support, Pride is hosting a Safe Zone training session for students and faculty, which will be held on Oct. 11 from 1-4 pm in the Gallery.

“During this training participants will learn a variety of terminology, and skills needed to assist students in times of need,” said Pride President junior Brian Daniel. “Participants will be trained about how to help students about anything from students who are struggling with their sexual identity or orientation or to students who have been victimized, or even raped.”

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