Sarah Taggart, Contributing Writer
When I first visited this campus I distinctly remember that one of the college’s most valuable attractions in my mind was the diverse and accepting nature of the school. Once a student here, I immediately joined Open Minded Unity, the gay straight alliance club on campus, and was impressed by the level of commitment its members show to making this campus a safe place for members of the LGBTQA community. I felt proud to be a SUCO student when I learned about the story of Andrew McIntosh and how his teammates were open-minded when he came out as gay in 2009. I feel all of these examples set SUNY Oneonta a step ahead of many other universities as far as how accepting of the LGBTQA community it is. However this view of the atmosphere of our campus as a whole changed as a result of the biased and close-minded actions of presumably an individual or small group that occurred over the weekend of October 8 and 9.
A banner advertising the various LGBTQA related events for the month of October [Coming Out Month] was torn down just days after it was hung on the wall near the Schumacher bus stop. The banner was found missing from the wall and reported as such on Monday the 10. As the public relations coordinator for Open Minded Unity I was in charge of the making and hanging of this banner. There was an extensive amount of time put towards making it, and all of the necessary procedures were taken in order to have it hung in that place. I can also personally vouch that the banner was hung from the wall securely enough so that it could not have blown away; therefore the conclusion has been made that the banner was torn down because it advertised events dealing with the LGBTQA community.
This is a serious issue on our campus , since any LGBTQA community member that is made aware of this event or any of the dozens of quieter biased or hate crime events on our campus will have reason to feel threatened in the place that we call our home for the better part of the year. One of the goals of Open Minded Unity as a club is to educate the students and faculty here on campus on issues and to ensure that SUCO is a safe place for members of LGBTQA community. These acts of biased close-mindedness tarnish this school and the community we have built here. Students need to know that such biases will not be tolerated. They harm not only the LGBTQA community but the entire campus community.