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Students respond to controversial poster

News Writer

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 13:11


KARI BRAUMANN/Northern Iowan

While the option of opening an LGBT center is explored, the Purple Pen Room in Maucker Union (above) is the temporary office for UNI Proud, One Iowa and Transgenda. Their office used to be in Bartlett Hall.

A poster with anti-LGBT statements recently caused a stir on the University of Northern Iowa campus.

The poster, since removed, was originally hung in the Industrial Technology Center and was then shared repeatedly on social media sites.

The poster, titled “Say No! To LGBT Center,” denounced the social progress of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual students at UNI.

The poster claimed there has been a “push for more acceptance and special treatment of LGBT groups” at UNI and argued such treatment is unwarranted. It specifically denounced the creation of a center for LGBT students. Currently, there is an LGBT Center Exploratory Committee within the Northern Iowa Student Government.

In a Nov. 2 letter to the editor in the Northern Iowan,  the committee shared their statement on the issue.

“The misunderstandings evident in the flier ‘Say NO! To LGBT Center’ are the exact reason why we must continue the work of educating the campus community and fight for (an LGBT) center here at UNI,” they wrote.

Randi Knipp, a junior at UNI, feels a center for LGBT students is warranted.

“If lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual students were welcomed in the beginning, the center would not have been proposed and they would feel comfortable using the facilities already present on campus,” Knipp said. “I’m afraid the proposal of the center is a result of ignorance, cruelty and people who post such fliers.”

The poster was not publicly signed by its author, nor has it been publicly claimed by any recognized UNI campus group.

“I think an individual wrote it, and I also think they are very ignorant and unprofessional,” said Stormy O’Brink, a junior at UNI and member of UNI Proud, the LGBT alliance group on campus. “The individual failed to realize that Iowa State University and the University of Iowa have LGBT centers, and we don’t label those universities ‘LGBT schools.’”

Krystal Robinson, a junior family services major, feels that by using Christian rhetoric, the author of the poster associates Christians with an opinion they may not necessarily have.

“Being a Christian and a heterosexual ally, I feel that such hate speech continues to give a bad name to (those) belonging to either group, and I find this incredibly saddening as both should foster the love and acceptance of all,” Robinson said. “It was not long ago that such hate would be voiced so openly about one’s skin color, and I think that this is just another manifestation of unnecessary hate from people who lack the capability of expressing empathy and are arrogant in their privilege.”

A number of student groups on campus have openly voiced opposition to the content of the poster. The UNI Freethinkers and Inquirers, Northern Iowa Democrats, UNI Proud, One Iowa at UNI and the UNI Feminist Action league all co-authored a press release that was initially published on Facebook.

The press release read as follows: “This hate language, this fear mongering, this bigotry towards those whom are different — none of this is representative of UNI, and it does not belong at this school.”

Junior Sarah Kuhn also had a strong reaction to the poster.

“I was angry that because I’m a heterosexual at UNI, (and) someone was trying to lump me into their personal hate,” Kuhn said. “I am an ally and proud to be one.”


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