By: Jess Ward, News Editor
“No one has really addressed it.”
This sentiment expressed by Molly Roberts, head of USM’s Queer-Straight Alliance (QSA), seems to be an overarching theme in recent campus administration response to controversial events on campus. An incident occurring approximately two weeks ago involving transphobic graffiti, as well as several other incidents on campus, have gone unresolved and unacknowledged, with no clear plan to locate or reprimand the perpetrators.
“There was a vague email from ResLife,” says Roberts, “Glen Cummings always has his ‘Monday Missives’ and he has not mentioned this, he has not mentioned […] a speaker on campus who was violent and hateful. He hasn’t addressed either of these incidents in any capacity.”
This lack of response on behalf of President Cummings is an issue of validation and safety, and Roberts says this shows a disregard for their job, which is to protect students.
On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the QSA orchestrated a show of support for their fellow students, in order to combat the feeling of insecurity and fear perpetuated by these incidents. Members wrote out words of affirmation, like “Queer people are welcome here” and “Trans is beautiful,” on sticky-notes to be placed in the hallways of Robie Andrews.
Almost all of them were taken down by the following morning.
It is unknown who is responsible for taking down the sticky-notes, as the QSA had permission from the Resident Assistants in Robie Andrews to put them up.
“There are still a few up in some places, but for the most part they were taken down overnight,” Roberts explains, “It’s something we’ll have to discuss in our next meeting.”
Residential Life on campus, as well as Campus Safety and the school’s administration, have all remained silent in terms of bringing public awareness to the issue, or mediating conversations with LGBTQ+ students on campus in response to these events.
As of this publication, the Lead Residential Assistant of Robie Andrews as well as the Office of Public Affairs, led by Bob Stein, has declined to comment on the issue.
The QSA plans to continue providing support and resources to its community members, as well as safe spaces for meetings and discussions. The Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity (CSGD), located on the Portland campus, is a designated safe space open to all students.
Students who feel hurt or confused by these incidents are welcome to attend QSA meetings, held on Monday nights in the Robie Andrews lounge, at 8 p.m.