Screenshot of GSA statement
The Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA) called for a more LGBTQ-friendly environment at Quinnipiac University after a first-year student has decided to leave the university after facing several homophobic incidents.
The student’s mother, Lauren Swick Jordan, posted on the Quinnipiac Parents Facebook page on Oct. 18, about the hateful acts. In it, she said other students were leaving trash and flour, which she later corrected and said was baby powder, outside her son’s door. They also banged on her son’s door “at all hours.”
“Freshman year is hard enough without having to endure so much hatred, simply for who he is,” Jordan wrote on Facebook. “Do better.”
Attached to the GSA statement was a petition people can fill out showing their support. As of publishing, it has received over 800 signatures.
“Unfortunately, attacks like this are far too common at Quinnipiac and are often met with inadequate action,” the GSA stated. “We would like the university to address the homophobic environment that LGBTQ students are subjected to.”
The statement included several changes the GSA wants the university to make including formally recognizing this incident, gender-inclusive and LGBTQ housing, bias training for administration and staff on campus and improving resources such as organizations and events for the LGBTQ community on campus.
Athena Cuttle, senior psychology major and president of the GSA, said the incidents the student faced were horrible.
“No one should have to go through that, especially — freshman year is so hard,” Cuttle said. “Their freshman year is a little different, obviously, with (COVID-19), so that’s also not easy. Then, on top of that, just having to go through this ridiculous situation where people just can’t act like adults and accept people for who they are, it broke my heart.”
Cuttle also said the GSA is hoping the school will reach out and have a discussion about the changes listed in the statement.
“In the past, we tried to make these steps, and clearly we haven’t had much progress with that,” Cuttle said. “We’re hoping the school realizes that it needs to happen and that the world is changing, and they need to start changing with it.”
The gender-inclusive and LGBTQ-friendly housing is the most important change, as Cuttle said many of her friends told her stories of roommates who weren’t accepting of the LGBTQ community.
“You want your dorm to feel like home,” Cuttle said. “You want to feel comfortable here and if you can’t be yourself, it’s not going to be a good experience.”
Signing the document is key to making a difference, according to Cuttle. She also said raising awareness and being there for people in the LGBTQ community is what will help the most.
“Another important aspect of this whole story is bystanders,” Cuttle said. “There are definitely people who heard about this, knew what was going on and weren’t stepping up and helping, which is super sad to me.”
Cuttle said she’s happy about the response the statement and form have received.
“This has definitely given us the leverage we needed to start to get our points taken more seriously,” Cuttle said. “The fact that we’re getting this many signatures is mind-boggling, it’s so exciting.”