University Students Demand More LGBT Support: Counseling, Safe Spaces and a Relaxing Room Aren’t Enough

Safety is a hot topic these days and it’s evident at Illinois State University.

Recent incendiary incidents at the school led to its closure. According to a Vidette Online editorial, the incident involved a painted word.

On Sept. 28, queer people were once more made to suffer when Kappa Sigma fraternity members at Illinois State University painted the F-slur on campus.

Although the culprits were punished, it is not enough.

The fraternity members were expelled and Kappa Sigma talks to the university about the next steps. Students are furious.

The editorial states that homophobia must be banned at ISU. “The campus should be safe for those most affected by these slurs.”

An online appeal was launched in response to the prank. Jakai Martin, an ISU student, launched a petition in support of LGBT, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender peers just before November began. Jakai says that campus hate has reached its peak. Jakai has three demands to stop it. Safety is not the old-fashioned kind, but the one that is associated with emotion.

Recent trends in campus queer hate have led to a heightened level of homophobia and students who identify as queer are not feeling secure on campus.

Jakai is asking for a threefold imploration. He asks for the following:

There are now more counselors available for student counseling services.

Designated safe space for LGBTQIA+ students

Terri Gross Kinzy, President of the United States, has publicly apologized for her neglect of queer students

The feeling of safety is contemporarily sacred.

It is often the case that “safety,” is used as a substitute for “agreement.” Sometimes, disagreement can be equated with “hate”.

Terri Gross Kinzy, President of ISU posted a video on October 17th in light of the Greek gaffe. Part of her message:

“People have been reaching out in recent weeks to voice concern, fear, and anger as a result of anti-LGBTQIA+ actions and comments. Let me be very clear: These actions are contrary to the University’s core values. The University will review and investigate all reports. This is done in collaboration with local police and student conduct offices, as well as the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access, which is part of the Office of the President. The University also offers support and resources to anyone who was directly or indirectly affected by numerous offices on campus, such as the Dean of Students, Student Counseling Services, and, when necessary, Human Resources. Each member of Illinois State University has the responsibility to foster an environment that promotes learning and growth.”

However, the editorial of October 19th stated that there should be more.

As members of the LGBTQIA+ community take on the heavy task of explaining why these acts were so harmful and re-educating them, we must support them.

ISU must listen and not just hear the queer voices.

We must listen to the voices of queer people.

ISU already does much beyond the counseling required for both the petition and article mandates.

From Campus Reform:

ISU has several designated “safe spaces” that are available to its students. The Multicultural Center has a Green Room for students to “spend some time in silence.” It also houses a Prayer/ Reflection Room for quiet reflection.

Student Counseling Services also has a Relaxation Room to offer students in therapy a safe and comfortable environment.

The school was also noted for its emphasis on sensitivity in March.

Progress is never-ending. The initiative has attracted 2,903 signatures.

Will ISU do more? It seems likely.