Anonymous author recounts homophobic encounter
Published Wednesday, September 19, 2012 7:03PM ADT
Last Updated Thursday, September 20, 2012 4:49PM ADT
A first-year student at Acadia University says she is the victim of hate speech and has published her story, anonymously, in the school’s newspaper.
“The reason why the author says they didn’t want to be published with their name attached was because they didn’t want to be harassed for expressing these views,” says Qasim Kareemi, editor-in-chief of The Athenaeum.
According to the article, the student attended a concert at the university’s on-campus bar last week.
However, instead of enjoying a fun night out during her first week of school, the student writes about an incident she describes as hate speech.
The student, who is gay, claims she was harassed and taunted by a group of 20 people at the concert, saying “they began chanting loudly over and over.”
She says the incident “went on for a minimum of 15 minutes, then at points sporadically throughout the evening.”
“To hear that is very upsetting and very embarrassing,” one student says.
The newspaper has more than doubled its record number of online hits this week, and most students on campus told CTV News they had either read the article or had heard about it.
“I think it’s a poor portrayal of our campus,” says former Pride co-ordinator Coltan Fagan. “I’ve found that this place has been nothing but a good community for me and other students in the LGBT community.”
There is an outpouring of support for the student across campus and in messages left online.
“Students are personally reaching out and either coming out and saying ‘I’m gay too. Would you like to have a conversation?’” says Student Union President Matthew Rios. “So I’ve just been tremendously proud of my peers.”
“If she ever needed to come talk to somebody, or if anybody was feeling harassed, then they could definitely come and talk to us,” says Megan Muise, a member of the Acadia Women’s Centre.
University spokesman Scott Roberts say the school has identified the person who wrote the story but they have yet to speak with her.
He also says they are investigating to figure out exactly what happened.
“We take it seriously and we want to learn as much as we can.”
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kayla Hounsell