While Austin is generally viewed as a progressive city, the assault on two gay men–one of them a University of Texas student–early Saturday morning in the Warehouse District serves as a chilling reminder that hate crimes and bias still exist in our community. It is alarming that in this day and age, such incidents occur. While this event did not happen on the UT campus, because it involved a student who is a valued member of the university family, we believe we must speak out against the violence the two endured.
Incidents of bias and violence against people within the LGBTQ community have long been “swept under the rug” or ignored, and as the division concerned with making campus more inclusive, we believe we cannot let this incident slip by without acknowledging that such incidents cannot be tolerated. Issues that affect the greater Austin community also affect campus and vice versa. While we cannot guarantee our students’ safety at all times, we want all of our students—regardless of their affiliation, ethnicity, or background—to feel safe both on and off campus. The right to freedom from violence, intimidation, and harassment is not a special right accorded to only some in the Austin and UT communities–it is a right for all.
LGBTQ students often feel they cannot speak out about such incidents or about their lack of acceptance by others. As a result, the DDCE’s Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) and Multicultural Information Center (MIC) work to educate the university community about issues facing LGBTQ students and provide safe places on campus where students can meet and discuss challenges. To learn more about services and programs offered visit the GSC and MIC Web sites.
–Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, Vice President for Diversity and Community Engagement
–Ixchel Rosal, Director, Gender and Sexuality Center
–Choquette Hamilton, Director, Multicultural Information Center
Editor’s Note: This piece was published in the Firing Line section of the Daily Texan on March 1, 2010.