Fliers advocating that LGBTQ students self harm were hung on bulletin boards on Cleveland State University’s Campus, according to several social media accounts and local affiliate News 5 Cleveland.
The posters depict a person hanging. The hanging person is surrounded by stats about LGBTQ suicide and in large rainbow font at the top, the sign reads: “Follow your fellow faggots.”
Left: poster hung in the halls of Cleveland State University
Right: response by CSU president
Put the pressure on. This is unacceptable. pic.twitter.com/l9kfeHrM7Z
— max DEADroom 🎃👻 (@MaxKriegerVG) October 17, 2017
According to News 5 Cleveland, the fliers were posted on the same day the school opened its LGBTQ center.
In an interview with INTO, Tristan Rader, an alumnus of CSU who tweeted about the posters said that whoever hung the posters did so strategically: they were hung near the student life center on a bulletin board with a “high amount of foot traffic.”
“Student government groups, that’s where they post their events,” Rader said. “There’s a lot of pro-LGBT groups posting things there. They were definitely targeting that group.”
Aside from the presence of the posters, several people on social media spoke out against University president Ronald M. Berkman who in a statement did not condemn the posters and instead said this is an issue of free speech on campus.
“CSU also is committed to upholding the First Amendment, even with regard to controversial issues where opinion is divided,” he wrote in a statement emailed out to students and alumni. “We will continue to protect free speech to ensure all voices may be heard and to promote a civil discourse where educational growth is the desired result.”
Rader said he was “shocked” when he read the response.
“I was infuriated when I first read that,” Rader said. “This place can do better than this.”
Several people on social media were shocked, as well.
I love that these photos went up at my university Cleveland State University& the President’s response was to say “First amendment rights” pic.twitter.com/0pu0tspRnh
— (((Elizabeth))) (@SoSayWeAll777) October 16, 2017
homophobes on Cleveland State University campus: kill yourself f*ggots
University President: We support free speech pic.twitter.com/US9IXiM7Pg
— im an art collective (@HeatherRedacted) October 17, 2017
INTO has reached out to the Student Affairs Office as well as the LGBTQ+ student office for comment and will update if we hear back.