Last week, we reported that the college would be responding more in depth to a homophobic incident at a Columbia, SC movie theatre last weekend. This past week, Vice President for Student Development Dr. Timothy Sams reaffirmed the college’s commitment to addressing the incident and directing an institutional response.
His remarks, found here, marks the first official response from an administrative official. Dr. Sams, formerly an administrator at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, indicated that the college would be working to address the matter and foster inclusion of LGBTQA students.
The administration is deeply disappointed by these actions, and it points to the need for the College to further clarify its values and expectations, to dramatically increase our collective awareness and competence around the LGBTQA community, and to ensure a safe and productive space for all members of our diverse institution. President Wilson and I are already forming an initiative designed to meet above objectives.
Dr. Sams indicated the school would be forming a task force to foster inclusion on campus and to address administrative policies potentially “hindering” to LGBTQA students.
Because this issue applies to our broader campus community, I am forming a task force:
1) to create a four-year educational approach that is central to our school’s emerging student development model
2) to look at policies and practices at the College that hinder our LGBTQA community from flourishing, and
3) to catalyze the College’s creation of a “safe space” on campus.
Stay tuned for updates..
There has been no shortage of responses in recent days following an incident of homophobia involving the Morehouse Football Team at a screening of “Dear White People” in Columbia, SC this past weekend. One movie-goer responded to the homophobic incident in a blog post. You can read her full response here.
Here are some of the Twitter responses to her post:
Sad, but not surprised. http://t.co/iOzYlx1ZVr
— 31-0 (@Pants_So_Short) October 25, 2014
Morehouse is in trouble… http://t.co/ODlQ16Z3DN
— the other one (@imfromraleigh) October 25, 2014
Since when is Morehouse 50% gay? And regardless is it ever ok to show your tail "representing" the school? http://t.co/qYZInnYPO8
— Tre'vell Anderson (@TrevellAnderson) October 25, 2014
— ▲▲▲▲▲▲ (@BossLadyBree_) October 25, 2014
As for the football team, we caught up with a number of players familiar to the incident. They chose to remain anonymous but said the incident is not wholly reflective of the team.
So far, the administration has committed to “institutional action” following this incident. Later this week, Dr. Wilson and VP for Student Development Timothy Sams will sit down with The Maroon Tiger to discuss the path forward.
Their response comes in the wake of an open letter published by senior Marcus Lee, president of gender and sexual diverse collective SafeSpace. Here’s some of what he had to say (you can read his full response here):
Our situation is a complex and peculiar one. I’m proud to say that many of us (students & alum) have committed to loving ourselves/each other regardless of—and in some instances because of—our differences. Moreover, there are many faculty and staff members—including the President of the college, the Office of Student Life, several professors, etc.—that embrace us. However, Morehouse’s curricula, institutional policies and procedures do not reflect this embrace. There are no Black queer studies courses, gender and sexual orientation are absent from our employment nondiscrimination policy, we have a dress code that outlaws wearing ‘female attire,’ we have an inactive diversity committee, and the list continues. So, I don’t think the football team’s reactions are inherent to them specifically. Instead, they are a product of a grooming process—that begins in the world, and is buttressed or goes uninterrupted at Morehouse—that’s checkered with heteronormativity and silence; inclusive spaces are forged here in spite of, not because of, the culture of the college.
As for the Morehouse’s official response, the college took to their Facebook page to fully affirm the open letter written by Lee.
There has been a lot said about the reported movie theater incident involving the Morehouse football team. But we think our student Marcus Lee’s comments are right on target.
Earlier today, the football team and administrators met to discuss the incident. We are working to get details on that meeting. Stay tuned for updates.