A   C o m p r e h e n s i v e   M a n u a l
phere of hatred and suspicion that tears at
Strategies for Activists
the pluralistic fabric of our society.
Every school is different, as are the cir 
The Campus Response
cumstances under which violence and
other abuses occur.  Although there is no
Almost as disturbing as bigoted harass 
magic formula for dealing with harass 
ment is the lack of reaction to such abuse
ment, the following guidelines may help
by many colleges and universities.  While
your group organize an effective
some administrators have forthrightly
response to the problem.  They may also
confronted the problem, many still deny
foster a more affirming environment on
or ignore its existence.  When asked to
campus for lgbt people. 
take appropriate action, incidents are too
frequently dismissed as isolated and/or
1) Provide Support for the Victims.
unimportant.  Sometimes victims are
When responding to bias motivated
advised to drop their complaints on the
harassment or violence, the most impor 
premise that that drawing attention to it
tant thing for students and staff to consid 
only "makes matters worse."
er is the welfare of those victimized.
Decisions about whether to publicize an
Some have gone so far as to blame the
incident and lobby for official action
victims.  Several years ago at a college in
should always be made in consultation
upstate New York, lesbian and gay stu 
dents who had received a series of threat 
Absent a clear, official state 
ening notes were told that if they were
ment on this matter, lgbt stu 
less "flamboyant" the harassment would
dents, staff, and faculty
probably stop.  When a lesbian at a West
remain vulnerable to unfair
Virginia college complained to officials
and unequal treatment and
that she was being repeatedly threatened,
are discouraged from report 
she was told to transfer to another school
ing victimization to campus
if she wanted to be an out lesbian.  When
or civil authorities.
a student at a Pennsylvania university
sent out an  anti gay message on an inter 
with the victims.  Being harassed or
national computer bulletin board, the
assaulted often leads to feelings of pow 
administration remained silent.  Only
erlessness.  It can compound this sense of
after a sustained campaign from students
disempowerment for victims if others
did the university s president make a
take actions on their behalf without their
statement.  But the statement condemned
knowledge or consent.  Because the
misuse of the computer system rather
impact of bigoted harassment extends
than the bigotry in the student s message!
beyond the immediate victim(s), it may
be necessary to create an opportunity for
all concerned to share their feelings about
the incident(s) and make decisions about
what steps to take.
O r g a n i z i n g   A g a i n s t   H a t e     M     1 7 7


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