The president of Cleveland State University, Ronald Berkman, is facing some serious backlash after telling students that he would not be removing fliers on campus encouraging LGBTQ people to kill themselves.
The horrifying fliers, which said at the top "Follow your fellow f*ggots," seemed to have been posted up by an organization called Fascist Solutions. They included statistics about suicide among trans and LGBT youth.
Twitter account @spookyknafeh tweeted a picture of the vile pamphlet, along with an email from President Berkman to CSU students.
The email read, in part:
CSU remains fully committed to a campus community that respects all individuals regardless of age, race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation and other historical bases for discrimination.
CSU also is committed to upholding the First Amendment, even with regard to controversial issues where opinion is divided. 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.
These two paragraphs contradict each other. No campus where they are encouraged to kill themselves is "respectful" towards targeted individuals. And while free speech is the cornerstone of this country, these fliers have absolutely no potential for "educational growth."
Twitter was not here for this nonsense.
After the backlash, Berkman issued another statement, this one inviting students to an open meeting to discuss the fliers. He didn't apologize, nor did he back down from his original "First Amendment" argument.
The student response was less than enthusiastic, but Demi Overley, a member of CSU's Queer Student Alliance, told BuzzFeed that the "president's hands were tied by the laws of Ohio." Overley added that the focus should be less on the school's response to the fliers, and more on changing state laws regarding free speech.
The fliers were eventually taken down, but for the most bureaucratic of reasons: the group didn't have prior approval to post them. William Dube told BuzzFeed that the posters "did not conform with CSU policies and procedures regarding posting and were removed."
So all Fascist Solutions has to do is get prior approval and everything will be on the up-and-up????
Please do better, educational institutions of America.