University of Cincinnati and Miami University communities protest anti-gay hate crime against students

Photo: University of Cincinnati students, faculty and staff rally in response to an anti-gay hate crime at Miami University on a busy street corner with signs and rainbow flags. Photo source: City Beat, Google Images

Students, faculty and staff at University of Cincinnati rallied in solidarity with Miami University of Ohio students after a student from each school was brutalized in an anti-gay hate crime.

Miami student Michael Bustin and UC student Adam Voegele were attacked in Oxford near Miami’s campus March 24. Four attackers targeted Bustin and Voegele as they were holding hands while walking home at 2 a.m. from an annual drag show sponsored by Spectrum, Miami’s gay-straight alliance. The attackers screamed derogatory, anti-gay slurs before violently beating the two students.

Photo: Miami University community members hold hands at the rally in response to the hate crime. Photo source: The Miami Student, Google Images

Miami University community members hold hands at the Oxford rally against the hate crime. | The Miami Student

“Every student should feel safe to walk through campus and our local communities without fear of brutal violence,” said Blake Jelley, president of UC Alliance and an organizer of the rally. “We urge students and staff at Miami and UC to take a stronger stance against anti-gay attacks and urge administration to take more proactive measures to ensure that our university communities are safe for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.”

In April 2010, two Miami University students were assaulted at the same annual drag show after anti-gay hate slurs were shouted at them. In March 2009, a UC student was attacked on campus when a visiting student found out he is gay.

“Too often, acts of bias and intimidation against LGBT students go overlooked by our peers and authority figures,” said Billy Price, president of Spectrum. “It’s time to address anti-LGBT violence head on before more of our students fall victim to hateful brutality.”

In a joint statement, the two groups wrote:

We, the students of the LGBT alliances of Miami University and University of Cincinnati, stand united in our demand for a safe place to live, learn, work and show affection. We demand that our universities make LGBT-inclusive diversity initiatives, such as the Safe Zone trainings, mandatory for all faculty, staff and student leaders. We also demand that our campus police force be trained to specifically combat and handle anti-LGBT violence. Lastly, we demand that our universities take a more proactive role in supporting their LGBT students and raise awareness about the negative consequences of homophobia/transphobia.

No arrested have been made in the incident. Oxford Police report they have no leads, but did release this composite sketch of one of the attackers:

Photo: A police sketch of one of the Miami University hate crime suspects. He is a young, white man with chin-length hair and a hat. Photo source: WLWT, Google Images

Photos from the rally are up on Stuff Queer People Need To Know’s Facebook page. Several news outlets also covered the protest, and links to the stories are below:

Photos courtesy of Beelisty, Tom GetEqual Morgan, WLWT, The Miami Student and City Beat.

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5 thoughts on “University of Cincinnati and Miami University communities protest anti-gay hate crime against students

  1. Pingback: Rash of Ohio hate crimes indicative of historical context, culture « Stuff Queer People Need To Know

  2. Pingback: A Rash of Hate Crimes in Ohio: Stories of Oppression, Stories of Hope « In Our Words

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