A flier which encouraged LGBTQ students at Cleveland State University to commit suicide led many to criticize school officials for not taking a stronger stance against hate speech.
Cleveland.com reported that the flier was posted October 12 on a bulletin board located in the Main Classroom building. Cleveland State University (CSU) spokesman Will Dube said the leaflet was immediately removed and officials were notified.
The full flier, which can be viewed below, featured a silhouetted figure hanging by a noose with the words, “Follow Your Fellow F*****s.” It went on to spout off statistics about LGBT suicide.
“34% of trans people attempt suicide,” the flier read. “30% of suicides are LGBT related. Over 40% of bisexual people considered suicide.”
It’s unclear who produced and posted the offensive leaflet, but a logo located at the bottom reads, “Fascist Solutions.”
The incident has also sparked widespread outrage against CSU President, Ronald M. Berkman, for defending free speech in light of what many are calling targeted harassment.
“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,” Berkman said in a statement Monday.
“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.”
Following the backlash, Berkman released another statement Tuesday where he explained how legalities make it difficult to squash these types of offensive comments. He also apologized for his original comments, saying that he “wanted to acknowledge that yesterday I failed to express my personal outrage over a recent incident involving an anti-LGBTQ+ poster.”
He wrote, “Let me make it clear that I am committed to promoting a safe and inclusive campus for all members of our community. I recognize this incident has created significant concern around the campus.”
According to WJW, administrators said they plan to hold ongoing meetings about this issue until the student body feels their concerns are fully heard.
[Featured Image: Twitter/TWRader]