The ‘Not on our Campus’ event was held at Central Oregon Community College on Oct. 20. The event, where students were encouraged to wear purple, focused on gay bullying. Gay teens ranging from age 10 to 20 years old have committed suicide over the last two months.
The Associated Students of Central Oregon Community, Multicultural Activities, the Gay Straight Alliance club, Juniper Hall and the Human Dignity Coalition came together in support of an anti bullying effort taking place across the nation. The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has promoted ‘Spirit Day’ where people are encouraged to wear purple to promote anti bullying. John MacAulay, ASCOCC’s event’s coordinator was one of they key figures behind the purple shirts hanging on windows around campus.
“It’s a national movement to stop teen suicides across the nation,” said Karen Roth, director of multicultural activities at COCC.
The ‘Not on Our Campus’ event hosted speakers, who talked about their personal experiences with bullying not only within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning community, but also addressed the overall issue of bullying. The event also hosted campus and community resources and the film “Bullied,” which was recently released.
“It [Not on Our Campus] got spurred because this is an important issue,” said Roth.
One of the recent suicides to bring about the event was an eighteen year old student at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Tyler Clementi jumped from a bridge over the Hudson River. His roommates had posted a secretly taped video online of Clementi and another man. Over 10 gay youth have been reported committing suicide in the last two months across the nation.
“You feel weak. You feel like you do not have the power to change your situation,” said Roth about individuals who face bullying.
According to the Gay Lesbian Education Network, in 2009 84.6% of LGBT students reported being verbally harassed, 40.1% reported being physically harassed and 18.8% reported being physically assaulted at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation
“I have gone through this, and it sucks,” said a COCC student who spoke at the event. The student spoke about personal experiences with bullying.
A recent case of gay bullying occurred on COCC and OSU Cascades campus. A Juniper Hall Residence student found ‘die fag’ written on their white board outside of their dorm room.
“There is help and there is assistance… if there is harassment or physical violence or even slurs,” said Rob Mcdilda, director of campus services. “Myself, my staff are committed to this,” explained Mcdilda who offered students the option to stop by the Boyle building room 142 if individuals are feeling threatened.
“It’s all about support,” voiced Gordon Price, COCC director of student life. “This is a great start here on campus.”
Roth also acknowledged the help out there to victims of bullying like the Cap Cent at COCC which offers counseling to students.
“We have to stand up and stop this,” said Mcdilda to a full room of community members.
You may contact Eric Ercanbrack at firstname.lastname@example.org