Members of TCU’s Gay-Straight Alliance chapter are pushing to add hate crimes against sexual orientation to TCU’s student handbook.
Shelbie Rosenblum, junior social work major and GSA president, said that the organization is insisting on this change, because currently there is no written protocol for how hate crimes should be handled at TCU.
Although hate crimes are reported in TCU’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, Rosenblum said since there is no protocol, instances that may be considered hate crimes are “swept under the rug.”
“I personally know at least a handful of students that have had hate crimes toward them,” she said. “But it’s not publicized that there’s a hate crime going on, so the mass population doesn’t know about it.”
GSA members met with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Kathy Cavins-Tull, to discuss adding LGBTQ hate crimes to the student handbook, said Rosenblum.
The administration has been working on a new Title IX policy, Cavins-Tull wrote in an email. Title IX, of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits discrimination based on sex, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Cavins-Tull wrote that these hate crimes cannot be added to the student handbook until the Faculty Senate, Staff Assembly and Student Senate executive boards approve the change.
There were 5,790 hate crimes committed in 2012, according to the FBI’s annual hate crime statistics. Hate crimes against sexual orientation accounted for 20 percent of the total number, second only to crimes against race.
According to the FBI hate crime statistics, the most common hate crime against sexual orientation in 2012 was anti-male homosexual bias, or bias against gay males. These crimes accounted for 53.9 percent of hate crimes against sexual orientation. Anti-homosexual bias was the second most common, accounting for almost 21 percent of hate crimes against sexual orientation, according to the statistics.
Anti-heterosexual hate crimes were also included in the statistics and accounted for 1.9 percent of the hate crimes.
According to Rosenblum, protocols in the student handbook can also protect students, who claim hate crimes were made against them.
Sophomore biochemistry major and GSA member Austin Green, who is openly gay, said he has felt threatened due to his sexual orientation two times since he’s been at TCU.
Green said the first incident occurred in the bathroom near Union Grounds.
“This guy was acting very strange,” Green said. “He started doing something and then he looked at me and then I looked back at him because he was just staring at me and it was kind of creepy. Then he just bolted out of the bathroom and started telling everyone that I was trying to sexually assault him.”
Green said that the man left the bathroom and started screaming.
“[Everyone] just stared at me like I was some monster and they didn’t believe me,” he said.
Green said another incident occurred in his residence hall, Milton Daniel.
“The second one was like a week after I finally put up a whiteboard outside of my room, because everyone in our hallway had one,” he said. “I saw that someone had drawn pictures of penises all over the place and wrote little hateful comments everywhere.”
“Why would they write it on the one person’s whiteboard, who is the one openly gay person in the dorm? It didn’t make sense,” Green said.
Green said that the Milton Hall Director sent an email out to all students in the dorm, but some students did not respond well.
“What was hurtful about that was when they sent out the email, some people were just mocking it and saying, ‘that’s not vandalism, that’s just stupid. I don’t know why anyone would get so hurt by that,’” Green said.
“That was more hurtful than the vandalism,” Green said. “The fact that it wasn’t that people didn’t care, but that people felt negatively toward me feeling negatively toward it.”
Green said he felt the action taken by the hall director was sufficient because there have not been any other vandalism acts toward him.
Green said that LGBTQ hate crimes should be added to the student handbook because these crimes are just as prevalent as other forms of discrimination.
“The fact that someone’s being discriminated against is just discrimination, and it shouldn’t matter if it’s LGBT or color. It should be treated the same,” Green said. “I feel like [TCU] wouldn’t put up with racism, so why would they put up with homophobia?”
Google Map displaying everywhere in Texas hate crimes against sexual orientation occurred in 2012: