Homophobic slur found in Bosco Plaza

Courtesy photo: Annie Spence

Only days after alleged anti-Semitic vandalism destroyed a Jewish structure on campus, a homophobic slur was found written on a pillar in Bosco Plaza Monday afternoon.

The slur, which said “God hates f**,” appeared to have been written in charcoal, chalk or a similar medium. The writing was removed by Student Union custodians early Monday afternoon, said Audrey Taggart-Kagdis, Union director of marketing and community relations.

Brandon Haddock, coordinator for K-State’s LGBT Resource Center, said he was alerted to the vandalism by a student.

“I immediately went to the Union and reviewed it,” Haddock said. “They immediately got to work getting it scrubbed off of the pillar.”

Haddock said he had considered leaving the slur on the pillar.

Leaving it up, everyone has the opportunity to see it,” Haddock said. “It’s going to draw attention. There will be posts made about it on Facebook, on Instagram, on all social media, [but] that is just as damaging to someone who sees it. Knowing that is was there is one thing. Seeing and being subjected to it is very visceral in that it could be a trigger for anxiety.”

In an email statement, Pat Bosco, dean of students and vice president for student life, said he has asked the campus police to help investigate the vandalism and that “there are video cameras on certain locations on campus.”

“I am keeping my fingers crossed we can identify who is responsible and thinks they can get away with this kind of stupid and hateful behavior without consequences,” Bosco said.

Bosco said the university will be proactive in removing hateful messages like it.

“I am incredibly embarrassed and sad we are having to spend time and energy on any kind of message on our campus that is hateful and disgusting,” Bosco said. “I can only imagine the pain those words have on my students and members of our university community.”

Annie Spence, sophomore in pre-physical therapy kinesiology and gender, women and sexuality studies, said in a Facebook post that she was walking by when she saw the vandalism. Spence said she initially thought the vandalism was “small and fearful” rather than threatening.

“I think it is a reminder that you’re non-normative,” Spence said in an online interview. “Sometimes we can surround ourselves with community that supports us and forget that there are those who feel hateful and violent towards us, albeit that’s often permitted only briefly.

“However I wouldn’t say it makes me fearful but more determined to keep living as usual and more thankful of those who do support us,” Spence continued. “The community of professors on campus who are allies is really amazing, [especially the gender, women and sexuality studies] department in particular.”

Spence said the idea of a K-State “family” can be hard to believe when there are hateful actions, such as the vandalism, that have occurred regularly on campus. She said the administration could do more to condemn such acts.

“I understand it is difficult when you have to worry about offending potential donors, but I think making it known discrimination is in no way acceptable is important to the well-being of students,” Spence said.

Haddock said speech such as the slur that was written on the plaza pillar should be universally considered as hateful.

“What is offensive? That’s the million dollar question,” Haddock said. “Everyone has their own values. Everyone has their own beliefs in what is offensive, but I think that anyone can agree that terminology that is degrading to a particular community or an action that is taken against a minoritized community that seeks to further marginalize them … that is offensive.”

I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at news@kstatecollegian.com.