Branford College administrators sent out an email on Tuesday condemning the recent vandalism of a poster advertising Yale’s LGBT-interest publication, Q.
In the email, Branford Master Steven Smith and Dean Hilary Fink expressed their “profound sense of shock and disgust” with respect to the vandalism. The poster, which hung on a bulletin board in Branford College and was discovered on Monday night by Co-coordinator of the LGBTQ Co-op Ryan Mendías ’13, was marked with a homophobic slur. Additionally, the slogan “Love is queer” was changed to “Love is not queer.”
Mendías said he took the poster down from the bulletin board upon discovering it at 8:45 p.m. and immediately contacted the dean and master of Branford College. Mendías expressed disappointment at how, even after a month known as “Gaypril,” dedicated to celebrating LGBTQ pride on campus, the community is not immune to acts of bigotry from some.
Asked about the email sent out by Branford administrators, Mendías said he considered it to be an appropriate response.
“It definitely is the level of forcefulness that at least I personally was hoping to see from the residential college administration,” Mendías said.
Q Editor in Chief Jacob Conway ’11 said he was disgusted when made aware of the vandalism, saying the incident is offensive and clearly rooted in homophobia. At the same time, he said that just as his team has a right to put the posters up in a public forum, others have a right to take them down.
“The best response is to just put up another poster. ‘Love is queer,’” Conway said. “They can keep doing this but we’re not going to go away.”
More than anything else, the vandalism proves that hateful attitudes still exist on campus, Conway said, adding that Q would certainly address the issue through one of its platforms, whether online or in print, in the future.
Maria Trumpler, the director of the Office of LGBTQ Resources, said by email that she and her peer liaisons worked with the Yale College Dean’s Office, Branford administrators, and Mendías to form an appropriate response to the incident.
At the end of their email response, Master Smith and Dean Fink emphasize the importance of inclusion and respect at Yale, claiming an attack on one individual is a “violation of the very terms of our social contract.” They end by writing, “In the words of George Washington we will afford ‘to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.’ We hope that the perpetrator of this and recent acts of disrespect will remember this and take these words to heart.”
Earlier this month, a similar incident took place when an LGBTQ Co-op poster was intentionally burned in Vanderbilt Hall. The Yale Police investigated the incident and Berkeley Master Marvin Chun sent an email to the Berkeley community afterward expressing severe disappointment.
Correction: April 27, 2011
An earlier version of this article mistakenly reported that Conway said his magazine would address the issues surrounding the vandalism in its next issue.