University of Cincinnati and Miami University Communities Protest Anti-gay Hate Crime Against Students

by: Jamie Anne Royce

Miami student Michael Bustin and UC student Adam Voegele were attacked in Oxford near Miami’s campus March 24. Four attackers targeted Bustin and Voegele as they were holding hands while walking home at 2 a.m. from an annual drag show sponsored by Spectrum, Miami’s gay-straight alliance. The attackers screamed derogatory, anti-gay slurs before violently beating the two students.

“Every student should feel safe to walk through campus and our local communities without fear of brutal violence,” said Blake Jelley, president of UC Alliance and an organizer of the rally. “We urge students and staff at Miami and UC to take a stronger stance against anti-gay attacks and urge administration to take more proactive measures to ensure that our university communities are safe for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.”

In April 2010, two Miami University students were assaulted at the same annual drag show after anti-gay hate slurs were shouted at them. In March 2009, a UC student was attacked on campus when a visiting student found out he is gay.

“Too often, acts of bias and intimidation against LGBT students go overlooked by our peers and authority figures,” said Billy Price, president of Spectrum. ”It’s time to address anti-LGBT violence head on before more of our students fall victim to hateful brutality.”

In a joint statement, the two groups wrote:

We, the students of the LGBT alliances of Miami University and University of Cincinnati, stand united in our demand for a safe place to live, learn, work and show affection. We demand that our universities make LGBT-inclusive diversity initiatives, such as the Safe Zone trainings, mandatory for all faculty, staff and student leaders. We also demand that our campus police force be trained to specifically combat and handle anti-LGBT violence. Lastly, we demand that our universities take a more proactive role in supporting their LGBT students and raise awareness about the negative consequences of homophobia/transphobia.

No arrested have been made in the incident. Oxford Police report they have no leads, but did release this composite sketch of one of the attackers:

Jamie Anne Royce is a fierce fancy femme and mobile media machine, working as a freelance writer, reporter, editor and photojournalist. She also blogs at Stuff Queer People Need To Know.

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