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    Posted June 13, 2014 by
    mlackovich
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    chicago, Illinois
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    Overcoming University Induced Homophobia

     

    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     Mike Lackovich, an LGBT activist and a Northeastern Illinois University student, sent photos and videos from the ongoing protests over the school’s refusal to rename Lech Walesa Hall following anti-gay comments the former Poland president made last year. While the group of 30 students and teachers were protesting Thursday, Lackovich says members of the Board of Trustees walked past or through the demonstration. Read the school’s response in the original story.
    - zdan, CNN iReport producer

    For over a year now students and staff, both straight and LGBTQA have been battling over the removal of the Lech Walesa name from the campus building.

    Lech Walesa's homophobic and bigoted comments of 2013 to push gays and minorities to the back of the room or behind a wall, are not congruent with the diversity platform or values that the school markets.

    It started off with petitions. Then an advisory committee was put into place. Then in April 2014, President Sharon Hahs, despite the recommendations of the advisory committee to remove the Lech Walesa name, decided to keep the name.

    The Board of Trustees sit silent and stone faced as they were informed of the hurt, safety and distractions that this situation is plaguing our school with. They wonder why enrollment numbers are down. One word: HOMOPHOBE.

    Now the student body has had enough of this and is going to take back this campus and our dignity. Whether that means that President Sharon Hahs is forcibly removed along with the Board of Trustees or whether she ultimately sees the ways of her errors.

    The silence of the Board and Hahs should be taken as a message. That they have embraced the homophobic ideals of Lech Walesa. His words are now their words.

    Students and staff are now taking actions over their heads and out of their control. Protesting, engaging media outlets and contacting state representives. From the Governor's office down format.

    Pride month gives greater exposure to the larger LGBTQA community who are alum and potentially could attend this school. Plans are underway to bring pressure from the LGBT community in the next week.

    Homophobia unchecked hurts everyone. If Lech Walesa is given a free pass, what prevents a homophobic student from getting the same free pass.

    Hopefully, the sick logic of President Hahs will be replaced with intelligence before she and the Board take this fine state school into an abyss.

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