Unity House Publishes Open Letter to Rainbow Flag Vandals

(via the Unity House Facebook)

Unity House has sent out an open letter regarding the rainbow flags that were torn from their door this past weekend. For those of our readers who do not receive allemp or allstu, the full letter appears after the jump. The authors of the letter allude to The Thrill‘s recent post “Deb Ball is for Faggots.”

Sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning, both of the rainbow flags hanging outside Unity House (NCA 3A) were taken. After we noticed the flags were missing, a report was made to Campus Safety, and then later that afternoon the flags were found in the woods behind F-Block, muddied and torn.

Unity House is one of only a handful of Safe Spaces on campus, and hanging the rainbow flags outside conveys to LGBTQ students and other community members that they can rely on Unity House as a Safe Space for people of any sexuality or gender identity. No matter the intent of those who removed the flags, the loss of these symbols damages the perceived safety of our community.

We have no way of knowing whether the removal of the flags was a threat, a prank meant in fun, or both; however, it frightens us to think that there might have been malicious intent behind it. We like to think this campus is safe for everyone, and the fact that we received 275 signatures on our Ally Pledge this past week proves we have made great strides in LGBTQ visibility and security. On the other hand, this vandalism to our property in the wake of The Thrill’s article about homophobic slurs on campus suggests to us that we as a community need to be more aware and proactive to ensure the continued comfort of our LGBTQ community members.

We keep our rainbow flags flying outside to show our pride, and to make us visible to the Kenyon community. To have both of them taken down and thrown into the forest makes us believe that it wasn’t an accident. As harmless as it might have seemed to those who did this, it scares us. No one in our community deserves to have their property stolen and hidden, and we shouldn’t feel worried about our personal safety or our property in this community. We will keep our flags outside flying high to remind ourselves and our community that we are proud of who we are.  We will not take this as a sign that we need to be less visible in the community that we all share.

Samantha Biasca, Ben Kress, Linda Mullin, Robbie Sellers

The Residents of Unity House

Here is a screengrab of the actual email:

We will update you on the situation as more information becomes available.

27 responses

  1. What the f*ck Kenyon? a) Making F-block look bad. If you did it and you’re from F-block you can get the hell out. I promise we at F-block are not homophobic. b) How is this happening? How does Kenyon let people in who are so backward-thinking that they still fear homosexuality? The Kenyon community needs to band together in support of Unity House and all queer students and staff so that these people know that they are the extreme minority

  2. has anyone considered that this could have been casual theft? I hate to say this, but things are stolen all the time for no other reason than being visually appealing to drunk people walking home. I am not suggesting this wasn’t an act with a disturbing agenda, but it could be petty theft and nothing more.

    • Petty theft by drunk people or not, it still makes one feel unsafe and disrespected. Unity’s letter is not accusing anyone of a hate crime, it is pointing out that the vandalism that occurred “damages the perceived safety of our community” and to state that they will not be scared into silence by those who did it (whether they were just being regular jerks or actually malicious).

      People need to cherish our community and respect this place. Plenty of us get wasted every weekend and don’t go tearing down symbols of a safe space or wrecking bikes.

      • Whoa, I hope this last post was meant to be sarcastic. As one of the Unity House members this is not the message we are trying to convey at all, did you even read our letter?

      • You’re a fucking cunt who hates listening to people (in this case reading).
        And the word cunt isn’t something to just spat out.
        You even go as far as labeling the person as a bro.
        You are an idiot hahahahaha.

        There is a high probability that this was casual theft. It happens all the time.
        Look at all the allstu about missing items.

        Honestly everybody is running around with their heads chopped off.
        Stop jumping to conclusions and being soooo butt hurt.

        Just because vandalism occurred doesn’t mean there’s a need for alarm. When the giant gong for the Gamelan ensemble went missing, people didn’t get this scared; it could’ve easily been a racially/culturally motivated theft.

        Some people on this campus get too offended too easily; toughen up.

      • I agree labeling it as an act of “some bro” is not the right way to look at it. No one should be antagonizing anyone. Don’t stereotype someone wearing a hat, sweatshirt, and boat shoes as some insensitive dick because that’s not helping anyone.

        But I also want to respond to those who think this was just casual vandalism and that people need to calm down and toughen up. One has to be completely ignorant to the rest of the world/the kenyon community to not know what the rainbow flag means and represents. Whether someone is drunk or sober, when you throw that in the mud, you know exactly what you’re saying. Even if that wasn’t the intent, the person had to have known the statement they were making. Kenyon is a safe community and it makes me sick that all it takes is one person to completely ruin that. I don’t feel threatened or endangered, but even if this makes one person in the LGBTQ community feel this way, then to me that is a problem.

        The LGBTQ community has dealt with enough in their life when it comes to their sexuality that you may not understand. We’ve had to come out to our families, our friends, and deal with being told by some that we don’t deserve the same rights as everyone else. Kenyon has always been a safe and accepting space, and I am sorry that I personally don’t want to have to put up with ignorance like that here. None of us should have to. I am not a very active member of Unity House or Crozier nor do I get offended easily, but frankly, I’m offended that you’d tell any of us to “toughen up”.

      • I’ll say it again, TOUGHENT UP!!!

        Kenyon is a cake walk compared to the real world.
        I’m not saying you should just let people stomp all over the LGBT community.

        Just stop crying “wolf”.
        When it actually matters, it’ll be too late.
        People will have stopped listening.

      • I’ll be sure to “toughent up.”

        Wow, that worked wonders. I’ve tried to toughen up before, but that extra t really gives you the extra mile.

        But seriously, well said Ryan.

  3. They did: “We have no way of knowing whether the removal of the flags was a threat, a prank meant in fun, or both.” Also, considering the article pertaining to the heterosexist epithet that was hurled at two of our community members was posted a mere couple days before this second incident, it seems unlikely that this is just a coincidence. Even if we assume that the removal of the flags was a coincidence, the message of the all-stu remains salient.

  4. To whomever took the flag: I am angry at you for all the reasons Unity House stated above, and also because I walk by Unity House every day to and from my apartment, and seeing rainbows flying in the breeze makes me happy.

  5. There’s been talk on AllStu about donations for new flags or rainbow flag stickers to put on doors around campus. Any news on that?

  6. hey guys,let’s remember everyone deserves to love whomever they wish. love between two consenting people is beautiful regardless of thier gender. you are all smart young adults;it’s incomprehensible to me that any Kenyon student would be stuck in the past with thier feelings towards the LBGT community or anybody else for that matter..please say it isn’t so,THE PRESIDENT OF OUR COUNTRY SUPPORTS EQUALITY FOR THE LBGT COMMUNITY.come on guys,get together on this, you are ALL going to shape future generations of americans, we need you to come together on this ……..no judgement–only love.

  7. This disturbs me as an ally and a human being. Whoever did this is disrespecting the LGBTQ community, this college, and the safe community we are trying to promote. I know that Kenyon is better than this; I just hope that we can show that. The idiotic actions of a few individuals has no right to sully our support of LGBTQ people or make them feel unsafe. Step it up Kenyon!

  8. It is strange to me that the student body reacts more strongly to this than when a grown man, fully nude, walked into a varsity KAC shower on a girl, TWICE.

    If this turns out to be a hate crime, obviously this is a complete different issue, and this response is appropriate. But can we PLEASE stop jumping to conclusions on issues like this, viz. Sodexo?

    Stuff gets stolen all the time, including laptops–sometimes not even by students! Until we know what happened, let’s do what we can to replace the flags, then wait and see.

  9. i agree. this could have been out of anger or hate for the LGBTQ community, but what if it was a really drunk college student who wanted the flags because they were colorful and caught his or her eye? what if a drunk gay or lesbian kenyon college student wanted to hang them in his/her apartment? the fact that this happened between saturday night and sunday morning makes it very likely that someone was drunk and took the flags. there were also at least 20 townies at the cove, couldn’t have been them? the fact that everyone is acting like kenyon needs to get its shit together is so stupid. the only reason people are saying that is because becca had the courage to share her story and unity house sent out an email about losing their flags. both of those things could have easily not happened and everyone would still be going around thinking kenyon was super accepting and awesome and perfect. there will always be conflict, and we have to learn to accept that. compared to where i grew up, kenyon is amazingly and beautifully accepting. unless you have experienced the opposite, you might not appreciate that. i think we need to step back and be thankful for what we have here. let’s not unfairly accuse the kenyon community of a hate crime just for the sake of stirring up some drama.

  10. A. It could have been anyone who took those flags.
    B. The fact that they were taken is blatantly obvious to anyone who walks through there everyday.
    C. Everyone who lives in those houses should be aware of the fact that someone is walking around taking things.
    D. Nothing is completely safe. If it is not nailed down, there is someone who has no guilt at all about taking what is not theirs to take.
    E. I am making the assumption that the responsible “party” is under the age of 25 and is more than one someone.
    F. The world is full of people who don’t think before acting, which is why there are so many things that are wrong.
    G. If I lived at Unity House, I would be afraid. Not because of my sexual orientation, but because of thievery. Thievery makes anyone afraid. You feel like your life and safety has been violated.
    H. Instead of getting all high and mighty and in-fighting, lets try to understand the position that this puts ALL of the students in.
    I. If you are OK with taking someone else’s property, then you need to realize that the world doesn’t owe you anything. I find it hard to believe that there is so much criticism of people in the public eye about how they act dishonestly, yet others (the average Joe) can do what they want and not have to answer for it.
    J. Samantha, Ben, Linda, and Robbie – stay safe. Keep your doors locked. Always be true to yourselves. And keep loving the rainbow.

  11. Pingback: Follow Up: Unity House Publishes Second Letter After Weekend Vandalism « The Thrill

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