News Release

News and Public Information Office
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Miami University
Oxford, Ohio 45056
(513) 529-7592
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Anti-Hate Rally Oct. 29

10/28/2002

About 250 Miami University students, faculty and staff gathered for an Anti-Hate Rally at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the reflecting pool behind Shriver Center.

The rally was organized by Spectrum, a coalition that represents gay, lesbian, and bisexual students, faculty and staff. Other campus organizations and individual students, faculty and staff are also involved in organizing the event.

The rally was in response to an anonymous anti-gay e-mail sent Oct. 20 to about a dozen students, faculty and staff who were among those who had listed their names in a National Coming Out Day advertisement in the Miami Student and a cross burning in rural Oxford Twp.

Organizers said the event was also aimed at the general ethnic and religious tensions in the nation. The university lists resources for dealing with hate incidents and hate crimes online on its No Hate Resource Page.

Statement from Miami President Dr. Garland:

    Last week, two instances of intimidation and hatred served to remind us that strong currents of intolerance still exist in our community.

    The first incident was a burning cross found on the lawn of a resident of Oxford Township. That crime is being investigated by the Oxford Township Police and the Butler County Sheriff’s Office with assistance from the FBI.

    The other incident was an anonymous email sent Oct. 20 to 12 signers of an advertisement that appeared in the Miami Student on “National Coming Out Day.”

    Although the email apparently did not meet the technical definition of a crime, it was clearly an unprovoked and unwarranted attack on the signers that was intended to intimidate and frighten them. The email expressed the desire that the 12 recipients “should go find (themselves) a ceiling rafter and a sturdy piece of rope.”

    Although the incidents appear to be unrelated, their perpetrators share two traits. The first is a profound ignorance. Intolerance and hatred are the hallmark of uneducated minds, and the continued presence of such people in our society underscores the responsibility of schools, churches and colleges to help all citizens develop their sense of humanity.

    The second trait is cowardice. Hiding behind a cloak of anonymity, the perpetrators of both incidents lacked the moral fiber to subject themselves to the public condemnation that they knew their despicable actions would provoke. Their behavior stands in stark contrast to the courage of the 12 persons who placed the advertisement in the Miami Student.

    There is a sentence in the Miami University Values Statement that reads, “Members of our community respect the dignity of other persons, the rights and property of others, and the right of others to hold and express disparate beliefs." Events such as those of last week highlight the importance of this statement to the well-being of our university community. The persons who committed these reprehensible acts have violated the most basic precepts of decency and respect and are not welcome here.

    However, their actions deserve more than our contempt. Let us resolve also to use this occasion to redouble our efforts to reach out to others who are different from ourselves, whether by sexual orientation, racial or ethnic background, religious or political affiliation, or lifestyle. The best weapon against hate and intolerance lies in the respect we accord our own neighbors, friends, and colleagues

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