Morehouse President Vows To Talk to Students on Gay IssuesDecember 5, 2002 |
Morehouse President Vows To Talk to Students on Gay Issues
An attack on a student last month at Morehouse College led to talk around the campus about homophobia and a call from a national organization for the school to address the issue publicly.
Sophomore Aaron Price was charged with aggravated assault for the baseball bat beating of a fellow student who Price said looked at him too long in the shower.
The victim, a sophomore music student and member of the college glee club, suffered a fractured skull and underwent emergency surgery.
Price, 19, was released from the Fulton County jail on $10,000 bond and Morehouse officials said he had been expelled.
The incident created tension between students and administrators at the all-male historically Black college in Atlanta. Students complained that the administrators were avoiding dealing with the campus culture that led to the beating. They also said their efforts to discuss it in public forums were quashed at least twice, referring to the cancellation of a forum planned by Omega Psi Phi fraternity and the suspension of Student Government Association activities for the rest of the semester. According to a letter from the Morehouse Campus Life department, the SGA was suspended because of their “blatant disregard of the agreement … to postpone the Meeting of the Minds program on homophobia …”
Morehouse College President Walter Massey reinstated the SGA and agreed to allow them to speak during a campus-only forum. Massey also vowed to talk and listen to students, saying “homophobia is not a new topic at Morehouse. Only by having people share their experiences can we understand how best to adjust our programs to ensure that we clearly convey the message that no violent or abusive behavior of any kind is acceptable or will be tolerated at Morehouse,” Massey said.
After the incident, the Human Rights Campaign in Washington asked Morehouse officials to address the issue publicly as a hate crime that will not be tolerated on campus, according to a story in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution.
Massey responded to the request with a letter indicating that appropriate measures were being taken and a statement saying that “the matter is still under investigation and it will be up to a law enforcement agency to determine its ultimate legal outcome.”
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