DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The University of Dayton is currently investigating a recent prejudice-fueled vandalism that occurred in their student housing.
Students at the Spectrum South Ally House, a home designed to support LGBTQ students on campus, woke up and found that multiple pride flags had been ripped from off their porch and thrown away in the house’s trash bins located next to the home. There were also several potted plants that had been broken.
The Spectrum house is a pro-LGBTQ home and organization that promotes allyship throughout campus and creates a safe space for other students to come if they need. The organization has two locations on campus.
“We’re upset,” said house resident and Spectrum’s event director Morgan Couture. “At first I felt a little unsafe. I’m just a little angry people would do this to other people.”
House residents said they have had “pride-related” items go missing from their porch in the past, but this is the first time those items had been desecrated and used in a hateful manner.
“We’ve been discussing getting funding from the university for security cameras,” Couture said. “We never thought that was needed in the past but now we are a little bit concerned for our safety and the safety of the things we own.”
Residents said the campus may have several students acting out but generally the student-body has been accepting and inclusive to their organization.
“We don’t want to get too riled up but there are measures we want to take,” Couture said.
In an email sent to the entire campus, University of Dayton President Eric Spina said: “We condemn this act as incompatible with our Catholic, Marianist values and our commitment to create an environment where all feel safe, supported, valued and respected. We are all called to safeguard the dignity of every person in thought, word and action, and to work together to strengthen our sense of community. This is an offense not only against certain members of our community but, indeed, an offense against the entire University community.”
The incident is still currently being investigated by UD police and other officers. University rules of conduct “explicitly prohibit forms of harassment and/or discrimination, including verbal or other displays that would cause a person to feel targeted or unwelcome based on protected identity.”
University officials were making no statements on the incident when reached for comment.
“Even if there are people who might not necessarily like us very much,” said Couture, “I still want this place to be somewhere people can feel comfortable.”
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Department of Public Safety dispatcher immediately at 937-229-2121, or the equity compliance office at 937-229-3622 or through the equity compliance online form.
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