UT Martin’s Day of Silence marred by anti-gay graffiti

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Two anit-gay slurs scrawled on sidewalks at the University of Tennessee-Martin have caught the attention of the Tennessee Equality Project and the UT Martin Allies group.

The University of Tennessee-Martin’s Day of Silence observance was marred by anti-gay graffiti on campus sidewalks  that included "No fags past line" and "Straight Day ’07". The two sidewalk slurs follow other incidents that include defaced Allies posters on campus, and came to the attention of Morgan Greenhaw, president of UT-Martin’s Allies group, on April 17. 

Greenhaw and other members of the Allies group have been working with the Minority Affairs office and campus security to investigate the incident.  The investigation has produced no leads at this time. 

"We join the Allies group at UT-Martin in condemning these acts of hate and vandalism and urging the administration of UT-Martin to follow through with their investigation," said TEP President Chris Sanders. "What this incident points to is the need for UT-Martin to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression in its non-discrimination policy.  It also reminds us all that we should be urging our elected officials to pass the federal hate crimes bill that is currently before the Congress."

According to the Day of Silence website (http://www.dayofsilence.org), the annual observance, which began in 1996, "has become the largest single student-led action towards creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."  GLBT and supportive students and faculty remain silent during the day and hand out cards explaining the reason for their silence to increase awareness of GLBT issues.

For more information about TEP, go to www.TNEP.org