Jesse Cruz, the gay Seton Hall junior who’s suing his school on claims of kicking him out of his dorm room (at his roommate’s request) because he’s gay, has struck a nerve with resident fitness expert Davey Wavey. See, Davey also went to Seton Hall, and now he’s having “flashbacks” about the anti-gay climate at the New Jersey college.
Recounting his experience at SHU, Davey writes:
For what it’s worth, Seton Hall University is my alma mater. When I attended SHU, a friend of mine sued the university when they refused to recognize our gay-straight alliance (despite having a non-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation and taking federal funding). Our gay-straight alliance was forced to meet in private while enacting desperately needed programing and providing support for LGBT students.
While helping to lead the banned gay-straight alliance, I continued to work for the university as a resident assistant in one of the school’s dorms. At one point, the school threatened to fire me for my involvement with the banned gay-straight alliance, and told me that I needed to “pick between my personal beliefs and my employment by the school.” In fact, a gay administrator told me those very words. I threatened to sue, and went to the press. The school back-peddled, and then backed down – and claimed the whole thing never happened. The thing is, it had happened.
I kept my job as a resident assistant, and continued to advocate for LGBT students through the gay-straight alliance.
At a different point in time, in honor of national coming out day, members of the banned gay-straight alliance (including myself) wrote pro-equality messages on the sidewalks – including quotes by MLK. Seton Hall University sent out a team of maintenance workers to wash away the words with power washers and hoses. The school later claimed that the sidewalk washing was done “by accident.”
In our post about Cruz’s lawsuit, my Queerty colleague Ryan called on Jesse to produce some evidence that he was intentionally discriminated against because he’s gay, because throwing around “homophobia” without any evidence is a game that gets us nowhere. But Davey offers up his anecdotal explanation for why Cruz — who was relocated to another dorm even though it was his roommate who requested to change living situations — is right to claim bias.
I can’t help but remember the circumstances of my situation – and the school’s legacy of deception – when I read about Cruz’s predicament. Indeed, the school does have a policy that allows students to change rooms on “room change day” – but it is the policy to change the student that wishes to me moved, and not the roommate (which is exactly what happened to Cruz). In my three years as a resident assistant, we never moved the roommate, but always the person filing the complaint. So it does appear that Cruz received unfair treatment.