SCHOOL TIES

Campus Hate Crime Inspires Another Push For LGBT Student Group At GA College

In late March, a student at Berry College in Mount Berry, GA, came back to his dorm room one night to find bleach poured in his top dresser drawers, and a note that read “faggot nigger fuck off.” When he went to his car, he discovered his back right tire slashed and the bottle of bleach behind his car.

The student, who name isn’t be released, told The Carrier, “Racially it’s upsetting that someone hates me for who I am. Sexually it’s upsetting that some-one hates me for who they think I am. The past couple days have been extremely uncomfortable. I consider Berry my home and I feel like I have been violated in my own home.”

The incident brought immediate response from campus police, Resident Life, and the Dean of Students, as well as from professor John Countryman, who asserted the need for an official LGBT club on campus.

Responding to a campuswide email from VP for Student Affairs Debbie Heida, Countryman said, “That’s terrific but it would be a honorable start on the college’s part to back up those words by sanctioning an official LGBT organization on campus. Talk is cheap.”

A Berry alumni emailed Queerty to explain that though there have been efforts to try and start a gay-student group at Berry for almost a decade, it’s been routinely denied. “The current president, Dr. Briggs, thinks that homosexuality is a moral choice,” she says. “and that an LGBT club is an advocate group [that] does not deserve official club status.”

The  Berry grad cites numerous “ridiculous” clubs that are officially recognized by the school—including the Society of Outdoor Life and Experience (SOLE), Ultimate Frisbee, Berry College Alternative Realities Club, the Vikettes (Women’s Dance Team) and the In His Name Gospel Choir.

LISTEN, an unoffical group that doesn’t receive funds from student fees, was founding in 2003. It was approved by then- President Scott Colley in 2004, but the Board of Trustees intervened and denied LISTEN club status on the stated grounds that it is an “advocacy” group. It doesn’t appear Briggs will sanction it any time soon.

Y’know who else is an officially recognized club at Berry? The Fellowship of Christian Athletes! You know, that group that doesn’t allow LGBT members and that works with ex-gay groups to, what—exercise the gay out of you?

Yeah that’s some money well spent right there.