After he expressed interest in running for student body president. an HIV-positive student at the University of Houston-Downtown was targeted with a vicious smear poster campaign that claims he’s spreading AIDS.
The Houston Press reports that Kristopher Sharp, a social work major at UHD, first learned of the flyers when he was called into the Dean of Student’s office late last month.
On one side of the flyer: “Want AIDS?” and “Don’t Support the Isaac and Kris Homosexual Agenda” flank a photo of Sharp with an X drawn through him.
On the opposite side of the flyer: Sharp’s personal medical records revealing his HIV status.
“I was initially really devastated that this could happen,” Sharp told the Press. “What was going through my head was, ‘How quickly can I transfer?’”
According to UHD spokeswoman Claire Caton, the university was “appalled” and immediately set about collecting all of the flyers and beginning an internal investigation.
“I believe it’s an anomaly,” Caton said. “We’re really known for diversity, for welcoming all students — this hits at core of one of the central aspects of who we are. … We’re just taking all appropriate steps, and I have full confidence in UHD police. They are doing everything possible to get to bottom of this.”
Sharp admits that UHD is “somewhat less accepting of LGBT youth” but that nothing of this magnitude has ever happened on campus. “I knew, going into the election, that I could possibly be targeted because of my sexuality,”he said. “But I had no idea that it would go to this level.”
Sharp isn’t officially a candidate in the election, but he is 95% sure who committed the vandalism. Once the investigation comes to a close, however, he doesn’t want the person outed and subjected to the same shame and humiliation he’s had to experience.
“I don’t think I’m serving anybody justice by ostracizing them,” Sharp said. “Since I’ve had time to reflect, I’ve actually decided, when they find out, that I don’t really want to press any criminal charges. I just want an apology. And I’m going to wait for that.”
(h/t: Pink News)