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The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

The student news site of Moravian University

The Comenian

Act of Vandalism Against Spectrum Bench

Photo courtesy of Lizzy Blaski.

At an unknown time and date, an individual(s) vandalized the club bench of Spectrum, Moravian’s LGBTQ+ organization. The bench is located in the Academic Quad in front of Monocacy Hall, facing Zinzendorf. The vandalism consisted of two carved dashes over the “gay” in “gay hounds,” making an x. 

A member of the organization reported the vandalization to the Campus Climate Education Team (CCET) on Sept. 15, and the bench was repainted by Facilities sometime during the week of Sept. 17. Spectrum’s E-board has since reached out to the DEI House, Campus Police, and a representative from the CCET about the vandalization. Campus Police are examining the incident but have received no leads to help their investigation. 

Despite many cameras on campus, no footage of the attack, if footage exists, has been located. Dean and Vice-President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Christopher Hunt stated that a group of individuals working to address the attack contacted Spectrum to discuss a course of action and whether the University would send out a communication regarding the incident. 

The group includes Laura Mack, Associate Director of Student Accountability and Conflict Transformation; Dr. Jane Berger, professor of the History Department; and Chaplin Jennika Borger. 

“When we do or don’t send those kinds of emails, they are often based on what it is the actual students impacted want or don’t want,” Dean Hunt said. “We don’t [send out communication that is] just reacting to our own sorts of gut feelings. We try to make sure that we’re following up the way the students want us to follow up.”

Spectrum said that they are disgusted but not intimidated by such acts of hatred and reiterated that the organization will continue to be a safe space for queer students on campus. 

“It was grotesque behavior [and] reprehensible that someone would go out of their way to damage a student bench – no less a student bench that represents a club that’s marginalized and underrepresented,” Dean Hunt said. 

Spectrum was founded in 1994 by a combination of straight and gay students and faculty, called LesBiGay at the time before the LGBTQ+ acronym existed. For safety, the meetings were held in a secret location and were spread by word of mouth. Spectrum was not recognized as an official USG-sponsored organization until 2015, when Dr. Hunt helped establish them as a legitimate club. 

In the ’90s, Spectrum brought part of the AIDS quilt to campus, along with author Warren Blumenfeld, who wrote the book “Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price.” Thirty years ago, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was still in act, when HIV was still only considered for gay men, and the Defense of Marriage Act was signed by former president Bill Clinton, limiting marriage between a woman and a man. 

In the 1990s, LesBiGay, now Spectrum, remained a source of support for queer students on campus. Now, the club continues to grow, hosting the annual flag-raising ceremony in honor of LGBTQ+ History Month in October, last year being the first LGBTQ+ flag-raising in Moravian history. 

Neither Campus Police nor select members of the University administration responded to The Comenian’s request for comment on the Spectrum incident.

If students experience, hear, or see any acts of bias or violence, they should reach out to Campus Police or file an online BIAS incident report. 

The bench’s vandalizing worries some queer students on campus. 

“If that doesn’t make us fear for our safety, I don’t know what does,” said Simone Toppin ‘23, Studio Art Major.

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