Update — Randall and Walker respond to gay pride flag burning

On Nov. 10, President Randall issued the following response to students, faculty and staff in response to the LGBTQ (Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender/Questioning) pride flag burning incident on Oct. 18.

Statement to the Albion College Community from President Donna Randall

I understand that a recent incident involving a Gay Pride Flag is upsetting for many members of our internal and external campus communities. I am providing a summary of the incident and the College’s response.

On October 19, 2010, a student contacted an Albion College staff member to anonymously complain that other students had allegedly burned a Gay Pride Flag on school property. In response to that complaint, Campus Safety promptly initiated an investigation. The investigation was complicated by requests for confidentiality from those who provided information, but Campus Safety was ultimately able to identify the students involved.

Campus Safety’s investigation revealed that the students involved found the flag in a trash can outside of Baldwin Hall and decided to burn it behind Wesley Hall. The only persons present when the flag was burned were the students involved, and the College is not aware of any other individuals who saw the flag being burned.

The College has taken the situation very seriously and followed its established policies and procedures in investigating the situation and determining what should be done. Appropriate action has been taken to address the conduct of the students involved. Privacy laws (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) prohibit me from providing information about the actions taken against those individuals.

I want to make it very clear that the College condemns harassment of any member of our College community. I personally find such behavior reprehensible and offensive. I feel confident that those involved will not participate in such acts in the future. We remain fully committed to protecting the rights of all members of the campus community and sustaining a campus environment that is welcoming to all persons.
Statement to the Albion College Community from President Donna Randall – Addendum
Dr. Sally J. Walker, Vice President for Student Affairs

The College proactively works to continuously create and sustain a campus environment that is safe and supportive of all persons. Educational outreach and interventions occur throughout the year including diversity awareness programs for all first-year students. Examples of current initiatives are included below.

Intergroup Dialogue Project

The purpose of the Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) Project is to increase the number of Albion students trained to facilitate dialogue and promote civil discourse among their peers on issues which, in the collegiate culture, are too often “off limits,” politically incorrect, or too sensitive to broach in day-to-day conversations outside of class, e.g., race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.

To advance this project, Sociology 345, Race and Ethnicity, since the spring of 2009 has included an Intergroup Dialogue component. The IGD component of the course was designed by the Division of Student Affairs and is offered by Student Affairs staff members.

The IGD component includes that, in addition to three class sessions with the Professor, students enrolled in the course spend one hour each week with Student Affairs staff members who model and teach dialogue as a communication method. The content of the dialogues centers on course topics and related experiences such as race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation. In addition to participating in intergroup dialogues, students learn how to facilitate such dialogues. Course graduates are qualified to be considered for a peer education program. Under the direction of the Professor, the IGD component includes accountability and assessment with assignments such as journaling and field work.

Safe Zone Training

To foster a supportive environment for our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) community members, the Division of Student Affairs is offering two Safe Zone training sessions to train potential Allies in listening to the concerns of the LGBTQ community. Safe Zone is an educational program for Albion faculty, staff, and students who, upon the completion of training, will consider publicly identifying themselves as Allies of LGBTQ individuals by displaying a Safe Zone sign. A Safe Zone should not be considered a specific location, but rather a program designed to increase the level of emotional support and number of Allies across campus for the LGBTQ community.

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