University President Criticized For Defending Posters That Encouraged LGBT Suicide


The president of Cleveland State University has been widely criticized after reportedly defending the posting of hateful posters that encouraged LGBT students to commit suicide.

The posters, which depicted a figure with a noose around its neck, carried the message, "Follow your fellow faggots.” They were found on campus buildings last week, and are believed to have been distributed by a group called Fascist Solutions. 

study cited by BuzzFeed found that more than 40% of transgender men and women, and between 10-20% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual men and women attempt suicide. By comparison, 4.6% of the general US population have reported a suicide attempt in their lifetime. 

In response to the posters, Cleveland State president Ronald Berkman vowed on Monday to protect free speech and the First Ammendment, "even with regard to controversial issues where opinion is divided."

The backlash was immediate. 

The posters were later removed, "because proper posting procedure was not followed. Prior approval needs to be provided before posters are added to that billboard..." said university spokesperson William Dube.

Then yesterday, in response to the public's outrage, Berkman issued another statement. 

To which people responded:

H/T: BuzzFeed

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The response -- we have a right to exist -- is exactly the right response to these posters. Tearing them down is not.

I grew up during a time when my speech was deemed unpatriotic and I was threatened with physical harm for engaging in my first amendment rights. That's what allowed earlier generations to fight for civil rights. So my support the first amendment is absolute, even when the speech being protected is hateful and reprehensible as it is in this case. However, we do have a right to respond.

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To clarify (since it seems you missed it, Chris33133) the "We have a right to exist" poster is not a response to the poster calling for gays to kill themselves; rather it's a tool of white supremacists, crying "woe are we," put-upon by liberal ideas and ideals.

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I did miss that. I thought it was GLBTQ response. In any case, we DO have the right to exist, in spite of calls for us to commit suicide.      .....     The first amendment made it possible for people like me to fight for the rights that younger people take for granted today. We have a long way to go; but it's speech, debate, and legal decisions that will get us there.      .....     Banning speech of any kind is a slippery slope. Their speech IS reprehensible, even if it is protected.     

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