SUNY Ulster declares it is a “Safe Space” for everyone.
Bullying is an ongoing issue around the globe, in all demographics. During No Hate Week, SUNY Ulster stepped up to fight bullying, shaming, and other forms of harassment for all SUNY Ulster students.
No Hate Week on campus turned its focus on supporting the students of SUNY Ulster who identify as part of the LGBTQ community while also getting out the word that the campus is a safe space for all students. The focus started with the LGBTQ student community because of the need to give a voice to the countless individuals in the LGBTQ community and around them (allies) who are constantly harassed and bullied for who they are, what they wear, and what race they have been born into.
If you have never been bullied think about that for a moment. How would you feel being harassed on a daily basis for being who you are? For LGBTQ students this is something most of us face on the regular it has become a horrible part of our lives, and no matter how much we try to not let it bother us it always does. For some individuals they cannot take the torment on the daily they do not know who to turn to so the only way they see out of the torment is by taking their own lives.
From November 18th-20th the LGBTA club with support of SGO and countless other clubs held their very first No Hate Week. This was held during Trans Remembrance week leading up to our amazing photo shoot on the 20th which fell on Trans Remembrance Day.
Day 1 November 18th:
The day was surrounded by positive messages for all LGBTQ students on our campus.Day one started off with and opening speech by our very own President Katt. His speech went over statistics on bullying of LGBTQ students, and then went on to talk about SUNY Ulster’s Zero Tolerance policy and how bullying and harassment of any kind is not welcome on our campus, and if any student is getting harassed they should not be afraid of coming forward and reporting any incidents. The harassment will be dealt with in a swift manner without the student seeing any backlashes from it.
“While there have been societal advances toward greater tolerance with members of the
LGBTQ community, e.g. the growing number of states recognizing same sex marriages, we need to
continue to work on a full embrace of non-prejudicial diversity. I will not accept any student coming
to our campus not feeling completely safe and accepted for whatever lifestyle he or she has
selected.” -President Donald Katt, SUNY Ulster
Following President Katt’s speech Stephen Balantzian introduced drama students Jayme Strype, Jaisa London, Damien Stevens, Joel Cruz, Lex Borscherdt, Jena Bruno, Kelsey VanEtten, and Colleen Smith. These amazingly talented drama students preformed skits from The Laramie Project.
Their performances brought tears to many onlookers. For those of you not familiar with The Laramie Project here in an excerpt from the Tectonic Theatre Companies Site “In October 1998 Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten and left to die, tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. Five weeks later, Moisés Kaufman and fellow members of the Tectonic Theater Project went to Laramie, and over the course of the next year, conducted more than 200 interviews with people of the town. From these interviews they wrote the play The Laramie Project, a chronicle of the life of the town of Laramie in the year after the murder. THE LARAMIE PROJECT is one of the most performed plays in America today.”
Day 2 November 19th:
The Hudson Valley LGBTQ Center’s own outreach personnel, Corrine and Davey were present to share the resources and support available at the center. Davey ran a lively workshop presentation regarding Transgender awareness, sharing poignant facts and involving the audience in a rousing activist minded discussion.
Steven Hengst from the Big Gay Hudson Valley, shared the bounty of recreational resources of the Hudson Valley for the LGBTQ community. He also shared his experience of being a gay man in Hudson Valley and starting a website that celebrates the LGBTQ community with his husband as co-founder. He has received thousands of positive messages of support for the outlet and they continue to pour in daily which fuels his drive to continue the work Big Gay Hudson Valley does (for example the Holiday event for local charities).
“This week was extremely important for SUNY Ulster to acknowledge, recognize, celebrate
and honor our LBGTQ community and put a special spotlight on the importance of creating a
community of inclusion and support for all and especially for our transgender brothers and sisters
who are here among us and for those have lost their lives.” -Hope Windle, Multimedia Instruct Designer Learning Technologies at SUNY Ulster
Day 3 November 20th:
On our third and final day was our No Hate Photo Shoot which fell on Trans Remembrance Day and our photo shoot was dedicated to all those who are no longer with us. Our photo shoot had a much larger turn out than expected and was an experience that I am so happy to have been a part of, and even more pleased to say that we started out with 100 photo waivers and had to make more copies. That alone was an amazing thing to witness the outpouring of students and faculty that came and took a stand against hate.
On Behalf of myself and the LGBTQA Club a very special thanks to everyone who was involved in these amazing three days’ worth of events. The following are quotes by some of the individuals who made this special day possible. And please always remember do not be the bully be the preventer, and you yourself can make a huge difference in someone’s life.
“I am so proud of our students, faculty and staff for creating and participating in SUNY Ulster’s
first No Hate Week.The enthusiasm for the events, particularly the NoH8 photo shoot was amazing.
While we’ve only just begun on our journey to eliminate hate, bullying and inappropriate behavior
toward the LGBTA community, our first No Hate Week was a huge, positive leap in the right direction.
We look forward to hosting an even bigger No Hate Week next year.” -Deb Waller-Frederick, Coordinator of Campus Life Community Relations Marketing at SUNY Ulster