The threatening graffiti scrawled in purple spray paint outside the offices of the center that serves NC State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students Monday night came as a shock to both students and campus leaders.
“When you come to a place that you think of as safe, and that place is violated, it hurts,” said the center’s director, Justine Hollingshead (in photo above).
The graffiti, which was removed by university workers, included the word, “Die” and a homophobic slur. It marked the first time the center has been targeted since it opened its doors in 2008.
NC State Community Rallies
The university community held an “Ally Rally” on the Brickyard Thursday afternoon, drawing about 1,000 students, faculty and staff, and sending a clear message of support to GLBT students.
“The act that occurred Monday night does not define us as an institution,” declared Provost Warwick Arden at the event. “What does define us is what you see around you: faculty, staff and students standing together.”
The GLBT Center was originally located in the Talley Student Center, but found temporary quarters in Harrelson Hall this summer when renovation work began at Talley. It will remain in Harrelson until the new student center opens in 2014.
In response to the vandalism, the university installed security cameras outside the GLBT Center on Wednesday.
“We considered closing the center earlier in the evening, but if we do that, then they win,” Hollingshead said. “We can’t live in fear, but we have to be smart.”
She said Facebook posts and news articles about the incident have drawn support from hundreds of people around the world.
The provost issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the incident and calling for unity on campus.