The Human Rights Campaign, a national organization that advocates for LGBT equality, calls Winston-Salem State University “slow to act” in response to the cyber-bullying of one of its students.
As reported by Eric Ginsburg earlier this week, Aaron McCorkle, a candidate for Mr. Ram, was the target of anti-gay harassment by 102 JAMZ DJ and WSSU alum Brian “B-Daht” McLaughlin. In a series of tweets on March 28, McLaughlin wrote: “As stated: I will relieve myself of my PA duties if a drag queen is appointed the position of Mr. #WSSU. I won’t be affiliated. No way.” Also: “#WSSU: y’all really letting a dude, that goes out in drag #nshit, run for Mr. Ram? Have y’all lost y’all mutha fuckin minds?!”
Voting closes for Mr. Ram, a position McCorkle describes as “the face of the university,” at 8 p.m.
Yesterday, Chancellor Donald J. Reaves issued an official statement in response:
“Winston-Salem State University strives to be a campus where diversity can thrive. We believe strongly that the educational environment is enriched by the unique attributes, perspectives and outlooks embodied in the people who make up our university family and community. Words or actions that seek to marginalize any person or group constitue unacceptable behavior and are not tolerate.”
No word on whether or not the university will renew McLaughlin’s contract to emcee homecoming.
In a press release today the Human Rights Campaign faulted the university for “no action and only an empty statement and tweets from leaders” at the university.
“What Aaron McCorkle and other LGBT students need is action, not an empty statement,” said Sultan Shakir, director of the HRC Youth and Campus Engagement Program in a prepared statement. “Our offer of organizational support to deal with this situation stands. We continue to call on Chancellor Reaves and other leaders at Winston-Salem University [sic] to develop a plan of action and protect all students. When a student is attacked or bullied, a university has a responsibility to do more than make a statement and send a tweet.”
Here’s the letter.