The Advocate July/Aug 2022
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Spelman President Shuts Down Anti-Trans Hate in Public Letter

Spelman College

Someone at Spelman College is writing hateful messages and slipping them under doors in the dorms, and the university president is speaking out strongly against whoever it is.

"Keep your tran out of our bathrooms,” reads one note, signed only “Thanks!" Spelman is a historically black college for women in Atlanta, and it announced last year that transgender women will be admitted beginning with the fall 2019 semester.

All the notes claim to speak for a large group of people, according to reports by CNN and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. ”We don't want you ... freaks! No queers!" Perhaps the most threatening of all: ”#DIE ... We don't want you here."

Spelman president Mary Schmidt Campbell wrote an open letter Tuesday in which she addressed “the perpetrator.” 

“Here’s a message for the perpetrator: You are not Spelman College,” wrote Campbell. “Spelman abhors your behavior. Spelman will continue to open its arms to embrace all of our Spelman students whatever their gender identity, sexual orientation or gender expression. Spelman is love, justice and respect. You, the perpetrator, are not Spelman.”

The president said the housing department has held hall meetings and interviewed victims as part of its investigation but hasn’t turned up any suspects.

Campbell tied the hateful notes to the larger history of bigotry felt by the students at the historically black college.

“Last week a group of Spelman students, staff and trustees traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice,” she wrote. “The memorial is a searing, indelible monument in defiance of hatefulness and the cruelty it begets. This beautiful memorial makes clear that justice triumphs and the just prevail. How ironic to come home to Spelman and experience continuing expressions of hatefulness here on our campus, in the form of a note slipped under a resident’s door.”

So far, three notes have reportedly surfaced. But there are far more tweets using the #YouAreNotSpelman hashtag.

Despite the vociferous response from the president, some tweets contend the college has ignored its responsibility and enabled the hateful behavior.

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