On Thursday, April 4, demonstrators showed up on Rowan University’s campus to protest specific groups that they deemed “unworthy.” The demonstrators’ signs showed language that exhibited hateful rhetoric.
Despite this, Rowan students banded together and celebrated the amazing things that make them who they are.
University President Ali Houshmand addressed the issue of the demonstrators on campus by sending out an email on April 4 following the event, entitled “Responding to Hate.” In this letter, he stated that it’s OK to express your freedom, but not by acting hateful towards others expressing theirs.
He also said that he was proud of the way the Rowan students responded in a largely positive manner, displaying the diversity and inclusion practices that are at the core of Rowan’s community. He ended the letter by saying, “I am proud of who we are.”
Many other Rowan students took to social media showing their love and support for one another, as well as creating signs and dancing creatively during the protest to take the attention away from the demonstrators. The students showed genuine love and support for one another, uplifting each other rather than letting the demonstrators tear them down.
How fitting that the week following this protest was set to be Pride Week at the university.
Rowan’s Pride week, lasting from Monday, April 8 through Friday, April 12, celebrates the LGBTQIA+ community.
Kicking off the week was SafeZone training in the Business Hall on Monday night. The RUNIICE? Navigating Intergender, Identities, Communities and Equity in the LGBTQIA+ Center in Hawthorn Hall on Friday night will close out the week.
The week is dedicated to building a community and celebrating diversity.
According to the LGBTQIA+ Center’s mission statement, it wants to create a safe place for students.
“The center intends to create safer spaces for students by supporting students’ exploration of their identity, and advocate for campus inclusion for the LGBTQIA+ community at Rowan,” the mission statement reads. “The staff of the Center works to fulfill its goals through advocacy for campus inclusion of the LGBTQIA+ community at Rowan and by providing relevant training opportunities to students, faculty, and staff.”
Although a few days before the week began was filled with a hateful protest, Rowan students changed the narrative by creating an uplifting and positive feeling to kick off Pride Week.
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