The day after a third anti-LGBT note was found on campus, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell had a stern message for the perpetrator: “You are not Spelman.”
Campbell's response followed the discovery of several anti-trans notes directed at the president of the school’s LGBTQ student group and her transgender partner over several weeks.
“Here’s a message for the perpetrator: You are not Spelman College,” Campbell (photo) wrote in a May 1 letter to the Spelman community. “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 first note was slipped under the dorm room door of Amber Warren on April 2. Warren, a senior, is president of Afrekete, the school's LGBTQ organization. About two weeks later, on April 22, a second transphobic note was left under the door of Warren's partner, who is transgender.
One of the handwritten notes said, “Keep your tranny out of our bathrooms. Thanks!” The other read, “We don't want you. Fuck you freaks!” That note also had “Keep Spelman Safe” and “no queers” scrawled on it.
A third note, discovered April 30 and posted to Afrekete’s Instagram page, said, “No faggots allowed! We don’t want you here. #die” and was reportedly handed to a queer-identifying individual on the Spelman campus.
The first two notes came ahead of Spelman's Pride week, which included the Queer Prom, drag show, open mic night and panel discussion.
In 2014, vandals littered sidewalks at Spelman and Morehouse with anti-gay slurs as the two colleges prepared to celebrate Pride. . The school became the second historically black women's college to embrace transgender female students when it announced the policy in November.
The full text of Campbell’s open letter is below, followed by the latest hate note discovered April 30.
May 1, 2018
Dear Spelman Community,
Last week a group of Spelman students, staff and trustees traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, to visit the National Memorial for Peace and Justice. 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. Although our dean of students and Office of Housing and Residential Life immediately responded to each of the incidents, held hall meetings and spoke to the victims, the perpetrator has not yet been identified and the hateful expressions have continued.
Here’s a message for the perpetrator: You are not Spelman College. 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.
If you join me, tweet it: #YouAreNotSpelman.
Justice triumphs and the just will prevail.
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D.
President, Spelman College