Indiana University students respond to homophobic graffiti with their own positive messages

Chalked slurs on walk targeted gays, fraternity

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Graffiti chalked on sidewalks around the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington targeted homosexuality, people with AIDS and one fraternity.

The writing began on a sidewalk near a fountain and stretched across campus ending near a fraternity house.

Students couldn't believe they were seeing such hate.

"I walked by the chalk and I didn't really understand what I saw until I saw the AIDS and the homosexual slurs," said student Annalyssa Long.

Campus officials say the derogatory messages were targeted toward the Phi Gamma Delta house.

The fraternity did not want to comment on the matter, but students RTV6 spoke with say the messages are offensive to everyone.

"Even as a straight person... if I saw those things I would be appalled," said student Jenn Harmless.

Authorities don't know who was behind the chalking or their motive, but some groups aren't waiting to find out -- they're sending their own message with chalk.

"We wanted to use those same weapons that they used to spread hate, whoever they might be, to spread messages of knowledge and love," said Sean Jordan, the vice president of communications for the Interfraternity Council.

About 100 people in the IU Greek community came together and wrote out positive messages, including facts about homosexuality and HIV.

Officials in the GLBT office say this isn't the first time they've seen such negative graffiti.

"When we were able to determine who did it -- which I don't expect we ever will here -- people will acknowledge they were just trying to be funny, that that's some people's view of humor," said Doug Dauder, with GLBT Student Support Services. "We quickly point out that's not what everyone else experiences when they see this kind of stuff."

IU's provost released a statement saying IU Bloomington is justly proud of its diverse community and they will continue to work to ensure that hateful incidents are dealt with appropriately and that the campus continues to be welcoming and safe for everyone.

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