Student shares concerns with campus free speech
In the Fall of 2018, I took a course at TXST with instructor Kelly Stone, and she quickly became one of my favorite and most impactful professors. She made me feel safe and brave, and that encouraged me to open up and share parts of my life with the students in myclassroom. However, I remember tangible anxiety throughout the semester when questions prompting discussion were asked. The overt racism, homophobia, and judgement emanating from one student, rippled its way throughout the class. There were days where I wouldn’t attend class for fear of what this student might do or say. I visited Stone’s office and explained my fear of coming to class and how upsetting it was that one student seemed immune from obeying class rules and civility. I decided I wouldn’t be complacent. I stood in the free speech area on campus on National Coming Out Day, in silence, holding up a sign that said “LESBIAN,” countering attempts to trivialize the coming out experiences of my queer community as students made a spectacle of “coming out as conservative”. That same day, our campus was attacked, again, with hate propaganda across the campus with hundreds of cards promoting lynching, violence, and the celebration of the KKK. We all cried very hard that day. Kelly encouraged us to write e-mails to administrators to share our fears and frustrations with our unsafe learning environment. The only response I ever received was “Thank you for your email. I appreciate your support for Ms. Stone.” which left me confused and unsatisfied. Weren’t they going to do something about my safety? It seemed the answer was “shhhhhh…” Texas State does not care about the suppression happening in our classrooms or to their professors, and they certainly don’t care about marginalized students or their well-being. Sadly, they’ve made it very, very clear that they support TPUSA and other conservative students, even if they are hurting people. I no longer tell people at school that I’m a lesbian out of fear that a TPUSA member is sitting behind me, and I feel that I’m the one who’s been silenced. I can’t even imagine how my professor feels. Who is protecting our free speech on campus?