CSU President Apologizes to Students and Asks for Ideas

CSU President Ronald Berkman on stage takes questions from students at the Main Classroom auditorium about an anti-gay poster was seen on campus
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An anti-LGBT poster spotted on the Cleveland State University campus last week has provoked a storm of protest at CSU.   It was removed by faculty members but students say they are now living in fear.  Today (Wed) the school president met with students.  

Early this week CSU president Ronald Berkman released a statement saying the university is committed to respecting all communities.  He added, CSU would uphold the First Amendment. 

After students angrily denounced the president’s response, Berkman invited them to talk.  At a meeting with some 200 angry students, he apologized. 

CSU alumnus Larry Solomon referred to his gay daughter and quoted the poster to Berkman.

“Had my daughter been on campus and had a human being yell at her that he thought she should kill herself like all the other f******, would that have been protected speech?”  

Berkman said the poster that suggested suicide did not legally constitute a threat.   He also noted that the US Supreme Court this year upheld that hate speech is still protected speech.

The president mentioned that hate groups want to infiltrate campuses around the country this year and asked the students not to give them the media attention they want.

“I can’t make it all go away.  I wish all of us could make it all go away.    But we can’t so I need you to constructively tell us what we can do, given the moment that we live in.” 

Some students cursed and walked out.  One male student who identified himself as a community activist and a Muslim asked the rest to protect themselves.

“You have to be able to work together and not work out of strictly emotions. Because we can all just scream and holler – you have to find a solution.”

A similar poster was seen on a bus stop in Houston, Texas in May.  

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