N.C. State GLBT office vandalized

Graffiti under investigation

tmcdonald@newsobserver.comOctober 19, 2011 

— Vandals on Monday spray-painted threats on the door and glass-encased billboard of N.C. State University's GLBT Center, campus officials reported Tuesday.

No one has been arrested in connection with the incident, campus spokesman Keith Nichols said Tuesday.

The GLBT Center is located at Harrelson Hall, a classroom and office complex that also is temporarily housing the offices of the Student Government Association and the campus bookstore while Talley Hall undergoes renovations.

GLBT Center Director Justine Hollingshead said she was shocked and in disbelief that such an act would occur at what is supposed to be a safe place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students and their friends.

"What we understand it to be is a crime motivated by hate bias," Hollingshead said.

Police think the act of vandalism occurred sometime between 8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.

"Someone was at the center until roughly 8:30 p.m.," Nichols said. The vandalism was discovered about 10 p.m.

The vandal or vandals used purple spray paint to scrawl "Fags Burn" on the door of the center and "DIE" on a glass-encased billboard just outside of the center offices, Nichols said.

The threats were removed by Tuesday afternoon.

Nichols declined to say whether police are investigating the incident as a hate crime but noted that defacing state property is a crime.

The GLBT Center is a campus support and advocacy organization that tries to create a safe and inclusive campus life for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

The center is part of the campus Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity.

The center opened in the spring of 2008. A 2004 campus survey indicated that 3.15 percent of the undergraduate students identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, with 0.6 percent transgender.

Among graduate students, the numbers were slightly higher: 4.29 percent identified as gay, lesbian or bisexual, with .31 percent as transgender.

The GLBT Center website noted that the center is "working on a positive and affirming response to this cowardly act of hatred."

Hollingshead said student groups, including the Student Government Association, will have a full-page statement of affirmation and support for the GLBT Center in The Technician, NCSU's student newspaper, today.

Hollingshead said she will meet with student leaders and others to plan a campus event to show support for the GLBT Center.

McDonald: 919-829-4533

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