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October 13, 2010 11:00 AM Candle in the Wind

By Daniel Luzer

Candle1.jpg

Apparently in reaction to the tragic, bizarre suicide of Rutgers student Tyler Clementi last month, many colleges are now trying to create campaigns to address anti-gay bullying on campus.

The University of Wisconsin at Madison has decided to call its campaign Stop the Silence. According to Madison Chancellor Biddy Martin:

This is an issue of concern to everyone in our community…. The suicide rates for gay and lesbian youth are appallingly high. Hatred, harassment and bullying have serious consequences. Let us re-commit to a safe, respectful and welcoming community for everyone.

Wait, so is Madison attempting to stop “silence” or “harassment and bullying,” which are generally not silent? Martin did not indicate that the university plans to make any structural changes or institute any new policies.

Dave Murray of the Grand Rapids Press reports that Michigan’s Grand Valley State University is trying to address harassment and discrimination of gay students:

Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas sent an e-mail to all students and faculty members Friday in which he said that “any time you or anyone in the Grand Valley State University community feels belittled, disrespected, threatened, or unsafe because of who you are, the entire university community is diminished.”

Haas invited the GVSU community to attend a candlelight vigil and instructed students to seek out six institutions on campus that already exist.

The president of Rutgers, meanwhile, explained that at his school:

We are working toward the creation of additional safe spaces in response to student concerns, we must make every space at Rutgers safe. Accordingly, I pledge that we will work even more closely with our student leaders to make certain that our campuses are places where students of all races, faiths, cultures, and orientations feel accepted and respected.

Rutgers also held a candlelight vigil on October 3. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer