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Gay Students Encounter Harassment

Posters Ripped, Defaced at Mather House

By Richard L. Callan

The Mather House Committee last night discussed what to do about the repeated removal and destruction of posters put up by the Gay and Lesbian student Association (GLSA).

"It's been a very serious problem," according to House committee chairman Adam J. Shulman '85. "Discrimination is every where, and it's sad to see that intelligent people are no exception," he added.

"Mather is generally a tolerant House, but within each House there's a small group of people who just won't tolerate any mention of gay people," said Jake Stevens '86, GLSA president, who first brought the harrassment to the attention of House officials.

The posters--some of which advertise gay tables and say "someone you care about is gay"--have been repeatedly put up, removed, and defaced with obscenities in recent weeks, Stevens said.

House officials said yesterday that they guessed only a few people were responsible for the destruction of the posters. "When I find out who these people are, they will be reported to the Dean of the College," said Steven A. Epstein, Mather's senior tutor.

Students have also complained about harassment in College. "It's almost impossible to keep a poster up in the Union or the Yard for more than a few hours," according to GLSA member George E. Hicks '86. Gay and lesbian students at Eliot and Kirkland Houses among others, declined to specify incidents of harassment for fear of possible retribution.

A recent poster states, "Some people will tear this poster up just because we put it up. Who's got the problem?", reflecting pervasive concern about destruction of GLSA posters.

The incidents constituting "moral suasion and inappropriate behavior," said Marily M. Lewis '70, assistant dean of the College. She added that the problem is not a new one and that a faculty statement on sexual harassment appears in the Handbook to Students.

But the situation may be getting worse, "bigotry is not uncommon, but that doesn't make it any easier to wake up to a burning cross in your front yard," said Stevens, in the Mather newsletter.

GLSA members will continue postering--some put up 50 posters at a time--in the Yard and at all the Houses.

"The attitude seems to be that if the posters disappear so will homosexuals at Harvard," said Hicks. "But we will not be intimidated," he added.

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