Between the morning of Friday March, 24 and the afternoon of Saturday March, 25, a campaign poster promoting “Derek & Marie for SGA Office” was vandalized. The vandalism occurred on a poster hanging in Lathrop Hall, on which the word “fag” was written in black capital letters adjacent to Derek’s photo on the poster. The poster has since been taken down by a source unknown to the Derek & Marie campaign team. No one has claimed responsibility for the vandalism.
Juniors Derek Baker and Marie St. Claire are running for SGA President and Vice President, respectively. Their campaign will run against the Hyeon Jeong & Coles Romaine campaign in the campus-wide election on April 3, 2017.
In response to the anonymity of the offender, Baker focused more on the issue rather than the individual.
“Honestly, I don’t care [who did it]. I don’t want to fight an individual, I just want to fight the idea it represents,” Baker said.
Baker expressed his intention of keeping the poster up following this act of vandalism.
“Personally if someone is going to call me a ‘fag,’ I want him/her to face it. Even if it’s not facing me specifically, I want it to stay up and for people to have to acknowledge that this is something that’s happening and being said on campus,” Baker said.
He commented on the removal of the poster as part of a larger issue on campus and articulated how he believes these types of issues can be approached in the future.
“A lot of times when bad things happen on campus, there are people on
campus that want to cover them up,” Baker said. “I don’t want to cover them up. There are problems, every campus has problems, and the only way to address them is to fully acknowledge them.”
Baker then spoke to the content of the vandalism and the lack of acceptance on campus, which may be the source of such an act.
“The poster said the word ‘fag,’ which is obviously an attack on the LGBTQ community, but I think it represents a larger problem on this campus that people are not accepting of all types of people. It’s not a secret that this is the case and it’s not the first time something like this has happened, just the first time it has happened to me. I think that it represents a need for people to be more inclusive, more understanding,” Baker said.
Campaign member junior Tyler Maxie spoke to the hurtful nature of the action and the reality of campus culture. Maxie spoke to the importance of continuing the campaign despite this discriminatory act on Colgate’s campus.
“I think this is absolutely disgusting that this continues to happen at Colgate and I think this incident in particular is very telling and showing of what is still permeating our campus,” Maxie said. “The ideas that some people have on this campus in terms of their homophobic hate speech is a major problem.”
“I’m from Buffalo, New York; we all have our separate homes, but we’re spending the majority of the year on this campus it’s supposed to be our home. It is where we live, we eat, we learn, we have friends, we have fights and through all of the good and all of the bad we [want] some sort of unity,” Baker said.
Junior Tierney Cronin addressed the vandalism and problems that persist on Colgate’s campus.
“Colgate is nowhere near perfect and the homophobic vandalism on Derek and Marie’s poster is a symbol of that. By opting out of taking it down, [students shed] light on the progressive steps and conversations that need to be had on this campus,” Cronin said.
Romaine posited that progressive leadership at Colgate would be ensured for the future.
“At the end of the day, whether it’s Derek and Marie, or Hyeon and I who win … the next president and vice president [will] actively stand up for social justice,” Romaine said.
Though Baker was disheartened by the act, he expressed optimism for the community as a whole.
“Bad things will happen and there will always be good people to respond to them,” Baker said.