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LGBTQ group Facebook post says campus veterans ‘jeopardize’ students’ well-being and their ‘patriotism’ is a problem


'Just plain sad'

David S. Holloway/Getty Images

A Facebook page for two LGBTQ activist groups at Oregon State University expressed wishes to prevent a campus veteran group from using a student lounge at the university.

The post explained said that permitting the student veteran group to use the lounge could alienate other students and their well-being, and pointed to the group's "problematic" patriotism.

What are the details?

The groups — the Pride Center and LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network — shared a since-deleted update on Facebook that said allowing the veteran group to use the Student Experience Center Involvement Lounge would be detrimental to the growth of other student groups as well as the community at large.

A portion of the post complained that "communities that our organizations serve are vulnerable to the ideological and practical consequences" due to the notion of the veteran group using the lounge.

The post also called for the university to ban the veteran group — the Veteran Student Association — from using the lounge.

"We also wish to express our concern for the particular type of American patriotism that would be promoted by centralizing the Veteran Student Association in the [Student Experience Center]," the post read. "US military interventions abroad have been responsible for killing our LGBTQ+ siblings."

The post added, "We aim to resist the pain that U.S. militarism has caused our siblings in struggle, and we denounce the glorification of the system that is responsible for this violence."

The groups conclude the post by insisting that putting the veterans group in a centrally located campus spot "jeopardizes the wellbeing of many vulnerable students, including those a part of the LGBTQ+ community."

Image source: archive.today screenshot

What have people said?

Peter Halajian, president of the College Republicans at the school, told Campus Reform that the post is "disgusting."

“[N]o one is forcing the Pride Center to be in favor of any war; past, present, or future!" he insisted. "The fact that the mere sight of veterans services on campus is disturbing to them is just plain sad."

"The Pride Center can't on the one hand claim to support veterans' well-being (or support LGBT+ veterans at all for that matter) and then be against a conveniently located center for them to get the services and support that they need," Halajian added.

On Thursday, the group shared a follow-up post after deleting the above-mentioned missive, explaining that the initial post represented "the views of individual students," and not necessarily the groups at large.

A portion of the post read, "You may notice that we have removed an open letter posted to this page on March 15, 2019, about the relocation of OSU's Military and Veteran Resources office. We have done so because the open letter was written by and represents the views of individual students, not the Pride Center or SOL: LGBTQ+ Multicultural Support Network as organizations, the department of Diversity & Cultural Engagement, or Oregon State University."

"While Pride Center and SOL student staff have the right to make statements as individuals on issues that are important to them, the posting of this open letter violated our communication policy," the statement continued. "We recognize the statement has been a source of pain for many individuals. At times such as these, we need to consider all members of our community and their diverse experiences in order to build the brave space we strive for, where community members engage in challenging, yet respectful conversations through conscious questioning and active listening."

The posting concluded, "We welcome and support our veterans. And we share with you that the Pride Center assistant director is working with the Military and Veteran Resources advisor to create healing spaces for those who are hurting, as well as dialogue spaces for the larger campus to move toward a stronger sense of community and mutual understanding. We will be sharing concrete next steps soon."

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