Press

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Calls on Howard University to Pursue Justice in Anti-Gay Assault Against Student, Professor

Date: 
September 20, 2002

Statement of
Lorri L. Jean, Executive Director
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

"The physical and verbal anti-gay assaults against Darryl Peyton, a gay student at Howard University, and Luqman Selim, a Howard University professor (also gay), which occurred two weeks ago on the Howard University campus, are unconscionable. Moreover, Howard University, in its complete failure to properly record and pursue an investigation in this matter, has through its actions become complicit in the crime itself.

"Unfortunately, colleges and universities are all too often delinquent in their pursuit of hate-motivated crimes that occur on campus, particularly when they are based on actual or perceived sexual orientation. As the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's 2002 Campus Climate Assessment Survey has found, more than twenty percent of 1000 GLBT college students surveyed (on 14 campuses across the country) regularly feared for their physical safety, and 36% actually experienced harassment as a result of their sexual orientation.

"Yet while thousands of institutions of higher learning protect gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) students in their written anti-discrimination policies, actions seldom match their words — more than 41% of the respondents felt that their college or university felt did not adequately address their cases."

[The Campus Climate Assessment was researched and written by Susan Rankin, Ph.D., Senior Diversity Planning Analyst, at Pennsylvania State University. The Task Force will release the full results of the 2002 Campus Climate Assessment Survey later this fall.]

"Howard University, as a matter of law, must pursue justice on behalf of Darryl Peyton and Luqman Selim. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force joins the Bisexual, Lesbian and Gay Organization of Students at Howard (BLAGOSAH), and other Howard University students, faculty and staff as they work to ensure that hate crimes based on sexual orientation are properly addressed by law enforcement.

We further hope that ultimately, the administration of Howard University will foster and promote a campus and community environment in which all members, regardless of sexual orientation, are able to enjoy the full guarantee of safety and freedom of harassment and persecution."

–30–

The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.