Officials at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, are investigating an incident in which a group of men attempted to break into an on-campus house designated for LGBTQ students, terrifying the residents inside.
Residents of Fran’s House, intended to serve as a “safe space” for LGBTQ students on Bucknell’s campus, say a group of nearly 20 men appeared at their door last week and began banging on the doors and windows, yelling: “Let us in!,” “This isn’t your home!,” and “This is our home!”
Some in the mob urinated on the front porch, and swung a metal bar at a flagpole flying a Pride flag. One attacker even flashed students inside the house, resident adviser Tyler Luong said in a letter written to John Bravman, the president of Bucknell University.
Luong claimed the mob was comprised of former members of Tau Kappa Epsilon, a fraternity that was based at the house before it was banned by the university two years ago over allegations of severe hazing.
But, in a disturbing twist, after waiting “way too long” for campus public safety officers to respond to calls for help, when the officers arrived on scene, they laughed and began fraternizing with the group, promising to speak with the chief about getting the fraternity members access to the house, Luong claimed in the letter. He also claimed that police did not ask the resident’s of Fran’s House if they were okay.
In response, university officials announced they have hired an outside firm to investigate the “horrific incident.” In a message shared on the school’s website on Friday, a group of university leaders, led by Bravman, condemned the harassment and intimidation of residents of Fran’s House.
“We are both outraged and sorrowful that the residents endured this violation of the space that is so critically important to them as a community,” the group wrote. “These actions will not be tolerated.”
The group promised to mete out punishments and “appropriate consequences for the students’ behavior” following the external review, and condemned the response by Bucknell Public Safety officers as “lacking in myriad ways,” promising to discipline officers for their unprofessional actions and implement additional sensitivity training on how to deal with incidents involving LGBTQ students, reports The Washington Post.
The campus officials also offered them counseling and additional support to students who were traumatized by the incident, and promised to continue talks about establishing a more permanent residence for members of the LGBTQ community.
“We cannot erase the ugliness and subsequent trauma of last night’s transgression against the students of Fran’s House and, implicitly, many others, but we can commit to addressing it in a way that protects LGBTQ Bucknellians and better ensures their safety in the future,” the officials’ letter concluded.
Bucknell spokesman Mike Ferlazzo told the Post that the university could not comment beyond the letter from school officials.
The university community has thrown its support behind the LGBTQ students, with faculty and staff members holding a rally outside the house, and held a march against toxic masculinity last Saturday. In a statement posted to Facebook, the residents of Fran’s House thanked their peers and faculty members for the support they showed, while also calling for accountability for the students and public safety officers involved in the incident.
“We are astounded by the amount of advocacy and kindness we have received as a result of this from the LGBTQ+ individuals and allies in the Bucknell student body, faculty, staff, alumni network, parents, and more,” the letter from the residents reads. “…Never again should someone feel entitled to come to our home and say it’s ‘their house and not ours.'”
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