CSU announces plans to improve campus diversity after protests over hate fliers

CLEVELAND- After days of protests over hate fliers last month, administrators at Cleveland State University are announcing plans to improve campus diversity. The concerns from many in the LGBTQ community are addressed in a letter sent to faculty and staff members.

Last month, there were several angry clashes between members of the university’s LGBTQ community and the school's administration.

They were sparked by the president's response to several hate fliers discovered on campus October 12.

"Initially, I was surprised that he didn't take a very strong stance on it," said one CSU student.

Four days later, CSU president Ronald Berkman sent out a message supporting free speech and inclusiveness. Some students felt it did not condemn the anti-LGBTQ fliers strong enough.

This week, in a letter to faculty and staff, posted online, the school's chief diversity officer says "the statement was originally developed as a response to a controversial event prior to the fliers being posted."

"It was for the Charlie Kirk event. I think a lot of students didn't know that, and that is part of the reason why they were so angry, because it was this response that they thought was inadequate, that didn't even say anything about the posters," said CSU student, Katie Hobbins.

That week, the president held an open forum with students. Still, some demanded that he do more to make everyone feel safe on campus.

"You can't really absorb the message; you can't really take it sincerely because people are so angry, and it was a misstep that turned into this, like, massive divide," said student, Regan Reeck.

"You're not gonna get anything by yelling and screaming," said CSU student, K.C. Longley

The recent letter states that next month, administrators will get a diverse group of campus leaders to ask:"What can we do as a public institution of higher learning to prevent hate speech on our campus? What does the law say?"

"There are steps being taken and we can see more next semester and months from now, what's all going on, but we're still in the process of moving forward," said Longley.

The notice also states that the university will hold a public forum for the CSU community in the future. That’s where people will be able to discuss university policies and procedures in place to prevent hate speech, and how to build a more welcoming campus community.

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