CLEVELAND— Cleveland State University students nearly filled the 450 seat auditorium on campus for a forum with university President Ronald Berkman.
Berkman hosted the forum Wednesday after students were unhappy with the school’s response to an anti-LGBTQ flier that was posted on campus.
Students said they took the flier as a death threat. It showed a man hanging with his arms behind his back and misleading statistics on LGBTQ suicides.
“The impact that was made especially toward black and queer students on this campus how a lot of us feel unsafe and how you handled the situation you could have handled it a lot better,” said one student at the forum
Berkman said while he condemns the fliers and their sentiment, hate speech is protected under the First Amendment. He told students he is willing to do whatever he can to make them feel safe again.
He also apologized for not coming out more harshly against the flier in the first place, telling students he let them down.
“You designate a group to meet with the chief diversity officer and Vice President of student affairs and you tell us what it is we need to do for you to feel comfortable and safe on campus,” Berkman said.
Some students were so angry that they walked out of the meeting, cursing at the president.
Administrators said they plan to have a series of meetings about the issue until students feel they have reached a resolution.
Fox8’s Kevin Freeman spoke with Berman after the meeting: