Spelman senior Amber Warren says she got the first hateful note at the announcement of Pride Week on campus.
“Keep your [transgender slur] out of our bathrooms. Thanks!” read the note, scribbled on notebook paper and left at her door. The hateful message referred to Warren’s partner, a transgender man and fellow student who also lives on Spelman’s campus.
And it wasn’t the only message. Another came at the end of Pride Week: “We don’t want you. Fuck you freaks. Keep Spelman safe. No queers.”
As 11 Alive reports, Warren came forward Wednesday night to allege discrimination on campus and bring the messages to the attention of the school’s administrators.
Last year, Spelman became the second all-women’s HBCU to revise its admissions policy to admit any student who identifies and lives as a woman. The revised policy also allows students who transition to a male identity while at Spelman to continue their education and graduate from the institution.
The announcement was hotly debated. Many current students and alumnae lauded the school’s new, trans-inclusive policy, which goes into effect in just a few months. But as the messages Warren received show, there remain people vehemently opposed to the changes.
“I’m just hurt because I feel like I worked so hard to create safe spaces for everybody,” Warren, who serves as president of Spelman’s LGBTQ student organization, Afrikete, told 11 Alive. “Even though I did all this work, it’s not about individuals, it’s really about unity.”
When asked why she felt she was being targeted, Warren noted the timing around Pride Week.
During Warren’s interview with 11 Alive, she was approached by Spelman’s dean of college relations, who told her that a letter addressing the hateful notes was sent out to students. The letter said the messages were “unacceptable and a violation of Spelman principles and values and code of conduct,” reports 11 Alive.
“It’s just an email to me,” Warren said. “It’s a start, but it’s not helping what happened,” adding that students won’t feel any fear of being disciplined for their actions. She added that the school has some work to do to make sure all students feel safe, and said she’d like to see Spelman take bolder action to ensure that students receive more education and training around tolerance.