Berea College issued a statement Wednesday in response to incidents in which racial and homophobic slurs were allegedly directed to students over the past homecoming weekend.
The statement said in part that some students, “particularly students of color and non-heterosexual students, experienced several instances of overt hate from the occupants of vehicles flying large Confederate flags, who shouted racist and gendered slurs at our students.”
“These hateful actions frightened and disturbed not just the students they were aimed at but also other students who witnessed these examples of intolerance,” the statement said.
The statement said the college recognizes the right to free speech and the right to “fly the flag of one’s choice on personal property. We do not, however, recognize one’s right to intimidate, stereotype or invoke fear into the hearts and minds of the young people whom we bring to educate here in our community.
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“We ask that the great citizens of this community stand with us against hate, and allow our students to feel safe as they live, walk, eat and play in their home away from home.”
Some students spoke about the harassment at Berea City Council’s Tuesday night meeting, said Berea police spokesman Sgt. Jake Reed. The college’s department of public safety also notified police about the incidents, Reed said.