CONWAY — The University of Central Arkansas had a sign celebrating Gay Pride Month removed from outside the Torreyson Library.
UCA President Houston Davis sent an email about the issue to students, faculty and staff Tuesday.
“Unlike our student groups or other organizations, the library is an official arm of UCA and when it ‘speaks’ on that sign which serves information regarding library hours, it speaks officially,” Davis wrote. “We do have to be very careful that we walk the fine line between individual freedom of speech and institutional voice.”
Davis said another problem was timing — an apparent reference to the summer band camps and other activities that attract many secondary students to the campus.
University president’s letter to students, staffView
“We have to be very mindful of the hundreds of minors that are on campus during the summer which further complicates an environment that is normally programmed for adults and our very meaningful conversations about ourselves and our world,” he wrote. “One outgrowth of that perspective on minors has been a start of a good conversation about best practices how to present or represent issues when minors are on the campus.”
The sidewalk sign outside the Torreyson Library was celebrating Gay Pride Month but was removed last week. The black-and-white sign said, “Being gay is like glitter. It never goes away. — Lady Gaga.”
Senior Ashley Nicole Hunter of Conway said Tuesday that the letter so upset her that she was withdrawing from classes.
“This is doubling down and further insulting us by suggesting we [members of the LTBTQ community] shouldn’t be exposed to minors,” she said.
Read Wednesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.