For people who wonder why we fight for equality in every area of our lives — housing, employment, healthcare, hospital visitation, marriage — it’s because once we are treated equally, maybe we won’t hear any more stories like this one.
Alex Worthley is a freshman at the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg; and, he’s gay. Now that shouldn’t mean a thing, really, except Alex’s roommate in the dorms didn’t like having a gay roommate and so he threatened Alex with a knife. You know, because he’s gay and stuff.
It all started innocently enough when Alex asked his roommate to turn down his music:
“He was like, ‘I do have a knife and I’ll use it if I have to … And that’s when he repeated that and he was like ‘I don’t like gay people.’”
Then, Alex Worthley did the right thing by reporting the incident, and the threat to the Office of Student Housing, where an investigator agreed to put the two students in separate dorm rooms. Problem solved, right?
Well, not really, because after he was moved into a different room and no longer lived with a knife-wielding homophobe, Alex received a letter of discipline just like his accuser, saying he shared the blame for the threatened assault:
Jesting? With a knife? Someone holding a knife and saying ‘I don’t like gay people’ and somehow Alex Worthley is partially to blame? Why, because he’s gay and open? For shame, Alex, if you’d just stayed closeted and kept your mouth shut this whole thing could have been avoided.
UCM spokesman Jeff Murphy provided this statement:
Worthley says that UCM should have never paired him with that other student because his former roommate told officials he didn’t want a gay roommate. But, again, UCM spokestool Jeff Murphy said UCM does not make room assignments, or reassignments based on sexual orientation, so they felt justified pairing an openly gay student with a student who said he didn’t want to share a room with a gay student. And then they seemed surprised that this threat occurred? And then they had the nerve to blame Alex Worthley, the victim, of being somewhat to blame?
Worthley, who now has a dorm room to himself, has filed an appeal with the university’s Office of Student Housing, asking that his letter of discipline be removed from his student file.
And I hope they agree. Whether or not there was any other conversation or activity that took place before the roommate threatened Worthley with a knife does not mean that Worthley exacerbated the situation.
But he’s gay, and he’s open and out, and the university knew that and paired him with a bigot with a knife?