LA CROSSE, Wis. (ChurchMilitant.com) - A student at a Wisconsin university is claiming a cross on campus represents hatred and homophobia.
A report issued by the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse is revealing 192 hate or bias incidents were reported by students during the 2015–2016 school year. Reported incidents include offensive doodles on classroom whiteboards and a person having an image of a Confederate flag on his car. Fourteen percent of the incidents were found to be false or frivolous.
One of the cases the school's Hate Response Team took seriously, however, was a student report of a Campus Crusade for Christ poster showing an image of a cross. The student called the cross a sign of "oppression and hate of the LGBT+ community" and reported feeling unsafe as long as so-called homophobic student clubs were allowed on campus.
The university's website notes 71 percent of people reporting hate/bias incidents are witnesses and not actually the person to whom the alleged incident occurred. It encourages people with the slogan "See something? Say something! Report it."
The Hate Response Team — formed in 2005 — investigates student claims of hate or bias on a case-by-case basis. It describes a hate/bias incident as "[a]ny non-criminal act motivated, in whole or in part, by the victim's actual or perceived race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability or nationality."
A school representative noted that students can "feel unsafe or threatened by behavior another person wouldn't find objectionable."
The university claims it is committed to a "culturally diverse and inclusive climate that fosters intellectual and academic freedom, the free expression and exchange of all ideas." It maintains that "no campus is immune to larger systemic issues such as racism, homophobia, religious intolerance, sexism, ableism and classism."
Last year an event known as "the chalkening" triggered responses from university students across the country. Students at Emory University were thrown into a frenzy on seeing chalk scribblings on some university walls that read "Vote for Trump," "Trump for Pres," and "Accept the Inevitable: Trump 2016."
Students claimed they feared for their lives and that they were "attacked" by the name of presidential candidate Donald Trump. One even claimed, "I legitimately feared for my life. I thought we were having a KKK rally on campus."
The UW Lacrosse Hate Response Team claims it does not infringe on people's First Amendment rights nor does it impose disciplinary sanctions or other forms of punishment.