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Letters to the editor

On November 20, 2012

To The Editor,

I'm a homeless guy who has many friends on the University Campus. I carry out a life like most people would, and at times have the occasional excitement of something happening.

However, on the last day of the college's Fall Break from classes, I had a rude awakening occur. A friend of mine had let me sleep in their dorm room floor for the previous night and the last day of the break. They woke up and began to ready themselves for their day and told me that I needed to wake up so that I could go do my work that I needed done online at the library. They left the room and locked the door, after receiving a phone call that their mother was there to pick them up for a driver's test.

As soon as they stepped into the lobby of the building they live in, an RA sprung at her chance and quickly went to the hall leading to the room I was in. My friend thought nothing of it. It wasn't time for room checks anyway, and there was nothing to worry about. They were wrong.  The RA came to the door, knocked once, said "RA" but then proceeded to open the door. Now the way they are supposed to do this is knock three times, each time saying "RA" and after the third time, they're supposed to say "Keying the door" to let the person know that they are indeed coming into the room. This was not done by any means.

I stood up and turned around about the time the door opened. I was about to walk out the door and had just put on my shirt. They stood there as though they were shocked, but they knew I was there. They didn't check any other rooms; they came straight to this one and just waltzed in like they owned it. I stood there in shock in all honesty, wondering why they were here; again, it wasn't time for room checks. But, that did not matter today. They were on a mission and they had found their target. Me.

The female RA then told me that I was there outside of visiting hours, which I found odd; I even checked the poster as I was being escorted out holding my other pair of jeans and jacket. Visiting times during the week were from 8 a.m. to 12 a.m. It was approximately 8:45 a.m.; I was there during visiting hours. A campus police officer escorted me to Public Safety, where he was told to take me to the second floor of the UC, to Student Affairs. He didn't want to have me banned, he was telling me the whole time that he believed me that I was only here for those two days, and that was that. I wouldn't get banned, simply because I wasn't there for a long period of time.

I received a letter from a Mr. J. Thomas Henderson, which instructed me that I was hereby banned from any and all campus property, and that if I was caught on any of said property, that it is criminal trespassing and I would be taken to jail immediately. I'm gay, and seeing as I was in a girl's dorm room, one would think, "Well, at least they're not having sex." I mean, come on, I wasn't given a real chance here.

Two young men from Allies, the LGBT support group on campus, came to help discuss my course of action; soon a young woman came into the picture also. She bought me lunch, and then helped bring me up to speed on what the campus officials were talking about. The three group members then took me back to the campus, where I was taken to the Martin police station and taken to a motel for one night.

Being banned from the campus is one thing, but when Allies is the only LGBT support group in this county, and I am being told that I cannot attend any of their meetings because they're on campus, how is that fair? When Allies is the only place I can go and be around people who accept me for me, how is that fair? It's not. A number of other non-student males were found on campus, but didn't get banned. Only me.


Jonathon Lee,

Martin, Tenn.

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