APU to Anchorage: Stop the Bullying!

Students at Alaska Pacific University wore purple t-shirts and decorated the school with purple flags for national Spirit Day on Wednesday, to commemorate the recent teen suicides due to bullying and anti-gay prejudice.

The Spectrum club provided 50 purple shirts for students and staff to paint with supportive messages, and gained permission to raise awareness on campus.

APU is a private school with graduate and undergrad programs, and was originally a Methodist college. It's the only major university in Alaska with an anti-discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation.

There haven't been any reported incidents at APU, but the climate off-campus is not as welcoming. The city of Anchorage has struggled with the need for equal rights for LGBT residents, passing and vetoing a non-discrimination ordinance again last year. The public University of Alaska system has been "studying" their non-inclusive policy for years without making progress.

In addition to raising awareness on campus, two Spectrum students were interviewed about Spirit Day on the local TV news. [I'll post the videos when they're available.] Here's their press release:
APU to Anchorage: Stop the Bullying!

On Wednesday, October 20, APU students, staff and faculty will be wearing purple in support of an anti-bullying movement which started on Facebook.

After a series of what was five suicides by gay youth across the country, Facebook users rallied together to form a variety of groups to commemorate the lives of these youth and send a message to the nation – No more bullying, no more harassment and no more discrimination.

This movement slowly picked up steam and drew the attention of hundreds of thousands of Facebook users.

At Alaska Pacific University, we remember those who have taken their lives and, with one voice, remind Anchorage that the lives of all youth are valued.

The student government of APU, the Associated Students of APU, and Spectrum, the diversity club on campus, are co-sponsoring this event at the university.

Dr. Don Bantz, the new president of APU, gave permission last Friday to drape the log in purple and decorate the school grounds in purple flags and triangles.

We hope to raise awareness and understanding by unifying the many different voices at APU.
Thanks to the students, staff and leaders at APU for organizing and supporting this event. At APU, It Gets Better!

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