Candidate says students discriminated against him
[media-credit id=4 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Harrison Spendlove, an openly gay activist and candidate for legislative vice president, said he found a note on his car Tuesday night in which the author mentioned his campaign, threatened to cause him physical harm and doomed him to hell because of his sexual orientation.
“I discarded it because I felt like it was just a scare tactic,” Spendlove said, who was parked in the W lot South of the Kimball Arts Building when he found the note. “I was scared for a little bit there. It was something that has never happened to me before.”
The following morning Spendlove said he told Nancy Collinwood, the director of Student Involvement and Leadership, about the note. She told him he could file an official grievance with the elections committee or report the incident to police, but he decided not to because he didn’t keep the note.
“I didn’t take it as seriously as I probably should have,” Spendlove said.
Collinwood said she respects the right of any student to share thoughts or grievances with her and will advise students, but ultimately they make their own decisions, and she respects those decisions.
A day before he received the note, Spendlove said he was approached by students while he campaigned in the Shepherd Union Building Atrium who said they would not vote for him. He said he asked them why, and they said it was because he is gay.
“It was a blunt attack about one thing about me rather than knowing who I really was,” Spendlove said. “I’d prefer them not voting for me if that’s going to be their attitude.”
Furthermore, Spendlove said his campaign signs and the signs of another openly homosexual student, Mindy Chamberlin, were tampered with over the weekend. His signs were staked into the ground, and he said some of his signs were laid flat with their stakes broken.
“I don’t know what the motivation was behind it, but with it just being us two who were targeted — from my understanding — it could be related to the fact that both of us are openly gay and activists here on campus for the LGBT community,” Spendlove said.
Collinwood said the majority of candidates have had their signs damaged because of inclement weather or other reasons. One of Spendlove’s opponents for legislative vice president, Brady Harris, put up “BRADY” signs, which consist of several large cardboard letters spelling out his name, and the letters were rearranged to read “DARBY.”
Harris said he was disappointed upon hearing about the alleged discrimination and didn’t want votes from students just because they were voting against someone else.
“I feel terrible about it,” Harris said. “I can stand here and campaign without having to worry that someone’s going to beat me up, and he can’t. I almost don’t want to campaign because of that advantage that I have been given. I don’t think it reflects the general feeling of students at Weber.”
Before this week’s events, Spendlove said he’s never associated with anyone who has discriminated against him because of his homosexuality.
“I am disappointed. Being at an institute of higher learning, I would expect a little bit more maturity and a more open mind. At least get to know a person before making a judgment on them,” Spendlove said. “I respect every single one of the candidates running for office, and regardless 0f who wins, it’s a great choice for Weber State.”