Bullying seemingly not a problem on Bradley’s campus

Originally published October 22, 2010

Suicide after suicide of gay teenage boys may have been making the forefront of recent news, but many students said the Bradley campus is more accepting than others.

“I have a couple of gay buddies, and there hasn’t been anything I’ve heard them complain about,” said freshman pre-engineering major Angelo Sorce.

Sophomore entrepreneurship major Zach Chapman said he agreed with Sorce.

“I haven’t seen any bullying on this campus,” he said.

Sophomore Sam Emrie, president of Common Ground gay-straight alliance club, said while rare, he has experienced prejudice at Bradley.

“I know last semester there was a guy on the quad holding a ‘God hates fags’ sign, passing out fliers,” he said. “There were people standing around not doing anything. If I hadn’t had to leave right then, I would have done something.”

Emrie said the greatest shock was the acceptance of the greek community.

“Greek life is actually very accepting,” he said. “It goes against the macho stereotype, but it’s a good thing. People on campus, however, aren’t anti-gay. They’re more just apathetic.”

Emrie said one change he wants to see on campus is more awareness of Common Ground.

“I tell people that there is a gay club on campus and they have no idea,” he said. “I’m trying to push people to know and increase awareness.”

College campuses are a more accepting environment than high schools, Emrie said.

“You don’t get berated for being gay [here],” he said. “People still use the word ‘gay’ to mean stupid and things like that, but the attitude is more accepting.”

Bradley police officers also said the attitude on campus is more open to diversity than that of a high school.

“I look at bullying as an ongoing persecution for sex or race or whatever, and we don’t see that,” said Sgt. Rick Hutchison. “We see more harassment from relationships.”

Lt. Troy Eeten said he agreed.

“We’ve had cases of trying to intimidate through texts, but it seems to be more of someone in a mutual argument and one tries to get the upper hand.”

Hutchison said students on a college campus are less apt to resort to bullying than younger students.

“They have so much more to lose here than at a high school,” he said. “All I think it would take from us would be a word of warning.”

Eeten said in addition to a warning, bullying would be handled with a referral to residential life.

“They would continue to follow up with it, and cases don’t usually go past the first conversation with the student,” he said. “It’s left at this level until it gets serious enough that we have to continue with it.”

Hutchison said he thinks the students themselves would not allow bullying to continue.

“Usually here, the victim just says ‘I want it to stop,’” he said. “It’s not a criminal case, but they have that option. If the victim themselves wouldn’t complain, I’m sure with the tight-knit student community someone would report it. I give them credit for that.”