This year’s ABAC Horticulture Club hay bale contest was subject to acts of hate when ABAC’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) hay bale, a rainbow sheep, was vandalized twice over the weekend and GSA members were verbally assaulted.
Wednesday morning a GSA member discovered that part of their hay bale had been ripped off. A GSA member said that a black GMC Sierra rode by the GSA members as they worked on their entry to the Horticulture Club’s contest Wednesday afternoon. The member also said occupants of the Chevrolet began screaming obscenities at the GSA members, calling them “f***ing queers” before making threats to later return and demolish the sheep.
GSA members notified ABAC Police of the incident and police watched over the hay bale for a period of time after the report was filed. However, by Friday morning the hay bale had been ravaged. GSA members rallied to repair their entry into the contest, managing to piece it back together without incident.
ABAC Police deferred comment until Monday. Lindsey Roberts, Director of Marketing and Communications, stated, “The ABAC Police Department and the Dean of Students Office are currently investigating the matter. Efforts are being made to determine what happened and how it should be handled.”
The President of the Horticulture Club, Johnathon Strickland, asked how the club handled the situation and how this series of incidents impacted the contest, stated, “I am not the one who is going to comment on this issue. It has been handed over to the correct hands and that is all I will say. All questions about this issue need to go through Lindsey Roberts.”
Jake Harris, the president of ABAC’s Student Government Association (SGA) also asked The Stallion to “Please direct all of your questions to the ABAC Office of Marketing and Communications.” He also said, “I do not know all the details of what happened, so I was instructed by the Dean of Students to refer questions to the ABAC Office of Marketing and Communications.”
The Stallion attempted to contacted the Dean of Students and Assistant Dean of Students but were unable to reach them on Saturday and Sunday.
When our staff reached out to the GSA President, the Stallion’s Agriculture Section Editor and now acting GSA President said, “Our other president just quit.” Roberts declined to address whether the matter was being investigated as vandalism or harassment. “They’re investigating to determine what happened,” she said.
A facebook post by Jennifer Sauls claimed that “GSA leaders have been told by the administration not to ‘make a big fuss’ about the vandalism.” But, according to Griffin, “It was the ABAC police that told us all that.” Also, no one said not to make a big fuss, “just to not engage.”
The Facebook posting drew many responses supportive of the GSA. However, one said, “I’m more disappointed that this gay pride crap is in the community. You’ve asked for it doing it a [sic] agricultural college, anyway.”
Another posted, “Good. Maybe they’ll burn it next time. Get that crap outta here.”
The Stallion will continue to follow this story and provide updates in the investigation as we get them.
This article has been corrected to state that the initial act of vandalism occurred Wednesday morning with the second act of vandalism occurring Friday morning.