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College rejects queer group brochure

Georgia Kriz investigates the growing tension between colleges and their LGBTIQ residents

Intercol Dragons for webSt John’s College has refused to allow a brochure advertising the intercollegiate LGBT student network to be officially disseminated amongst its residents.

The Intercol Dragon Coalition, an organisation run for and by queer students living on campus, has had repeated requests to advertise within the College denied.

Edward McMahon, spokesperson for the Coalition and residential tutor at St John’s, said that the group had originally been hoping to get a brochure distributed to first years during O-Week.

“We approached the college well before O-Week and had our request ignored,” he said.

“At the first formal dinner of semester, I approached the Acting Rector Adrian Diethelm and asked to make an announcement about the Coalition and leave the brochure at Reception. He said he ‘wasn’t sure’ and that the brochure would have to undergo review by the College Council before it could be distributed.”

“To my knowledge, it has still not been referred to the Council. It has been swept under the carpet and we have been ignored.”

Acting Rector Diethelm said that he had made a decision to not allow the College crest to appear on the brochure, but denied having turned down any other requests from the group.

“We do not allow the crest to appear on anything other than official College documents,” he said. “I have not heard anything else about the brochures.”

“Edward did approach me at that formal dinner and ask me something but, understandably, I could not hear him over the hubbub of over 200 students. I asked him to speak to me later, and he chose not to.”

McMahon said he was “troubled” by the series of events. “Happily, the College culture of hazing that plagued the past has vanished, and it is a much more pleasant place to live,” he said.

“Unfortunately, institutional oppressions continue to abound. O-Week has passed, and queer-identifying or questioning freshers were forced to navigate the cold sandstone halls of a heteronormative college alone.”

A queer group at the Women’s College has also had requests to advertise its events at St John’s denied.

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