A student at The Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra has been forced out of his university accommodation by homophobic bullying and threats.
The student’s abuse began shortly after moving into ANU’s Ursula Hall last year, when an unknown perpetrator repeatedly scrawled ‘faggot’ across his dorm room door, according to ABC News.
ANU conceded that guaranteeing the safety of LGBTI students from an unidentified person would be difficult.
The student said the abuse continued over several months.
“I’d go to the bathroom and someone would swipe letters under my door saying ‘leave or I’ll fucking bash you’,” he said.
“[I was] fearful. Fearful of the fact that someone was threatening me. I don’t know people’s actions.”
He received notes with messages including “stop being a massive faggot” and “I hope you die from AIDS”.
He said that Ursula Hall continued to take limited action.
“The college’s response was the same: release a letter, have a little chat at dinner, nothing really fundamental,” he said.
The perpetrator still went unidentified, and the student eventually moved in with his then-boyfriend out of fear.
Finally, he asked to be moved from Ursula Hall.
“Coming here, I had an open mind. [I thought] it’s going to be a great experience,” he said.
“It wasn’t what it lived up to… I’m paying to get attacked, and not live.”
ANU apologised for the student’s treatment, calling it “unacceptable”.
“We offer an unreserved apology for any distress caused to the student as a result of the offensive behaviour of another student,” said the university in a statement.
“It is unacceptable to us that a student has felt victimised and harassed in their own home environment.”
Provost Mike Carlford said that the university was now reviewing its policies and procedures.
“This sort of event helps trigger our review of procedures and policies, as unfortunate as it is, and we do hope to get better in this area through doing that,” he said.
“We do take this very seriously.”
ANU student association queer officer Matthew Mottola said moving the victim rather than the perpetrator was an unsuitable fix.
“I think that first of all finding out who is doing this would be the first priority, and to remove them from the situation, as opposed to having the victim be removed,” said Mottola.
“The fact that such vile things are still happening within colleges is awful… It shows that the fight is still not over for queer people.”