Flames of Love

Approximately 300 people participated in the vigil.

Photographer: Kyle Raffel

Flames of Love 2

The crowd silently marched to Scripps Hall, and reflected on the events that brought about this vigil.

Photographer: Kyle Raffel

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University community assembles to support LGBT community

“Flames of Love” vigil solemn display of sorrow and hope

Last Wednesday, Ohio University students gathered on College Green to participate in a candlelight vigil to honor the memories of the young members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community  who have taken their own lives in recent months because of harassment and bullying.

LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Center Director Mickey Hart assembled the approximately 300 students in a circle and offered the opening remarks.

After Hart's words, the men and women lit their candles. The flickering lights revealed that many were holding hands, posters, and flags and embracing each other.
"The turnout for the vigil spoke to me most because it illustrated the importance of promoting civility and rejecting ignorance and hate for many members of our community," said Vice Provost for Diversity, Access and Equity Brian Bridges. "The over 300 people in attendance indicates the concern we have for those who often suffer in silence."

The crowd silently marched to Scripps Hall, and reflected on the events that brought about this vigil. The sounds of Court Street were a backdrop to the performance of a cellist who performed behind candles in the shape of a heart.

After the music, student groups who helped organize the vigil took turns reading short biographies of each of the 12 young adults who have committed suicide in recent months.

Guest speakers included: Reverend Evan Young, United Campus Ministry; Matt Peterson, residential coordinator with Residential Housing and an out gay man; and  Elizabeth Chinn, commissioner for LGBT affairs in the Graduate Student Senate.

Dean of Students and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi, Vice President for Student Affairs Kent Smith, and Staff Clinician Jonathan Mosko from Counseling and Psychological Services were all present to show their support

"There are certainly students who experience bullying for their sexual orientation, and it is important for me to be here and let students know that Counseling and Psychological Services here at OU are here for them when they need someone safe to talk to," Mosko said.

President Roderick J. McDavis reinforced the University's support for LGBT students and for diversity in general.

"Ohio University is a welcoming, eclectic, progressive community because of our students, faculty and staff who represent diversity in all of its forms," McDavis said. "We reaffirm our commitment to foster a community that encourages all diversity on our campuses, because it is who we are and it is at the heart of what our community values, supports, and celebrates."