A queer and transgender IU TikToker goes viral for speaking out about ongoing harassment. Photo courtesy of the Indiana Daily Student.
ALLIE MCKIBBEN | STAFF REPORTER | email@example.com
Declan Farley, a sophomore management and human organization major at Indiana University Bloomington, has taken TikTok by storm after posting a video calling out IU and its students for five months of harassment on the floor of his dorm. Farley, who identifies as queer and transgender, reported multiple incidents to residence hall officials and filed a bias report, but saw no real change until his viral TikTok caught the attention of almost 2 million viewers.
The TikTok, which was posted on Jan. 14, detailed how students banged on Farley’s door and then escalated by shouting slurs and leaving trash outside his door. Farley’s residence hall floor was scheduled to have a meeting in October or November where the issues would be addressed; however, there was no meeting until Jan. 15, after Farley posted and shared his story online.
Over the course of the semester, Farley continuously contacted university officials, but he either received no response or was referred to the Bias Response Team. Farley told the Indiana Daily Student that his goal in posting on TikTok is to make IU’s campus a safer place and make sure that other LGBTQ+ students know they are not alone.
Andre Hardy, a senior sociology and criminology major, is the president of student organization LGBTQIA+ Alliance. He said he believes there are safe spaces for students at Butler.
“We do have a strong [LGBTQ+] community here at Butler,” Hardy said. “The Diversity Center is trying their best to extend our reach as much as we can, so we hope that those situations don’t even have to happen in the first place.”
However, students may have to hunt for these safe spaces, such as Alliance. As one of the organizations a part of the Efroymson Diversity Center, the organization strives to be a safe space for LGBTQ+ students.
Emma Eyrich is a senior sociology major and serves as the vice president of programming and events for Butler Alliance. Eyrich said Alliance is a great place for students to “live out loud.” Each executive member of Alliance goes through safe space training to facilitate an equitable environment. However, due to the organization’s small size, many students do not know Alliance exists.
“Because we’re just so tiny and student operated, unless you go looking for us, it’s hard to [think of] us off the top of your head,” Eyrich said. “That’s what holds us back, as students don’t know where to get those resources.”
Hardy said he found Alliance because he actively went looking for these resources. He said Alliance has worked with the Office of Admissions to give students a chance to identify themselves so that supportive resources on campus can get in touch with students. However, Hardy said there were limited options to identify himself.
“I was reached out to by Black Student Union, but that was only because I checked that I was, in part, Black,” Hardy said. “There wasn’t an option for me to identify myself gender-wise or sexuality-wise, so Alliance never got the chance to reach out to me.”
Like IU, Butler offers free in-person therapy for all students held in the Counseling and Consultation Services, CCS, located in the Health and Recreational Complex, HRC. However, CCS has been struggling to meet student demand due to large increases in students seeking help in recent years.
Junior pharmacy major Hannah Howard said she knows students who try to use CCS but have been unable to due to “understaffing, and possibly underfunding.”
Hardy said the university realized this shortage, and offers other mental health resources such as the premium version of Headspace to make up for lack of staff. He said although he admires these resources, they are unsustainable long-term solutions as first-year class sizes keep getting bigger. Hardy hopes CCS will acquire additional qualified staff to continue providing free therapy, as he knows that many students feel the strain of college life.
“The stress is piling on our students,” Hardy said. “Not to mention any of the stress that you have to deal with having intersectional identities. I’m also a part of the LGBTQ community, I have mental health issues, like all those different things. But, even if I have all the resources in the world, I will still be struggling.”
With more funding for CCS and more outreach for clubs like Alliance, Butler University has the opportunity to be a safer school for LGBTQ+ students and that has the capacity to address similar situations of harassment that Farley faced.