StudCo condemns 'not gay' chant in resolution
Council passes unanimous legislation rejecting homophobic jeers during University’s ‘Good Ol’ Song’
Student Council Tuesday evening unanimously approved a resolution condemning the insertion of the “not gay” chant into the “Good Ol’ Song,” commonly sung at athletic events. The chant has come under scrutiny several times in the past decade and has become increasingly unpopular as support for gay rights has increased across the country.
Using the proposed resolution, Council seeks to take a stand against the chanting of the unscripted phrase — a phrase that members see as contrary to the safe and welcoming environment the University seeks to provide to all its students. Council members said they hoped the legislation would be a step toward ending disrespectful or derogatory acts toward LGBTQ communities and supporters.
The resolution was first proposed by Council members after the Richmond football game Sept. 1. Council executive members, meeting after the game, expressed concern about the jeer and decided to put their concerns in writing.
This is not the first time the issue has become a hot-button issue at the University. There was also a push in 2007 to remove the “not gay” chant from the “Good Ol’ Song,” with members of the Queer and Allied Activism group distributing letters to attendees of football games explaining their opposition to the call after it became audible to television audiences. Although most students responded positively to the gesture, the students received backlash from a portion of the student body and from alumni in attendance.
Third-year College student Eric McDaniel, a College representative and Council’s director of University relations, sponsored the bill in part because he said he saw the chant as “a relic of hate from a time of intolerance that we have more than progressed past” and because he believed those questioning their sexual orientation might benefit from having Council’s open support.
The resolution was also accompanied by the endorsements of prominent community members, including the coordinator of the LGBT resource center and Hillary Hurd, the student representative to the Board of Visitors.
Dean of Students Allen Groves endorsed the resolution in a statement to Council, calling the “not gay” chant “juvenile” and “embarrassing” to the University. He said such slurs were hurtful to members of the University, and violated its principles of student self-governance and good judgment. “It is well past time for [the chants] to come to an end,” Groves said.
Although students agreed Council’s motivations were admirable, there is still the issue of how the resolution should be enforced.
“There’s really no good way to stop people from actively saying stuff like that,” first-year College student Ravynn Stringfield said. “But it should be addressed that this is not something okay that anyone should be doing.”
McDaniel said he believed the resolution will have a positive influence on the student body, encouraging students to abandon the chant in the future.
“I have a lot of faith in the student body,” McDaniel said. “Once you start seeing coverage that Student Council says that this isn’t okay, once people start seeing that we’re not alone in this, I think we’ll see a die out.”
Fourth-year College student Katie Mayfield, co-president of the Queer Student Union, said the legislation was the first step toward addressing the struggles of queer students, but the group was hoping for more from Council. “We’re looking forward certainly to StudCo passing legislation that addresses students’ needs on a day-to-day basis more than just football games,” she said.