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CSU president apologizes for initial response to anti-LGBT fliers posted on campus

Posted at 7:48 PM, Oct 18, 2017

Tensions were high at a student forum addressing anti-LGBT fliers posted on Cleveland State University's campus.

CSU's president Ronald Berkman held the forum after receiving backlash for his initial response to the fliers. But on Wednesday, in front of a packed auditorium of students and alumni, he apologized for missing the mark.

"Let her speak, let her speak!" students chanted inside the Main Classroom Auditorium as one person tried to talk.

Strong emotions displayed over a painful topic.

"There are people I know who have committed suicide, there are people I know who have been murdered," said one attendee.

CSU's president Ronald Berkman was at the center of it all as students voiced their frustration over his response to these anti-LGBT fliers posted on campus.

The posters advocated for LGBT people to kill them selves.

"I have lost five friends, all LGBTQ, all under the age of 50," said another attendee.

Students took issue with the president's initial response, because they say he did not condemn the message on the fliers; they say he simply reaffirmed the school's commitment to upholding the first amendment.

"The fact is that I didn't take enough time and really think through what the appropriate response was," Berkman said.

But his apology appeared to fall on deaf ears, as student after student engaged in a conversation they say was long overdue.

"A lot of us feel unsafe with how you handled the situation, it could have been handled a lot better," said a CSU student.

Still, Berkman kept posing the question students wanted him to have the answer to.

"I need you to constructively tell us what we can do given the moment that we live in," said Berkman to the audience.

"You should have some solutions on how to help your own student body," replied a student.

The president says that this forum is part of an on-going conversation and they will be reaching out to students about how to move it forward.