Over 30 people attended a protest held at Jamestown Community College Friday night. The protest was over the decision by the college administration and board of trustees to have former State Senator Cathy Young speak at commencement against the unanimous recommendation of the college’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force.
JCC Political Science Professor Dr. Greg Rabb cited Young’s voting record which included voting against marriage equality and transgender rights, “Every step of the way, let me repeat that, she fought and voted against us every step of the way. She voted against marriage equality, endorsing discrimination against those of us who fall in love someone of the same gender and expecting legal protection of our rights. We won despite her.”
Rabb said when the DEI Taskforce and his colleagues objected to Young speaking, they were told the college was going forward anyway, “Despite the pain it caused… despite the pain it caused. They admitted that they were hurting us! The college admitted that her speech was hurtful and decided to go ahead with it anyway.”
JCC Student, Mickey, who identifies as pansexual, said it was wrong to have Young be the speaker and that they wrote to the college to tell them that, “They didn’t listen because I didn’t get no reply, but I’m still not giving up. ‘Cause it’s wrong to have a speaker that’s against what I stand for and I’m not going to let someone stand at a college and show a bad example of saying that ‘Oh, I don’t like that you’re gay but congratulations, you got your diploma.'”
Members of the DEI Task Force were in attendance at the protest and invited people who were upset with the college to continue to send letters voicing their concerns.