The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

The student news site of Everett Community College in Everett, Washington

The Clipper

Safety concerns linger for Pride Center after repeat vandalism

Provided by: EvCC Security
Pride Center amenities are strewn about the room, just as they were left after the Sept. 13 vandalism.

Pride Center staff uncovered an unwelcome suprise during the opening week of Fall Quarter.

Books from the shelf, student-made decorations, pronoun buttons and hanging lights, among other things, had been torn down and thrown onto the floor. Children’s modeling clay, which is meant for students with sensory issues, had been mixed together and thrown across the floor rendering it unusable. The sign-in sheet with student names had been scribbled out and destroyed according to an official statement provided by Director of Public Relations, Jenny Marin.

“It looked like someone threw a homophobic toddler in there and said ‘go crazy’,” said Beck Atlas, a student who witnessed the destroyed room.

Communication on the vandalization was staggered to staff. The school said that a custodian found the incident and reported it to security on Wednesday, Sept. 13 and then was later cleaned on Thursday, Sept. 14.

Pride Center program manager Kimbell Krausz claims that the room was found locked up and closed to the public, and later rediscovered on Friday by Krausz who had not been contacted by anyone to that point.

The Pride Center is just inside the main entrance to PSU on the right, and the door to the left is that of the security office. (Roland Knatz)

“It felt minimized, limited to child’s play,” said Krausz, describing how she and her students felt after the miscommunication.

Krausz was left to clean up the mess on her own until Associate Dean of Student LIFE, Eugene McAvoy saw what had happened and assisted her. Krausz described a demoralizing moment while cleaning, where a mother and her children had entered Parks and saw the two cleaning up the vandalized Pride Center.

Story continues below advertisement

“What kind of message are we sending to future students and their parents when they walk in and see this?” said Krausz.

The miscommunication between security and the Pride Center may have caused a rift between the two if not for Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion John Hudson and Director of Security Christian Carson.

Hudson knows all too well what being minimized and put behind closed doors feels like. An expert on both LGBTQ+ history and their visibility on campus, Hudson was the founding director of his own Pride Center when he worked in Houston, Texas.

“I understand the historical mistrust between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement,” said Hudson.

Carson and Hudson are both members of the LGBTQ+ community and felt the attack on a personal level, pledging to mend any mistrust between school security and students.

“An incident like this always feels like it’s personal…[It] reiterates messages we’ve seen our whole life,” said Hudson.

Although it felt intentional, there were no visible homophobic remarks or signatures of hate speech written in the room during either attack. Police looked into whether the incident should be investigated as a hate crime, and determined that there was not enough evidence to classify it as such.

According to state law, for damage to or destruction of property to be a hate crime, the person who committed the damage must “maliciously and intentionally” commit the act because of their “perception of the victim’s race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, or mental, physical, or sensory disability.”

Krausz mentioned that this is not the first time the Pride Center has been targeted. The first incident occurred during the 2023 Spring Quarter, with cryptic messages left to the staff and students running the Pride Center, although details are limited with Hudson and Carson not having being on staff at the time. Marin states, there is no reported incident for Spring but there is an open investigation into another Pride Center vandalization that occurred Jun. 21, 2022. 

Until the first week of October, Carson and Hudson had not been able to fully brief each other regarding the incident, with Hudson claiming he was one of the last to know about it. Since then both have been working closely together. 

Installing more security cameras around campus has been a focus for Carson, as well as collaborating with students, employee unions and college leadership to develop plans and procedures. Pride Center students and Krausz voice their support for a camera near the entrance of PSU, however, the question of how long until it will be installed lingers in their minds.

Hudson is also organizing a bias incident response team to provide thorough and quick responses to bias-related incidents in the future.

Krausz urges students and staff to volunteer or apply for work study as a Pride Center coordinator. She says the main reason staff have to keep the door closed is due to lack of operating staff. This is a bittersweet problem as closing the door keeps the center safe but sends the wrong message to the public.

“I am aware of the message that keeping that door closed sends to the world.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Roland Knatz
Roland Knatz, News Editor
What is Your Goal with Being a Journalist? My goal with being a Journalist is to do what I think my role in a community ought to be. I do not see myself as the main star, nor do I want to be. I find it enjoyable to help lift other people up into the spotlight, and really make them feel included. I am not sure if I can help everyone, but even in my day-to-day life, I cannot shut up about wanting to try. What interests you about Journalism? I believe my main interests as a journalist are grassroots communities. Any small group of people that are ambitious enough to make the world around them a better place. I found in my day-to-day life that as a small fish you can make a big splash if you flail around trying for long enough. When you aren't doing things for the Clipper, what can you be found doing? In my free time when I am not doing school or journalism, I help run Super Smash Bros. tournaments. The main one I help work on is a bimonthly called Domino Effect. Through that, I have helped be a part of and cultivate a community. I find that belonging to and doing one’s part in growing a community is intensely fulfilling.

Comments (0)

All The Clipper Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *