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April 12, 2013
CONTACT: K.E. Schwab

Students join National Day of Silence

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University students will join the April 19 National Day of Silence, a day during which students vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of the anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.

The SRU President's Commission on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation is organizing the campus event.

The commission and others interested in participating will come together as a community to silently acknowledge one another and to create a symbolic safe space for the LGBT and ally community at SRU.

In addition to observing the day, the commission asks participants to meet at 11:45 a.m. in front of Bailey Library to hold hands and then form a circle of acceptance and love.

Founded in 1996, the Day of Silence has become the largest single student-led action toward creating safer schools for all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. From the first-ever Day of Silence at the University of Virginia in 1996, to the organizing efforts in more than 8,000 middle schools, high schools, colleges and universities across the country in 2008, its history reflects its diversity in both numbers and reach, said Patrick Beswick, director SRU's Office of Student Intervention Services and a co-chair of the SRU commission.

"We see it an activity that is a positive tool for change-both personally and communitywide," said Patrick Beswick, director SRU's Office of Student Intervention Services and a member of the SRU commission.

"By taking a vow of silence, students can make a powerful statement about the important issue of anti-LGBT bullying."

"Those participating in the event should remember that they can remain silent during the day, but are expected to continue to participate verbally in class," he said.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.