Page 8 of 8

Terry Maroney: I just realized when you were talking; I have a story that draws some of that together. My senior year I had a pretty bad instance of harassment. There was a lot of anti-gay graffiti the spring of 1989. In the women’s bathroom was a Lesbians Be Loud poster and some woman had scrawled this just horrible anti-lesbian rhetoric about `Die, lesbies.’ It was real vicious stuff. At that time it was tradition, if something controversial came up, it went up on the board in the Mudd Library, which is now apparently the WAM board. So myself and another woman found this thing and said, “Oh, my God, this needs to go up on the WAM board” because it was exactly the kind of thing that usually went up there. We wrote a little note saying that this was done in the women’s bathroom and it shows anti-lesbian hatred on campus. We went up and we stuck it on the WAM board like we were supposed to, and Bill Moffett came over and said, “What are you doing?” We said, “We found this thing and we were putting it up so people could see it and discuss it.” He looked at me, because I was the one who was talking, and all the time looking in my eyes, grabbed it off the WAM board and crumpled it up in my face and threw it at me. He said something like, “Don’t put this shit on the WAM board without passing it by me, and you had no business doing this.” I was completely flipped out; I was feeling attacked. I said, “You could have just fucking handed it back to me.” He flipped out about me saying `fucking’ to him. He said, “Is that how you talk to a staff member? Is that how you talk to a senior? Is that how you talk to faculty?” It turned into this huge screaming fight, and everybody started to gather around. Somebody had to take me out of the library because I just couldn’t handle it; I ran out of the library and down the ramp. It turned into this big thing; I was trying to figure out what to do about it.

At that time I was working as a tutor with Jan Cooper who was on the Sexual Harassment Committee, so I took it to Jan. Jan and Bill Norris actually worked with me on this, and they were just tremendous. It was the first time I actually had any real thing going on with gay faculty or gay-supportive faculty. They were really wonderful. It was horrible because there was no way to address it; there was no policy about anti-gay and anti-lesbian harassment. So we would have had to go through the Sexual Harassment Committee. Then there was the whole thing that Moffett was threatening to do if I brought anything against him. He was threatening to bring something up against me. It was my senior year and I was writing a thesis. I had no time to deal with it. It was going to have to go before the General Faculty, and I was going to be dragged up a pole. We ended up dropping the entire thing because he was threatening to retaliate.

I went to Lesbians be Loud and talked about it. This whole crowd of women that Nori was referring to, this very attitudinal crowd, wouldn’t give me the time of day for the whole rest of the year. They wouldn’t talk to me; they wouldn’t look at me. I came in with this story and suddenly I was their poster child. I was grateful in that they responded, but it was also a bit insulting in that respect. We ended up taking over Mudd Library one evening and had a lesbian and gay read-out, which was really exciting. We just took over. We marched in at nine o’clock at night, taking over the entire first floor of Mudd. We were talking about lesbian visibility in the library and why this was so offensive that this happened in the library. You know, how lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals go to find their history in the library, so we had this read-out. Everybody dropped what they were doing, people came from all the other floors and sat down. It was just this wonderful, wonderful thing, a real act of resistance. Moffett continued to be a jerk. Fortunately he is gone now. I was just talking with Jan last night and she said that what happened that year was really important. Now she says that this fall there was a whole exhibit of lesbian, gay and bisexual literature in the library. It really changed things, and what a wonderful thing in that it involved faculty too! It really brought a lot of those factions together, even though it was very hard.

[…]