Vandals target openly gay candidate at SUU

Campaign posters for an openly gay student-government candidate were vandalized with gay slurs on the Southern University of Utah campus.

Payden Adams was running for the activities vice president position, which he lost by 12 votes. He was the first openly-gay candidate running for a position on the Student Association Executive Council at SUU. However, Adams had been facing vandalism since the campaign began.

The vandalism started early in the campaign said SUU’s Queer-Straight Alliance President Benjamin Smith. At first a few posters and fliers were shredded and taken down. But when vandalized posters were found with the words, “Fag” and “Homo” written in red ink, the vandals had gone way too far, Smith said.

“This is obviously directed at (Adams) because no one else’s campaign materials were tampered with or vandalized,” Smith said. “This is madly disturbing and an obvious attack on Payden. He did not make his sexuality an issue in the campaign, but everyone who knows him knows that he is gay.

Despite the attacks, Adams said he was even more energized about the campaign. 

“This doesn’t discourage me at all. It makes me want to be stronger and makes me even more passionate about making SUU a better place,” Adams said in a press release.

He told QSaltLake that he still had high hopes to win the election.

“I don’t think I ever really felt physically threatened,” he said. “But it is scary not knowing who is doing all of this. I would much rather they approached me in the open.”

This is not the first time bigotry has been an issue at SUU. Two years ago Queer-Straight Alliance posters were also vandalized.

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