Sometimes a person does something stupid for stupid reasons, and this time is no exemption. The problem, of course, is that the actions of one can and do hurt many. Alexandra Pennell, a student at Central Connecticut State University, has been arrested for slipping notes under her own door that were intended to make it sound like she was the victim of a hate crime. She then reported the anti-gay notes to the police.
Pennell did tell the police that she wrote all of the notes after she was videotaped slipping one under her door and then reporting it to the police. She told the police, allegedly, that she did this in order to gain more attention from her roommate. The nineteen year old has, though, pled not guilty to charges of falsely reporting an incident, fabricating evidence and making false statements. She was arrested on 2 May, but the charges were not reported until this past Monday.
According to the arrest warrant, Pannell was caught on a hidden camera set up by the CCSU police to catch the perpetrator after the first round of notes were reported. The community gave a major outpouring of support to Pennell at the time that they were reported back in march, and hundreds of students turned out in rallies to support her. She reported that there were harassing notes left under her door and written on a dry-erase board on her door.
Pennell has been suspended from all colleges and universities in Connecticut for five years, and CCSU spokesman Mark McLaughlin is certain that they have the perpetrator and stated “We remain proud, however, of the campus community’s response to what we believed was an act of bias, and we reaffirm now what was said then: Acts of bias and hate will not be tolerated at CCSU.”
While understandable, and very human, the acts of Pennell can and will hurt the LGBT Community as a whole because they make it harder for real victims of harassment to be taken seriously in the future.