By Matt Lamb -
Following comments last year by Poland’s former president about homosexual members of Parliament, some students at Northeastern Illinois University are pressuring the school to rename a building that bears his name.
The public university in Chicago renamed an academic building “Lech Walesa Hall” in 2009 to honor the former Polish leader for his role in the downfall of communism. The press release from the event touted the university’s connection to the Polish community, including its student exchange programs with universities in Poland.
In an interview in March 2013, a reporter asked Walesa where gay members of Parliament should sit. He replied, “No minority should climb all over the majority. Homosexuals should even sit behind a wall, and not somewhere at the front.”
Gay-rights groups on campus responded by protesting the naming of the hall. According to multiple articles on CNN’s iReport citizen-journalism website by Mike Lackovich, a gay student at the school who organized a protest against the hall’s name two weeks ago, the administration has disregarded requests for a name change.
Lackovich claims that keeping Walesa’s name on the hall could potentially lead to an increase in suicides by gay students, and that honoring him is analogous to burning crosses or swastikas on campus. He chided the administration for continuing the “homophobia” and argued that President Sharon Hahs would be OK with a “Hitler Hall” on campus.