Students respond to LGBT slurs at hockey game

It was brought to my attention that Faye Clark accused the spirit club of bringing verbal hatred toward the LGBT community at the hockey game last Friday. In no way am I attempting to demean her article, as I am a Merciad staff writer for the Arts and Entertainment section.

As an open member of the LGBT community for years, a member for the Queer Straight Alliance at Mercyhurst and as somebody who has attended every hockey game thus far and have accompanied the cheers of the “Unofficial Spirit Club,” I invite Clark to check her facts before she writes about an event.

I can attest to the fact that slurs and slanders toward the gay community were never used.

All I wish to convey is that Clark should choose the issues she focuses on more carefully.

By Mat Anderson, staff writer.

Just to give you a little background, I hail from a small town in Ohio that is full of spirit and pride for our local high school team. Literally everyone in town turns out for the Friday night football games, and the student cheering section is always filled to capacity.

It was tradition for every student to come dressed in nothing but school apparel, blue and white face paint and hold signs and our school flag.

When I came to college, I expected a similar atmosphere at all of our sports games – in fact, I expected the student cheering section to be even more intense.

However, after attending my first few games for many of the sports here, I soon realized that there was no organized student support for our teams, and that broke my heart. I feel like our student athletes work so hard to play well and represent our school, and in return they are under appreciated.

So this year, a group of students sharing sentiments similar to mine came together and decided to start an organized movement to attend games and show our pride for Mercyhurst.

I attended the men’s hockey home opener vs. RIT on Oct. 28, and I couldn’t be more proud of our student cheering section. While at the game, I heard no cheers or chants containing any LGBT slurs. If I had, I definitely would have noticed, seeing as I have two family members and several friends that are part of the LGBT community.

In the end, it is important to recognize that we live in a country that prides itself on the First Amendment right to free speech. The Supreme Court has even overturned legal rulings against such groups as the KKK in order to preserve the right of citizens to freely speak their minds.

I was always taught that if someone says something you don’t agree with, then just walk away and don’t listen. Every day I hear speech in one form or another that offends me, but I would rather live in a country that allows expression than a country that practices censorship.

Perhaps one student at the game did make a LGBT slur, but that is one student and in no way reflected the chants and cheers being practiced by the student body as a whole.

In my day to day life I represent Mercyhurst as an Ambassador, but at our games, I represent Mercyhurst as a student and sports fan. Our cheers and chants have always remained encouraging to our players – nothing more or less.

We are Lakers, and no one could be prouder, and if you cannot hear us, we’ll shout a little louder.

By Alicia Rossi, contributing writer.


The school spirit at the game this past weekend was the best school spirit that I have seen since I have been at Mercyhurst. It was a great turn out, and it really showed the spirit that Mercyhurst has honestly been lacking. Not to mention it gave students the chance to go out with friends and attend a fun, alcohol free event on a Friday night.

The student section and the spirit club itself not only helped bring the student body together but also helped the players get excited for their games last weekend and helped them gain the momentum they needed for two big wins.

I have spoken to several people that sat throughout the student section, and not a single person heard any “slurs” against the LGBT community.

Mercyhurst has needed to step up its game for school spirit, and The Unofficial Spirit Club has done a great job at bringing the students together in a clean and fun way. I cannot wait to see what it brings to the upcoming games.

By Amanda Bortak, contributing writer.

Editor’s note: These are opinion articles. The views expressed in the opinion section of The Merciad do not necessarily reflect the views of Mercyhurst College, the staff of The Merciad or the Cathlic Church. Responses to Faye Clark’s article will be published in the December print edition of The Merciad.