IU student calls for change in viral TikTok video

Since posting the video, Declan Farley said he has made new connections on campus, including strangers offering their home as a safe space.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — “It shouldn’t take a viral video for any change to happen,” said Declan Farley, a sophomore at Indiana University.

On Saturday, January 14, Farley, who identifies as a queer transgender student, posted a video on TikTok.

The 57-second video begins with this:

“For the past five months, I have experienced extreme bullying on my bedroom floor.”

Farley said she transferred to IU in 2022 to study management and human organization. According to Farley, she chose IU for its LGBTQ+ resources and its inclusion on campus.

However, on her first night in Bloomington, Farley said she experienced something very different.

On the TikTok, Farley said:

“It started with banging on my door and running away, then it turned into swearing outside my door. Not only that, but food and garbage were thrown outside my door. Most recently, I saw someone licking the outside of my door while I was within.

Farley said he considered it a joke, until he said it went on almost every night for a month.

Since Farley was new to campus, he said he felt under attack.

“I don’t know anybody on the floor,” Farley said. “I don’t know anyone’s name. I’ve never really interacted with anyone. All they know about me is that I’m trans and I’m queer. I’m very open about it.”

Farley said the harassment continued for more than five months. Farley said he raised concerns about him with campus and residence hall officials in October.

“I asked, ‘What can we do? Can we have a floor meeting?’ And they said, ‘Absolutely,'” Farley said. “That floor meeting was supposed to take place in late October or early November. We had our floor meeting on January 15 after the video came out.”

At the time, Farley said she also filed a bias incident report with the university.

“I had high hopes for that,” Farley said. “They did a bias report, but I asked, ‘What can I do? What can you guys do? All of this is happening to me. Is there something you guys can… a floor meeting, anything?’ They told me my only option was to change rooms.”

Farley said she received responses from university officials during the fall semester, but no changes were made. She said the bullying continued again.

On Jan. 14, Farley took his concerns to TikTok, saying in part:

“This bullying has caused me an extreme amount of stress and emotional toll. Due to this and other stressors, I attempted to take my own life this past semester. I’m making this TikTok to raise awareness about homophobia and transphobia on the IU campus. .”

“I think IU needs to be held accountable,” Farley said. “I made that TikTok hoping it would get some traction and maybe IU would see it.”

As of Wednesday morning, more than 1.3 million people have viewed Farley’s video. Hundreds of thousands of people have liked it and thousands of people have left messages of support.

“A lot of people said, ‘I’m glad you’re here,'” Farley said, “and that really meant a lot to me. I have people who care about me. It’s definitely hard to feel sad when you know people care about you.”

Farley said that since posting the video, she has made new connections on campus, including strangers offering her home as a safe space. Farley, who grew up in Alaska, said she appreciates the support as a student miles from home.

“My mom and dad live a long way away,” Farley said. “I know they would be down here if they could, fighting for me and not letting this happen.”

Regarding the university, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Dave O’Guinn shared the following statement:

“We are deeply committed to maintaining a safe and inclusive campus for all students. Protecting student privacy is always a top priority, so we cannot speak about student-specific issues. However, we do strive to respond to any reporting bias and bullying with a robust process for addressing reported incidents and behaviors IU also has a dedicated care team that works quickly to connect with students who may be struggling or need additional support Support and resources come in many forms and may include assistance related to academic problems, welfare, and harassment or discrimination.”

A campus spokesperson confirmed that the Indiana University Police Department is now investigating Farley’s harassment claims. That investigation began on January 14, according to campus officials.

Farley said he is disappointed that it has taken so long to launch the investigation.

“This has been going on since August,” Farley said. “Why is this now a problem now that it’s viral?”

As Farley’s TikTok views continue to grow, the sophomore said he plans to serve as an advocate for other trans and queer students in the future.

“I definitely think a lot of changes are going to happen,” Farley said, “and I’m very excited.”

Despite the bullying on campus, Farley said he has no intention of leaving IU. In fact, she hopes more LGBTQ+ people will choose to become IU students.

“I’m definitely staying in IU,” Farley said, “because I’m not going to let this destroy me. I want to make this a better place. I definitely don’t want to run away because nothing’s going to change if I leave.”

Source: news.google.com