Of all the lessons Hollie Rice will learn while studying at Towson State University, probably none will prove more memorable or valuable to her than the lesson of the past several weeks.
Last month in the University Union, the 18-year-old sophomore was chatting with a friend about a course taught by David Bergman, a highly regarded TSU literature professor who happens to be gay. A young man -- a stranger to both Ms. Rice and her friend -- butted into the conversation to make anti-gay and anti-Semitic remarks about the professor. The stranger also accused Ms. Rice of being a lesbian, which she is not.
When Ms. Rice defended Mr. Bergman's right to teach and called the young man's comments "ignorant," he sucker-punched her.
Ms. Rice was in for a different but equally shocking kind of blow after she attended a "violence awareness rally" organized by the TSU gay students group to decry the punching incident. Although Ms. Rice did not speak at the rally, the fact that she merely attended led to strained relations between her and members of her Christian sorority. Apparently, some of her good Christian sisters feared that her presence at the rally would serve to imply the sorority's approval of homosexuality.