BREAKING: Alleged LGBTQ+ hate crime during Rainbow Week

LMU Gender Sexuality Alliance's statement on incident. 

UPDATED: Includes new information from LGBTSS Director Anthony Garrison-Engbrecht and clarification about the BIRT meeting addressed in the previous version of this article.

Three student workers from the LGBT Student Services office were engaged in a verbal altercation with an LMU employee from the Alumni Relations office between 9 a.m and 12 p.m. on Palm Walk near the Von der Ahe building on Thursday, April 14, according to a Gender-Sexuality Alliance press release. 

Senior biology major Catalina Ibarra and senior business majors Kaii Blanton and Cosette Carleo noticed that signs put up for Rainbow Week, or LGBTQ+ Awareness Week, by LGBT Student Services (LGBTSS) had been removed and placed behind a garbage can, according to Carleo. 

As Blaton, Carleo and Ibarra attempted to replace the signs, an employee from the Alumni Relations office, whose name has not yet been made available to the public, allegedly approached the students about LGBTQ+ issues and voiced opinions on differing sexualities, expressing that anti-LGBTQ+ signs should be put up in place of the students’ signs. The employee also referred to one of the students as a man, even though that student had informed the employee that they identify as gender neutral, according to Carleo.

As of Tuesday April 19, multiple attempts were made to contact the employee in question, through the Alumni Relations office, email, phone and a social media account appearing to belong to the employee. At the time of print production on Tuesday, no responses were received.  

The Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) met and released a statement on April 15, notifying the LMU community that BIRT, along with Public Safety and the Los Angeles Police Department, is looking into the events of April 14 as reported by the three students. BIRT also clarified that the investigation will continue as two separate incidents, the first being the removal of the LGBT signs and the second being the employee and students’ confrontation. 

“The University stands behind its statement of non-discrimination, which prohibits unwelcome, harassing conduct on the basis of several classifications, including gender identity and sexual orientation.” said John Kiralla, the executive director of marketing and communications and BIRT member, on April 14, before BIRT had met. 

ASLMU responded to the incident through social media, encouraging the LMU community to treat each other with respect. ASLMU is still looking into the events that took place last Thursday.

“I’ve really only experienced love and acceptance upon coming out to new people, but this lady told me that I was wrong and unnatural. That shook me to my core,” Carleo said.

Anthony Garrison-Engbrecht, director of leadership programs and LGBTSS, responded to the alleged events on April 14 via phone call. 

We are going to do everything we can to investigate and respond appropriately to the actions. I feel whenever there is a trust broken by our community we have to try to restore that. Some of that is by dialogue and some of that is by healing.”

In the original statement given by the Gender-Sexuality Alliance (GSA), they claimed that LGBTSS was not funded by the University.

The GSA press release asserted that LMU has created an unsafe environment for LGBTQ+ and minority students.

LGBTSS and Carleo hosted a community discussion on Friday in the Bird’s Nest. The focus of the community gathering was on the issues LGBTQ+ students face in schools and how students felt about the reported incident the day before. They also began the early stages of planning for solidarity events in conjunction with other departments. LGBTSS held an academic dialogue on Monday with a workshop on harmful language. 

Two upcoming events were planned in response to the incident. Students will be holding a silent protest on the UHall bridge Wednesday, April 20, at 11:45 a.m. LGBTSS and the Theology Department will also be hosting an interfaith panel discussion on the different religious views of the LGBTQ+ community and diversity on Friday. The time for the panel is to be determined. 


Editor-in-Chief, Kellie Chudzinski is a senior communication studies major from the bay area

(14) comments


Please read the accused's side of the story to see how once again colleges and universities have decided that FREE SPEECH is a one sided event.
All those with conservative viewpoints must be shut down at all costs. It is shameful that a supposed CATHOLIC school has abandoned CATHOLIC morals. Those who decided to attended LMU because of its Catholic identity and traditions best transfer.

Oldest Lion

What am I missing in the original article and update? Without having to go to another source to get the accused's version of the confrontation- or was it discussion- I would like to hear directly from the accused. It appears that The Loyolan, by publishing the article without first interviewing the accused for her version, has already left the impression that whatever she were to say would be reported with the same bias shown in the original article. Who can blame her for not responding under these circumstances?

I would also like to hear from the accused's supervisor regarding why a suspension was put in play without the full and accurate facts being available.

I fear that such an actionable situation has been brought about by both the The Loyolan and the accused supervisor that the lawyers will be the chief beneficiaries.
It would be much better if the dollars were spent on tuition relief.

Finally, why are all the comments posted so critical of The Loyolan and the university? Why haven't we heard more from the other side of the dispute, those who brought about the whole action?


It appears that the "Update" as of April 19th claiming multiple unsuccessful attempts to contact the staff member is a best further evidence of journalistic incompetence in the reporting of this incident, if not a deliberate expansion of the fabrications in the original story. As indicated in the links below, cal-catholic publicly posted the other side of the story on the 17th. Spin it how you like, but there is a fairly obvious lack of interest in anything resembling a balanced look at the story from *this* source.

An excerpt from a timely article another source:
"This is the Paradox of Dogma. To return to the question we started with: if you try to shut down public debate, is this a way of ensuring that you win—or an admission that you have already lost? The answer is: both. It might ensure that you win in the short term. But over the long term, it abandons the field to those who do believe in ideological debate."


Several things bother me about this account. First, it seems unfair to the accused employee to publish this one-sided, totally biased report of the "incident".

Second, I still don't know what the "hate crime" is. It sounds as if this was a conversation between people of differing opinions. If expressing a differing opinion is a hate crime, then aren't the students guilty of a hate crime as well? Isn't it possible that the employee was "shaken to the core" by their expressed opinions? Why is only one side protected and defended by the university?

Finally, I attended LMU because of its Catholic identity and traditions. Judging from this incident and many others in recent years, it is heartrendingly obvious that the Catholic faith and its teachings are no longer welcome on campus. My college bound sons will not be applying to my alma mater.


Why does LMU and the Loyolan recklessly, unethically, and irresponsibly not publishing the real story here? Pushing falsehoods is a genuine embarrassment for LMU.


And now for the other side of the story...


Does LMU have a policy on free speech and open dialogue? Does it stand behind that policy? Does "BIRT" investigate bias against Catholics who might find pronouncements against Catholic moral beliefs offensive? Or does BIRT exist simply to enforce a secular liberal agenda?

Is adverse action being taken against a Catholic employee at a Catholic school who had the audacity to articulate the Catholic position on an issue?

If LMU is no longer Catholic, it would only be fair to let your alumni, donors and prospective parents and students know.


I'm still waiting for the full story. This update continues to mislead readers by painting a pretty picture of comfort and protection for the poor "victim" children who have had much "dialogue and healing" put into place for them already. Yet, there's still no account provided from the unnamed employee. I wonder why? Could it be that they have already been ostracized and looked at as guilty...guilty until proven innocent. To equate a conversation to a hate crime is absurd!!! If we continue to only report the embellishments of one side of the story then the truth will never be revealed. But maybe that's the point from the look of it!


Shame on you Kellie Chudzinski for using social media to advance your agenda without getting all the facts and shame on LMU for allowing this to be printed! Is it now a hate crime in today's world to have a conversation with each other in exchanging ideas and opinions? Where is the other side of the story? The alleged "hater" is not even included or quoted in your story. Not a very good start as a journalist. Typically both sides are viewed. This article has been labeled as a "Hate Crime"...So, please tell me where's the hate??? To viciously attack someone's character (anominous or not) is WRONG and you, Ms Kellie should make an apology for publishing an article without the "whole story"

Deacon Raymond

The young lady said that someone disagreed with her and it "shook her to her core"? Good, it should have. Why is LMU publishing articles without getting the whole story? Not very Ignatian of you is it?


So someone had a different opinion and talked to the other side?

I'm not sure how this is a hate crime. The university should facilitate talks, not silence the other side by force.

p.s. If you look like a man, I will address you as a man. Its not hateful.

Thomas Acquin

"The truth will make you free," so protects us from the horror of freedom and label it "hate speech."

Shouldn't Loyola Marymount's students also be protected from Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation? Indeed perhaps the University should ban it and have a public burning.


This article reads as completely misleading and biased, as much of our news is sadly reported today! Where's the other side of the story? Where's the incident of "hate"? It sounds like these people had a conversation with opposing views and that's it! I don't find the employee's response (as reported by the so called "victims") that "'heterosexuality is the only truth' and everything else is a choice" as "hateful." Isn't this a Catholic university? It sounds like she's practicing her freedom of religion and speaking from her Catholic beliefs, which are opposing but definitely NOT hateful! Oh, the irony- to speak of Catholicism at a Catholic university! This article makes me ashamed to be an alumnus of a so-called Catholic university that has strayed so far from its Catholic foundation. These seniors need to learn how to have an adult conversation before crying wolf, especially as representatives of the LGBTQ+ community. I would think they would welcome such dialogue to further their cause instead of quickly acting like the victim!! UH-OH....did I just commit a HATE CRIME!!!!


LGBTQ+? Did they come out with a 5.5" model? Whats next, LGBTQ se?

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