LGBT students protest Target Takeover

The Residence Hall Association hosted its annual Target Takeover event last night, amidst controversy over the retail giant’s political contributions.

The Target Corporation, headquartered in Minneapolis, Minn., has come under fire for contributing $150,000 to the political action committee Minnesota Forward. Minnesota Forward gave money to campaign ads for gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer, who supports a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage in the state.

Several students unsuccessfully tried to persuade RHA to cancel the event, but RHA released a statement earlier this week declaring that Target Takeover would be held as scheduled.

Junior Ali Lozano, who is abroad this semester, said she resents RHA’s decision.

“I think it is the duty of the RHA to send a message that GW will not tolerate bigotry of any form and that we stand up for our LGBT students,” Lozano wrote in an e-mail. “If I attended Target Takeover, as an LGBT student, I would feel like I was funding my own second-class citizenship.”

Lozano added that she and her fellow organizers have received a lot of messages from GW’s LGBT alumni supporting them in their boycott efforts.

Students boarded buses from Foggy Bottom and the Mount Vernon Campus bound for the Target store in Columbia Heights.

Freshman Elizabeth Moss said she and her friends were going.

“We need some stuff for our room that we didn’t get,” she said. “It’s a good idea to stand up for what you believe in, so if you think it’ll make a difference, then go for it.”

Freshman Maria Seidel said she was going for the discounts and the sales.

“I am very liberal, but I still need my stuff,” she said. “To pass up an opportunity like that, I don’t think it’s worth it. But I do feel the pain of people who are affected by it.”

Last week, Washington University in St. Louis, which was recently awarded the highest LGBT-friendly rating from the nonprofit organization Campus Pride, announced that it would not be participating in its annual Target shopping event.

Allied in Pride, GW’s LGBT advocacy group, did not sponsor a widespread effort to discourage students from attending Target Takeover. Michael Komo, president of Allied in Pride, said it was up to individual members to decide if they wanted to participate.

“We want to let our members make that decision for themselves,” Komo said. “We understand that even within the LGBT community there is a wide spectrum of diversity, and we want to support our members in whatever decision they make.”

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