PROPEL candidate alleges anti-gay remarks were made by INVEST member

The University of Colorado Student Government election polls are closed, but one student who ran on the PROPEL ticket says he continues to feel the effects of the loss.

Running for president on the PROPEL ticket, 21-year-old junior political science major Corey Wiggins, who identifies himself as gay, said he and two other students who ran on the ticket were walking on the Hill Friday night when a candidate from the winning ticket, INVEST, allegedly called out anti-gay remarks to them.

Wiggins said the student who made the remarks is David Gillis, who was elected to the position of UCEC Senator.

“He just started yelling at us, ‘I hate gays, I hate gays, I hate gays,’” Wiggins said. “And then they were laughing and everything like that. Then we just got in the car and drove off cause we didn’t want to be around it.”

Gillis, a sophomore chemical and biological engineer major, said the allegations are false.

“Basically what was said…is a fabrication,” Gillis said. “I’m being singled out by the losing ticket, in this case PROPEL. This type of incident happens every year. Unfortunately this year I am the one being targeted. Once again this a complete fabrication.”

Sam Kobbe, a 20-year-old sophomore economics and political science major, said she witnessed the alleged incident take place.

“We were on our way to [a friend’s] car and as were turning the corner, [Gillis] started yelling ‘I hate gays, I hate gays’ at us,” Kobbe said. “Then we got in the car and as we drove past he was still saying it.”

Kobbe said Gillis was standing with a group of people on the porch of a house.

“There were others on the porch wearing INVEST shirts who were egging him on,” she said. “It was definitely something that affected us all deeply. It was pretty awful.”

CUSG Public Relations Director Kristy Gustavson said while she continues to look into the incident, she could not fully provide a statement on the matter.

“I don’t necessarily have a statement at this point,” Gustavson said. “It’s all hearsay. I don’t have enough facts about the incident. I talked to some executives and because, me personally, I don’t know what happened, and I’m still waiting to hear the other side of the story.”

Recently elected INVEST President, Andrew Yoder, a 21-year-old junior business major, said he was unsure of the details surrounding the alleged event.

“What I heard happened was some of our affiliate students – this is an accusation, I don’t know if it’s true what I heard – they’re claiming, yelled something hateful, I’m not sure, at I believe an executive PROPEL student,” Yoder said. 

Yoder said that the INVEST ticket is not homophobic or anti-gay.

“I find these allegations to be groundless,” he said. “I don’t know if there’s any proof. However if there is proof, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. But we don’t support those ideas or any hate speech against anyone.” 

Wiggins said the incident was disheartening.

“I mean it was really, really hard and demoralizing,” Wiggins said. “We were out campaigning, excited to get the last-minute votes, then that happened and I just, shut down. It’s hard to know that someone like this wants to represent students and cares about students voice can yell those things about myself and how I identify and so many other folks on this campus identify.”

However, Wiggins said that an INVEST member did tell him that he and some other members are going to follow up.

“[Saturday] Rodrigo [Gonzalez] spoke to me and made clear that himself and some other folks in the ticket were really upset by the comments that were made towards me,” Wiggins said. “And that they want to take action.”

Gonzalez said he did not make these remarks to Wiggins and had no further comment about the incident.

“I do not have any comments regarding this story in particular,” Gonzalez said in an email. “I think it is very irresponsible of you all to be publishing what amounts to gossip, both sides maintain they heard very different things and given that the losing ticket is making these accusation I find them to be quite disgusting and malicious in nature.”

Anne Landaker, an 18-year-old freshman ecology and evolutionary biology major, said she does not believe INVEST is homophobic, but rather that one person may have been thoughtless in his actions.

“It’s hard to say that INVEST is anti-gay because it was just one member saying that,” Landaker said. “So, I’m more on the side of thinking it was just one member being stupid but that doesn’t make it good or right.”

Yoder said he is attempting to get more information, but he said for now, all that can be done is to investigate.

“We kind of have to look at the evidence presented on both sides and make a decision,” Yoder said. “We cannot force anyone to step down; we just don’t have that power. We can’t force anyone to resign. We can’t do anything other than investigate, see if it’s true and listen to what other people [discover]. Just wait and see. I don’t know how proactive we can be.”

Note: This article was modified from its original version.

Contact CU Independent News Budget Editor Sarah Simmons at Sarah.e.simmons@colorado.edu.

CU Independent

The CU Independent, or CUI for short, is the student news outlet for the University of Colorado at Boulder. We cover news, sports, politics, opinion, arts and entertainment and more. Our mission is to provide news and commentary that's for students and by students — about the things we care about.

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