INDIANA (KDKA) – A local college student claims she was bullied by her professor because she's a lesbian.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania is conducting an investigation and the claim sparked a tolerance rally on campus.
Christina Santiago, a graduate student, says the comments were made by a professor teaching a business class.
Santiago says another student brought up the topic of sex changes and says the professor then brought up homosexuality.
"The professor then said to the class that homosexuals are disgusting, unnatural and abnormal," said Santiago.
Santiago says her heart began racing, but she raised her hand and asked the professor: "So are you saying students like myself who identify as homosexual are disgusting, unnatural and abnormal?" Santiago says, "The professor replied, 'Yes.'"
She says the instructor went on to call homosexuality a sin, complain about diversity training and accuse her of "forcing her homosexuality on her." She says she realized other students, as well as the professor, were laughing at her as the discussion continued, and she says she was holding back tears.
"I felt attacked, bullied, singled out," said Santiago.
KDKA-TV called the professor's office number and emailed the instructor, but there's been no response.
But the union that represents faculty members released a statement.
"We understand that [these]accusations are serious and need to be investigated by the university," said Francisco Alarcón, Ph.D., Vice-President IUP-APSCUF. "At the same time we advocate for the rights of the faculty and the processes for investigating complaints against faculty must be followed."
A spokesperson for IUP says she cannot discuss personnel matters but confirms there is an ongoing investigation.
Santiago has also contacted the American Civil Liberties Union.
"We're not paying thousands of dollars in tuition to be taught to hate others," said Santiago.
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