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Broken Dykes Shattered Hopes

UND-A Journey to Nowhere

The Nightmare on State Street

My name is Lisa Ernhart. I was raised in Rochester Minnesota and I was an Accounting Student at the University of North Dakota for approximately two years. During my stay at UND as a student and as a single mother of three, I opted to use family housing. Because it was just after the flood of ‘97, and housing was being rebuilt, my significant other, Jennifer Paul, a UND Physical Education Student, decided to move in with me. They told me not to lie on the application and that it was okay to put down anyone else that was to be residing in my home. I was to discover that this was the policy until the UND housing administration discovered that I was Gay. The nine months I spent in student housing was a nightmare. The resident manager, Cindy Adams, a UND Social Work Grad Student, refused to do repairs because she thought our lifestyle was disgusting. Further, every playground incident, no matter how small and insignificant was reported by Ms. Adams to the UND Campus Police. My ten-year-old son Jeffrey soon acquired a police record and Child Protective Services threatened to remove my children from my home because they feared that my alternative lifestyle was not healthy for my children. I fought this in Grand Forks Civil Court and I won. As one can imagine this interfered with my studies. My 4.0 average soon dropped a point.

As The Woman News Anchor on Channel 11 Warned: "Stay off of the Dykes, They Are Slippery When They Are Wet"

Not only were we attacked by the UND Housing administration, and Child Protective Services of Grand Forks, but someone poured some sort of syrup all over our car and painted the word ‘Dyke' on the side. We received threatening phone calls and someone threw a rock at our window. When we phoned the UND Campus Police, they refused to take a report of the incident, citing that we perhaps just should move away from here. They refused to report the incident as a Hate crime, and told us that there is in fact nowhere in North Dakota to report such a thing. After the hate crime incident they served us with and eviction notice.

Come Hell and High Water

My son Bruce who was nine, and two other UND Students children, Nolan and Byron had gotten a hold of a lighter from one of the parents (not me) and they lit a small piece of paper on fire in a hallway and promptly stamped it out. No charges were ever filed against the other children or their families, but my son and I were served with eviction papers.  I fought the eviction and won, but was harassed soon after for everything I did or did not do. They accused me of parking in my own assigned spot without a family housing sticker when the car was recently purchased. I brought the documentation to the Campus police and they refused to waive charges citing I should just leave anyway. The Resident Manager Cindy Adams took pictures citing that I parked too crooked in my parking space. Once she accused me of parking ‘over the line'. She had taken pictures of that too. Meanwhile, water was dripping from the toilet upstairs into the basement underneath and they still did not repair the leak. I thought the standard of living they were providing me was well beneath what was legal or healthy.

Broken Dykes Shattered Hopes

We ended up fleeing UND while a friend put our possessions in storage for us because I was afraid of the repercussions that would be brought on by the University of North Dakota and their unwillingness to accept society of the nineties. For a school to claim diversity as one of their attraction points, I feel that they are deceptive. I feel that they need to use whatever diversity they offer and apply it in all areas instead of a select few. They need to be aware of the fact that gay and lesbianism is a part of now and they must accept or at least tolerate a thing of the future and it must be accepted by everyone no matter who or where you are. I finished my accounting degree and I am now pursuing a Law Degree in Law School. It was smooth sailing once I left UND. I would not recommend the University of North Dakota to anyone who is not a White, Heterosexual, Christian, Male. In fact, I would not recommend UND to anyone.

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