OGDEN -- Harrison Spendlove didn't let a hateful note get to him.
A week ago, someone left a note on his car while it was parked at Weber State University. The author threatened him with physical harm and condemned him to hell because Spendlove is gay.
Spendlove, an openly gay activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students on campus and, at that time, a candidate for the legislative vice president position, threw the letter away. He and other activists on campus have their goals set on a more welcoming campus, where such sentiments don't have a place.
And he feels a big step in that direction would be an LGBT Center at WSU. An LGBT center could mean an institutional mission of education, promotion and programs for the demographic at WSU.
Spendlove has been at WSU for about three years, but he felt comfortable coming out only after he transferred for half a semester to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. The school has had an LGBT resource center since 2002, and he felt that the campus climate was more accepting.
Valerie Larabee, executive director of the Utah Pride Center, said the creation of such a center would need "a good, solid voice from the student body as well as being embraced by one or more people in a position of power on campus."
Spendlove said a climate assessment survey should be under way soon at WSU to determine students' needs.
Spendlove knows there are plenty of students at WSU who aren't straight. In a 2010 survey by the school's student affairs department, 92 percent of students identified as heterosexual.
"So who are the 8 percent?" he asked.
The same survey for 2011 showed 99 percent of students identify as heterosexual.
This is the first school year that Jan Winniford, vice president of the Office of Student Affairs, can remember students directly requesting an LGBT center from the administration.
The office weighs the results of the climate assessment survey when considering how to use its resources, she said.
"We want to cultivate an environment where everyone feels like they belong," Winniford said.
Spendlove recalled that several young, gay people killed themselves last year, which drew national attention to gays being bullied at school.
The note on Spendlove's vehicle was not the only example of anti-LGBT sentiments in a student election this year, either. Last week at Utah Valley University in Orem, an e-mail circulated that asked students not to vote for a particular candidate because he's openly gay, according to Q Salt Lake, a gay and lesbian magazine.
LGBT young people often suffer a lot of rejection, Larabee said.
"They need at least someone that understands what they may need help with ...(and a presence that's) strong enough to make those resources known to them," she said.
The responsibilities that would fall to an LGBT center are currently handled, as best they can be, by two student groups: Gay Student Alliance and LGBT Support.
Their latest effort was a Black and White Ball, held March 3, with all students -- gay and straight -- invited to attend.
Masters student Trish Apkan came out as a lesbian about two years ago. She, too, does not feel the welcome she would like.
And then she saw a flier for the ball as well as a notice about it online. She said it was the first event of its kind she'd seen in her several years at the school.
So she, her date and more than 50 students hit the dance floor the night of March 3 in the ballroom of the J. Farrell Shepherd Union.
The point of the dance was to show students there is a confident LGBT community on campus that is there for whoever needs them.
"I wouldn't be afraid knowing there's someone you can see ... to have a physical manifestation (of the community and its support system)" said Kelsey Capoferri, president of GSA.
LGBT advocates feel that they are making strides with students.
Capoferri points to the student body electing openly homosexual candidate Mindy Chamberlin vice president of diversity and unity as one example. Chamberlin won Saturday with 33 percent of the vote.
Spendlove didn't win the legislative vice president position he sought, but he did come in second of three candidates, with 26.5 percent of the vote.