Campus protest calls for University action against hate speech

Noah Pasley and Natalie Weiland

Students protest in front of Administration Building
Colorado State University students protest in removal of hate speech from campus Sept. 17. The protest started in The Plaza and moved to the Administration building. (Grayson Reed | The Collegian)


















Editor’s Note: This post was updated to include clarification regarding the identity of an event organizer.

Students at Colorado State University participated in a protest on Friday, Sept. 17 against the University’s response to the presence of preachers on campus in the previous weeks. 

The protest, organized by “#CallOutCSU,” consisted of a gathering on The Lory Student Center Plaza and a subsequent march down University Avenue to The Oval, where the group convened to share firsthand experiences with discrimination and call on the CSU administration to take action. 

#CallOutCSU released a list of demands directed toward President Joyce McConnell and CSU as the protest was getting underway. The list of 11 demands calls for the assembling of a task force to “distinguish between hate speech and discriminatory harassment and bias-motivated harassment” and the creation of an alert system to notify students of discriminatory harassment situations on campus and the hiring of more “LGBTQIA+, BIPOC and disabled” counselors on campus. 

In their list of demands, the group sets a 30-day deadline from Sept. 17 for the University to address and reevaluate the outlined changes. 

Speaking to the crowd gathered on The Plaza before the march, Ty Smith, a third-year marketing major and event organizer, read the list of demands aloud and highlighted the events that led to the organization of the protest. 

“Today we are going to be talking about hate speech and bias on campus and making sure that CSU understands that we are not here to stand for it anymore,” Smith said. “We are going to demand change and make this a more inclusive campus for everyone.” 

Students Protest to Administration Building
Ariadne Athey, Internal Affairs Committee chair for the Associated Students of Colorado State University, joins in protest Sept. 17. “CallOutCSU is fantastic for setting this up,” Athey said. “They got a fantastic turnout and made the space very inclusive. The University has not done enough to prevent hate speech, racism, antisemitism, ableism, transphobia and homophobia.” (Grayson Reed | Collegian)

Following the reading of demands and introduction on The Plaza, the group marched down University Avenue onto Amy Van Dyken Way and then to The Oval, where they gathered in front of the Administration Building. 

Upon arriving, event organizers Ty Smith and Xander Low shared online submissions from a virtual #CalloutCSU survey, which invited CSU students and faculty and Fort Collins community members to share how they’d been impacted by hate speech on campus. 

Joyce, make a choice! Listen to your students’ voice!” -Natalie Buchholz, protest attendee

Attendees were then invited to share their firsthand experiences with discrimination and harassment. Students detailed their experiences of discrimination on campus and at times called directly on McConnell to take action against such occurrences. 

Protestor holds sign while at a Call Out CSU protest on Colorado State University Campus. Call Out CSU is a response to Colorado State University’s handling of two preachers who were last seen on campus around Sept. 14.
Protestor holds sign while at a Call Out CSU protest on Colorado State University Campus. Call Out CSU is a response to Colorado State University’s handling of two preachers who were last seen on campus around Sept. 14. (Garrett Mogel | The Collegian)

Attendee Natalie Buchholz spoke of being harassed by campus preachers, who last week drew a crowd of nearly 100 on The Plaza after students rallied to support one another. Buchholz, who is bisexual and Jewish, said the preachers called her an antisemitic slur and continued to harass her later in the week. 

“These people not only hate our community, but they learn who we are,” Buchholz said.

Turning directly to the Administration Building, Buchholz said through a megaphone, “Joyce, make a choice! Listen to your students’ voice!” 

Event organizer Xander Low hopes to see a change in the future as a result of the day’s events. 

“I’m hopeful, but I’m also skeptical,” Low said. “I think our goal here is we just really want to make a very intersectional movement and collaborate with … student groups to really start to address some of these concerns.” 

Natalie Weiland and Noah Pasley can be reached at or on Twitter @CSUCollegian