As Told by Tam: Campus Protestors

Tamra Smalewitz

Brother Matt preaches in front of Morgan library, Thursday, Aug. 28 as a small crowd gathers around him to join the debate on God.
Brother Matt preaches in front of Morgan library, Thursday, Aug. 28 as a small crowd gathers around him to join the debate on God. (Photo courtesy of the Collegian Archive)

What is worse than the upcoming election and the “Are you registered to vote” people? The protestors on campus.

Every single day I walk on campus, I notice a protestor yelling something out to the crowd or a gaggle of individuals surrounding the protestor fighting back. Since Colorado State University is a public campus, protestors are allowed to come say whatever spiel they want. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education also known as FIRE defines the guidelines of the CSU protestor code in “CSU Policy 5-1001-003: Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assembly Policy.” All the guidelines for the protestors can be found through the FIRE website.


I am all for freedom of speech and expression, but I do not like how some of the protestors behave. I have seen some of the protestors talk and, when a student tries to talk with them about the topic, shut the student down and not let them have a say. If you are going to protest on campus, you should be able to hear all sides of your argument no matter how much you disagree. If you dish it, you must be able to take it. Protestors, be respectful of the students; you are on our campus interfering with our day, so you should respect our right to not be bothered. Also, if someone is going to take the time out of their day to speak with you, treat them with the respect they deserve.

Students, if the protestors annoy you like they annoy me, ignore them. If you ignore them, they will go away. It is like when you were a kid and your sibling would copy everything you said or keep poking you, what did your parents say? They told you to ignore them. Once you ignored your sibling, they usually stopped what they were doing to you because it was not fun anymore for them. If you ignore the protestors, they will eventually leave because nobody is engaging with them and they have no one to fight with or yell at. The only way to get them to stop coming is to stop engaging with them. The more you engage, the bigger the impact they think that they make and the more they will come.

If you are going to engage with them, just know that they may upset you and you have to be the mature one. Some of the protestors know they can push college students buttons. If they engage you back, be mature and try to have a conversation with them about whatever topic they are speaking about.

Think before engaging the protestors. Ask yourself, “Is this going to be a useful conversation?” If the answer is yes, then go and talk with the protestors, but if the answer is no, keep walking and do not engage with them. The protestors on campus are trying to get you to engage with them so they can tell you why they are right and you are wrong. Do not give them that benefit. Keep walking and pretend the protestors are not on campus.

Collegian writer Tamra Smalewitz can be reached at or on Twitter at @tamrasmalewitz.