The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

    Stella: Stop giving the campus preachers what they want — a crowd

    Michael Stella, Collegian Columnist

    Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

    The campus preachers have already been out on The Plaza within the first two weeks of school, spewing their nonsensical and hate-filled rhetoric as they have the last few academic years. That means the massive crowds of students surrounding the so-called preachers have also returned, which is exactly the problem. 

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    The campus preachers — a loose and dishonest nickname given to people who think they are accurately depicting the word of God when they are doing quite the opposite — can only survive on campus with the attention of students.

    Colorado State University is a public institution. This university is built upon land that was given to us by the federal government after it was improperly seized from the Native Americans who lived here. The point is that as a public university, we cannot deny people access to the campus. It would go against the First Amendment.

    Free speech on the CSU campus is a proud tradition, and it is something students should be proud of. The Stump in the Lory Student Center Plaza is a shining example of free speech, although it would be nice if it was utilized more often.

    As Americans in general, we seem to have forgotten how to have productive and meaningful debates about social and political issues. Far too often, the younger generations of Americans especially fall for the trap of trying to rationalize with irrational people.

    The folks who come to campus to spew homophobic rhetoric are not individuals who can be reasoned with. Period. And no attempts at discourse — civil or otherwise — should be attempted.

    “In the same way a fire needs fuel to grow, if we do not provide the fuel to the preachers, their agenda will die out — as it should.”

    Instead, these hateful individuals who are trying to spread an ideology inconsistent with their own religion need to be ignored. Do not give in and give them the attention they so desperately crave. 

    It can be hard to walk by someone who is degrading and outright hateful to minority groups of the CSU population. As Americans and humans in general, we must always be there for those who are targets of discrimination and hate from those of advantaged places.

    When massive groups of students form to heckle the campus preachers — a treatment they certainly deserve — the preachers win. They gain the advantage.

    What if they were ignored by every single student who walked by? What if they came to CSU for weeks on end and no one paid an ounce of attention to them?

    If this was the reception they received every time they stepped foot on this campus, most students would have no idea who they are. They would have no audience and no platform to disseminate their hateful speech. 

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    In the same way a fire needs fuel to grow, if we do not provide the fuel to the preachers, their agenda will die out — as it should. 

    There is no place for the wannabe preachers and their backward, discriminatory speech, but as long as CSU stays a public school, the student population needs to find an effective alternative to crowding the preachers. 

    It is the same human behavior that occurs when you see a car crash on the side of the road and want to slow down and see what happened: When there is a mass of students gathered on the LSC Plaza, more are certain to join.

    As more and more curious students pass, the compounding effect goes into full force, and the preachers have exactly what they crave: a clergy to preach to.

    Reach Michael Stella at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @Michaelstella_.

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