Freedom of speech abused by campus visitors

Chanel Saidi

Every semester, students are bombarded by the in-your-face religious extremists who visit our campus letting us know we will burn in Hell for our sins.

Video: Religious extremists on campus.

Being a person who has always been the first to defend people’s right to exercise their first amendment rights, this group of sexist-religious zealots has taken their rights a step too far.

Standing along the path from the Library Quad to the University Union, students were disrupted on Jan. 31 from their daily routine of trying to get to class on time.

The First Amendment clearly states one is allowed to practice freedom of speech so long as he or she assembles in a peaceful manner. This group of men has repeatedly aggravated students and disrupted their ability to attend their classes without being berated by people who do not even attend Sacramento State.

Administration should uphold all visitors to this campus to the same standards students are held to in the University Policy Manual. Students who break any of these codes can face consequences as severe as expulsion. If we have to pay thousands of dollars to attend this university with these codes, why shouldn’t visitors to this campus be held to them as well? The rules against harassing and belittling other students are as follows.

“Conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person within or related to the University community, including physical abuse, threats, intimidation, harassment, or sexual misconduct,” Title 5, Article 2 of the Student Conduct Manual reads.

The majority of us just walk by as if they were the most uninteresting animals at the zoo, however, some students cannot silently pass this group of men. The angry words and opinions these religious zealots bring to campus can be seriously harmful to students who are dealing with some of the topics the group of men is yelling about.

“Every religious organization absolutely has the right to demonstrate, but the reason I do not agree with them is how they are using threats and telling us what we are doing is wrong,” said sophomore history major Lauren Gorfinkle. “It is very detrimental and they are being almost violent in a way.”

The Jan. 31 disruption caused University Police to come to the scene in order to clear the walkway leading to the Union as riled up students gathered round the men who were there to spout stupidity to the listeners. The student conduct manual under Title 5, Article 2 also states the obstruction of the free flow of traffic on campus by any group of people is against code.

My attention was drawn to a particular woman who sat quietly with a sign that sent a stronger message than the boisterous men that stood before her. It read, “If God is LOVE why is this guy so full of hatred?” The group’s need to openly mock someone who clearly stood for the same cause just in a manner that promoted love rather than hate was astonishing.

“I’m here because they are doing it wrong,” said senior history major Vanessa Madrigal. “They are just spreading hatred and God’s message is about love.”

Exercising one’s right to freedom of speech is good, but when someone starts to infringe upon the rights of others, it seems to bend the rights written in the Constitution, which this group of men used to defend their actions. Their hurtful and spiteful comments work against what our campus administrators and faculty promote through our mission statement.

Our campus mission statement is a simple one. It states, as our school is richly diverse in nature the campus mission is to create unity among all campus members.

“As such, the university is committed to fostering in all its members a sense of inclusiveness, respect for human differences, and concern for others,” states our schools mission statement.

According to these men, women who are going to college in order to attain a higher degree of knowledge are to burn in Hell. If that is the case sign me up, because I don’t believe God would punish people who are in the pursuit of bettering themselves. Educated women are essential to society and are no longer considered subpar citizens.

Who the hell do these guys think they are anyway? They are not the ones who will determine our fate if there is really an afterlife and we all survive 2012.

For now we can rest assured knowing when we do all die, this group of men will not be the bouncers who let us know whether we have made the list or not.

Chanel Saidi can be reached at [email protected]