OPINION: Petitioners and solicitors on campus don’t all deserve your time


Gabriel Ionica - The State Hornet

Sacramento State engineering major Slavik Chiley, far right, talks about his religious views in front of a crowd in the Library Quad on Sept. 27.

Gabriel Ionica

Students at Sacramento State are bombarded daily by requests from petitioners or religious promoters. Whether it’s requests to sign petitions or the more recent “Bible-thumper” in the quad, it might be hard for some to resist the feeling that you owe them your time.

The truth is that you don’t. These solicitors are very much aware that some people are simply going to pass them by. It is a college campus after all, people are busy trying to get things done. You may feel like you’re being rude by ignoring them, but that’s the nature of their job, and they should be prepared for less-than-friendly responses.

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It seems like some solicitors thrive on attention from students who get offended by their opinions. Without an audience, there’s no one for them to yell at. So as odd as it sounds, the best way to deal with this particular problem is to ignore it.

For example, there’s the Bible-thumper in the quad. Every Wednesday he occupies the quad holding a “Repent or Perish” sign while yelling about how “God hates gays”. As much as you might want to stop and yell your heart out at his pure ignorance, you would be encouraging him to come do this even more because he sees people are reacting to his nonsense.

To further cement the point of his attention hunger, the sign pole he holds has a GoPro casually attached below the actual sign. This could mean a number of things ranging from him doing it to entertain himself or maybe even to entertain someone else.

Freshman Marcus Hollifield-Helm felt strongly enough about the people entertaining Bible bro that he stood right next to him just to tell everyone to leave and not waste their time.

“When there’s this crowd of people watching and listening to him, what he’s saying has an audience, Hollifield-Helm said. If he’s just talking to nobody, his words don’t have power. Even then, people infringing on his speech is just as bad as what he has to say.”

Freshman Jonathan Adame agrees with Hollifield-Helm and argues that if people do take time to listen and comment on what Bible bro says, which they shouldn’t, they should do so logically instead of insulting him.

“The more you don’t attempt to defeat him with logic, you’re just feeding and empowering him, Adame said. If you walk downtown, and you see a guy yelling crazy things, you don’t surround him and listen to what he has to say. You simply walk away.”

What are some ways to completely avoid campus solicitors? Some methods that always seem to work for me are pretending to be on your phone or wearing headphones. If someone asks you to sign something, but you don’t want to entirely ignore them, a simple “no thank you” as you  walk by will suffice.

Your time is precious, and you shouldn’t feel forced to spend it on people with whom you completely disagree or who downright offend you. Remember, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.