Student preacher draws crowds with controversial remarks


Will Moon - The State Hornet

Sacramento State engineering major Slavik Chiley discusses his religious views. He spoke against issues including pornography and marijuana and called women who wear yoga pants ‘whores.’

Will Moon

Among the shouting and snickering of students taking pictures, passersby in the Sacramento State Library Quad Sept. 20 saw a black sign with painted flames that read: “Repent or perish.”

Engineering major Slavik Chiley, a student driver on the Hornet Shuttle Gold Line bus employed by University Transportation and Parking Services (UTAPS), preaches weekly at Sac State. His conspicuous religious signs have attracted crowds of hundreds and frequent vocal opposition.

“I do say things that are sharp that people find offensive,” Chiley said. “But I believe they’re true. I don’t believe in violence.”  

Chiley wore a neon green sweatshirt reading “flee from the wrath to come” on Sept. 27. He held a sign reading: “Warning, repent. It’s not too late.” It also featured symbols condemning alcohol, homosexuality, pornography and the nonprofit organization Coexist, which advocates for an end to conflict between major world religions.

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He called women who wear yoga pants, short shorts and tank tops “whores” and said that men who look at them were “fornicators, lusters and adulterers.” The preacher also spoke against college classes related to human sexuality, gender and ethnic studies.  He said they should not be allowed and are “raping your mind” with immoral teachings.

Chiley, who said he is a Trinitarian Pentecostal Christian, was joined by Braxton Sheehy, an Evangelical Christian and home alarm system salesman. Sheehy said he is not paid to preach at Sac State nor part of a group with Chiley.

Chiley said he preaches on campus to share his religious beliefs, and Sheehy noted the crowds attracted by Chiley’s tactics.

Senior mechanical engineering major Derric Allen said he thinks preachers like Chiley should not be allowed to continue speaking on campus because of the conflict it creates.

“This is a place of learning, and religion — especially in the way that they speak about their opinion — causes a problem,” Allen said. “They have a goal set in mind, and they’re trying to push that idea onto people that really don’t necessarily (agree).”   

President Robert Nelsen sent an email to the campus community Sept. 29 supporting the free speech rights of students, faculty, staff and coaches on campus. It remains unclear whether Nelsen was addressing Chiley and preachers on campus specifically.

“While some may not fully understand or agree with the reasoning behind actions taken, we will not restrict the First Amendment rights of those who peacefully protest or speak out,” Nelsen’s email read. “We will not tolerate retaliation against those who choose to peacefully protest.”

The University’s policy for time, place and manner restrictions on speech and speech-related activities states that freedom of expression activities are restricted inside parking lots and structures, university buildings, and within 20 feet of any location where instructional or official business takes place.

The policy also states the Library Quad is among acceptable and popular locations for free speech, and any such activity may not interfere with or obstruct the free flow of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

The pathway between Santa Clara Hall and the Library Quad was congested with students around noon on Sept. 20, as some students stopped to watch others argue with Chiley.  Some students were forced to walk on the grass to avoid the crowd.

“Sometimes (the preachers) scream so loud that it’ll go through my headphones, and I’m just like, ‘really dude?’ ” said senior communication studies major Nelson Rodriguez. “Everyone has a right to their own opinion, I just prefer not to listen to them because I’ve got a million other things to worry about.”

Senior computer science major Ryan Pierce was among those listening to Chiley on Sept. 27 and said he thought the preacher was attacking people more than trying to invoke people to follow his religion.

“He said God gave him the divine right to judge people, and so he can judge people, but other people cannot judge him,” Pierce said “He always says he uses the Bible for references and then maybe do like one passage or phrase and then try to go off on other testimonies, but he can’t back up his sources at all — he’s not credible.”

Junior psychology major Melissa Smith said she believes anyone has the right to share their religious views on campus but disagrees with the methods of preachers like Chiley.

“It would be better if we could have a conversation about it instead of somebody being on a soapbox and telling us what we should think,” Smith said.