By Sami Dugdale
Blog Content Contributor
Texas State University is a community known for its diverse student and faculty population, with 50 percent of its students coming from ethnic minorities. We value these differences in culture, religion, gender, sexuality and other characteristics with pride. This campus has committed a “no hate” policy.
On Monday, Sept. 11, a middle-aged man came into the quad around 10 a.m. and remained there until around 5 p.m. He stood at the stallion statue with a Bible in his hand and spoke to the students about God and his beliefs on a wide range of topics.
According to Texas State freshman, Emma Carlson, the unknown man gave a passionate speech, making claims such as “homosexuals are going to hell”, “abortion is murder”, “liberalism is a mental disorder”, and “the black lives matter movement isn’t important.”
He spoke about each issue, and provided Biblical references behind some of them. Then he waited for students to respond so that he could debate with them.
“One girl tried to nicely tell him that there are better ways to preach, and he told her that he didn’t have to listen to her because she’s a woman.” Jessie Bonner, Texas State freshman, said.
“This is the issue,” the man said, “God commands man to preach the gospel.”
Students had various reactions to the man’s bold words. Some held pride flags behind him as he spoke, some peacefully debated with the him and presented their arguments against what he was saying. One student even held different thought bubbles above the man’s head that read comedic statements like “I hope they don’t notice I’m balding.”
However, it should be pointed out that a handful of students went slightly beyond “a respectful debate.” Some students became so angry that they forgot how to appropriately handle the situation.
“Some students did react in an inappropriate manner, yelling curse words at the man and calling him names instead of having a proper debate,” said Carlson.
Freedom of speech is highly encouraged in the Texas State community, but that also means that we must know how to react appropriately when we disagree with the words or actions of others. To be effective debaters and communicators, we must support our side of an argument and listen to what the other person has to say with patience and respect.
Texas State continues to be a rich, diverse community full of strong-minded people that welcome those of different backgrounds, and its students and faculty have no tolerance for hatred. Overall, the student population handled the situation very well, and did a good job of representing the core values of Texas State. With such a diverse population, there will be disagreements on a variety of topics, and it is the student’s responsibility to argue their position and listen to other side with respect in order to be an effective communicator.
Featured image by Justin Manor.