Conflict erupts over Jesus Saves from Hell banner in the Quad

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Two men in the Quad hoisting their banner of Jesus Saves from Hell.
(Noah Biesiada / Daily Titan)

A crowd of students congregated in the Quad to protest two men that came on campus with a banner that read “Jesus Saves from Hell!” yesterday.

The two religious advocates came on campus at around noon and began to disperse at around three in the afternoon. A large group of students congregated around them for several hours to discuss and protest their sign, which condemned groups including witches, yoga pants, Muslims and feminists  to “eternal damnation”.

A line of faculty from the Student Life and Leadership office stood between the crowd and the advocates to ensure no violence occurred, including Interim Director Tony Pang.

Student Life and Leadership usually send someone to monitor such situations, said Scot Willey, Captain of the University Police Department. The members from Student Life and Leadership were unable to be reached for comment.

Several students were extremely vocal, screaming profanities at the two men and calling them “racist”, “anti-feminist” and a variety of other swears.

The men were repeatedly challenged on their Biblical knowledge, and both sides relentlessly insulted one another, with one of the men saying that if their parents knew about what they were doing, they would be ashamed of them.

According to officers on scene, the crowd fluctuated between around 40-100 people throughout the day, until the advocates chose to move out from the middle of the crowd, yelling out for any one who wanted to discuss to follow them. Except for a handful of students, the crowd didn’t move.  

After that, the rest of the crowd was broken up with encouragement from several faculty, advising the students to go study and register to vote.

“They were personally attacking people, one girl was called fat multiple times,” said Colbi Roy, a freshman psychology major who saw part of the conflict. “He was telling people that they didn’t have dads (and) that their fathers were alcoholics and that their parents didn’t love them.”

While these groups are regularly on campus, there aren’t many options for the University Police Department to stop them, according to Willey.

“I would say they’re here probably once a week,” Willey said. “Free speech is allowed unless there is imminent violence.”

Ian Baker, a freshman criminal justice major, said that he supports the the 1st Amendment.

“That’s not stuff that needs to be talked about especially on a college campus. I agree they can spread whatever message they want, we don’t have to agree with it, but it’s not something they need to get into argument and altercations with students,” Baker said.

The younger of the two men, who identified himself only as Dean, said that he has participated in similar demonstrations for the last 6 years.

“Today was very normal,” Dean said. “Every campus is different. Everyday is different. Sometimes people want to be more vocal, sometimes nobody shows up.”

Willey also shared his views on the best way to deal with the various protestors and activists that find their way on campus based on his experience at both CSU Long Beach and Fullerton.

“I’ll tell the students here the same thing I’ve told them for 12 years over there (CSU Long Beach) which is just keep moving,” Willey said. “We have to be smarter than these guys and we’re not. we keep stopping and giving them this huge crowd and that can sometimes lead to violence.”

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