A speaker carrying signs that read “Homo sex is a god damned sin” and “Abortion is a god damned sin” drew crowds to the free speech lawn on Wednesday and resulted in 50 incident reports submitted to Student Life and Development.
Julie Potter from KBeach radio collected the signed reports and submitted them yesterday afternoon.
“I feel like he [the speaker] crossed the line,” Potter said. “It’s self-love week, and he’s spreading all this hate.”
The speaker was wearing a badge labeled Mitchell Howard but identified himself as Paul Mitchell.
A crowd of students gathered around Mitchell and argued about his views, which included that “those who don’t believe in Christianity are idiots.”
“I saw students yelling and screaming at him,” said Rodrigo Rubi, a freshman pre-biology major.
Potter said she thought the Mitchell was enjoying the confrontation and dared her to get him off campus. She said he was personally attacking students, being extremely sexist toward female students and targeting homosexuals.
Potter said the crowd clapped in response to two male students who kissed in front of Mitchell.
Equity and Diversity Director Larisa Hamada said that complaints of this nature would be considered under Executive Order 1074, which deals with discrimination against students and employees based on any protected status.
“An individual cannot come up to a student and specifically target them,” Hamada said.
If a public person comes onto campus and offends a protected group, students can strongly disagree and file a complaint, she said.
Mitchell, however, said he had a right to share his thoughts on campus.
“Go read the free speech laws, and if you can’t get it from that, go to the Supreme Court decision and learn what it is to be an American,” Mitchell said. He said that he was a “teacher of the bible” who goes to colleges and events involving a lot of people. He said he was planning to return to the campus the next day.
Mitchell called his preaching “tough love.”
“Daddy’s here now, not mommy,” he said.
Many students engaged with Mitchell and not everyone complained or felt offended.
“He’s been relatively respectful from what I’ve seen,” senior film major Travis Savacal-Martin said. “I think he has a right to be here, just like anyone else does.”
Hamada said complaints would be managed on a case-by-case basis, depending on the complaints and if a university policy has been violated, to determine whether action should be taken.
If students have complaints about discrimination, they can contact Hamada at [email protected].
Julio Tejeda contributed to this report.