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Articles by Brian Jackson

An Open Letter to Wright State University

15 June 2008

Over the course of the spring quarter at Wright State, there have been a number of street preachers on the campus preaching eternal condemnation to everyone for any number of reasons including, but not limited to, being in a fraternity, drinking, and being an English literature major. These street preachers have become known as "quad gods", and no one wants anything to do with them. During the week of June 2, one of them deliberately stepped on the hand of a protester, sparking heated debate over what should be done about the quad gods.

The following is from an open letter I sent to the university on Wednesday, June 11:

In recent weeks, the quad gods have stirred up no small amount of controversy in the student body. Their tirades, sold with exaggerated body language and science-fiction-sounding terminology, have offended all kinds of people, drawing crowds of hecklers and disgusted onlookers, as well as protesters with signs, amused passersby, and police officers.

Some have suggested that the so-called hate speech coming from the quad gods is reason enough to employ judicial powers to eject them from the campus.

The question, then, is what defines hate speech?

Is it that the student body at large disagrees with the talking points put forward by these speakers? There are organizations on campus that hold opposing ideas as central philosophies: the Democrats and Republicans, to give one example. It's a dangerous, dangerous idea to label whatever ideas we disagree with as hate speech.

I would encourage the office of judicial affairs, the campus police, and the president of the university to be very careful in how they employ their authority. Even though the quad gods hold a Bible in one hand while speaking, they don't represent the kind of Christians I've encountered at Wright State in the past: the Chi Alphas at their prayer table or the Campus Bible Fellowship representatives answering questions in the Hangar. There must be a great deal of care taken in dealing with the vocal, spiteful parties so as to avoid disturbing the legitimate practice of any religious organization on campus.

And if the quad gods step on any more hands, I hope they get the book thrown at them.


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