On Wednesday, September 23, a group of four extremist Christian protesters showed up on a sidewalk at DePauw University, drawing a crowd and bringing outrage among many students.
The group held signs proclaiming several groups were "going to hell," including members of the LGBT community, women and people who consume alcohol or marijuana.
After a forum yesterday in the university's Ubben Quadrangle brought up issues about feminism, LGBT rights and police brutality, the campus is now wondering what to do next.
Already, students have taken to the street corner to show their support to the groups targeted in the protests.
Students have used rainbow chalk to make statements such as, "Your voice matters," "Love over hate," and "You deserve to be you."
But what if they were to come back?
Tiernan Shank, a junior at DePauw conducted an interview with the leader of the protests on Wednesday, Brother Jed Smock.
According to Shank, Smock and his crew considered the protest a success, threatening to return to campus next week.
Professor David Worthington, with the Department of Communication and Theatre gave his classes a list of strategies for responding to hate speech:
1. Ignore it.
These groups want an audience. Without an audience, they just fade away.
2. Don't take them seriously.
Do you think they speak the truth? If not, then let it go, laugh and walk away. We give them power when we engage in them.
3. Think about what the haters want.
Then do everything in your power not to give it to them.
4. Create counter posters.
You've probably seen signs that say, "I'm with stupid," and "God hates figs." Be creative.
Set up a pledge campaign for the community with pledges to donate to an LGBT cause. Additionally, set out a jar for donations that go to help people escape religious cults. Find your cause.
6. Form a campus-wide statement.
Boulder Run anyone?
7. Make your own signs.
Create a large, sex-positive sign, or anything else that might offer correctiveness to the hatred of the group.
8. Play loud, but good, music.
Bring out the drums and the brass. Mardi-gras parade?
9. Prepare costumes.
When they show up, get in costume and speak your truth. Don't be afraid to go full-on Rocky Horror.
10. Put out signs now.
Create signs that proclaim our opposition to those who would infest our community with hatred.
11. PDA on the sidewalk.
A good old-fashioned kiss-a-thon could suffice.
12. Prepare a response plan.
Greek houses, dorm floors and other housing units should put together a plan for how you will respond the next time they return to campus. Organize.
13. Talk to people.
Let them know that the campus is united against this kind of intrusion and hate. Work with one another. Hell, make it a competition to see who can have the better response.
14. They want anger, give them tranquility.
Students have began using the hashtag #DePauwLove to show their support of each other.
DePauw University President Brian Casey sent out the following statement in an email:
"Dear Members of the DePauw Community,
I write to thank you for both attending yesterday's forum and for expressing yourselves in response to the hateful messages put forth by protestors who came to Greencastle.
As you know, four protesters belonging to the Terre Haute-based group, "Bro. Jed's School of Evangelism," which frequents college campuses in the state of Indiana and around the nation, brought to campus vitriolic comments directed at women, people of faith, the LGBT community, people of color, and Greek-affiliated students, among others.
I write to let you know that I will, in the days ahead, assemble an external group of regional community leaders who will be asked to offer recommendations about the work the University must do itself and with local officials and the Greencastle community to best prepare for incidents such as these.
Given that our campus is interspersed with a number of public roads and sidewalks where freedom of expression is protected, this was not the first, nor will it likely be the last time that demonstrators come to our campus. In the coming days, Vice President for Student Life Christopher Wells and Vice President for Academic Affairs Anne Harris will provide details about campus programs designed to help the community respond to and prepare for possible future events.
I am committed to our continued work together as we seek progress in addressing these difficult and challenging topics.
Brian W. Casey"