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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star




The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Defend the First, don’t pervert it

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The Main Point is an opinion written collectively by The University Star’s Editorial Board. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of our entire publication.

The First Amendment, as integral as it is to our democracy and morality, must not be used as a springboard for responding with equally-sensationalized actions toward provocative public speakers.
Students are held captive by ridiculous claims that are intended to offend and incite a negative reaction on public college campuses across the nation. The reactionary impulses from society serve to give attention to those who hunger for it and only ensures the cycle continues.
People must recognize that verbal affronts merit a strictly verbal response, nothing more.
On Feb. 12 Texas State students fell victim to brash reactionary conduct with the infamous Sister Cindy and Brother Jed. The pair are two of many regular campus disturbances who thrive on students’ reactions to their absurd claims in hopes of gaining attention and inciting rash behavior.
In elementary school, students were told, ‘if you ignore your bully, they’ll stop bullying you.’ The same concept applies to this situation. If students were to pay no attention to Sister Cindy and advocates like herself, they would find their efforts at Texas State unrewarding and would not return to campus.
Texas State students should refrain from reciprocating irrational behavior when faced with inflammatory campus visitors. Instead of engaging in a one-sided dialogue with these public provocateurs, who will not change their beliefs, students should minimize their reactions in an effort to prevent their eventual return.
Some students take it upon themselves to debate the logic of the claims made by Sister Cindy and Brother Jed in an attempt to open or change their minds, but this practice proves to be pointless.
Other students resort to more belligerent behavior by angrily shouting, mocking and harassing the visitor. A few students even decided that stripping down to their underwear was an appropriate reaction. This unacceptable behavior only serves to reinvigorate and reinforce her campaign as a “campus evangelist.”
Another recent example of adverse discourse in protesting on public universities is the”Kent State Gun Girl” Kaitlin Bennet’s recent visit to Ohio State University, provoking seemingly universal rejection from students.
Students’ fervor in reaction to Bennet would be understandable if not for what garnered the situation national attention—Bennet was struck with rolls of toilet paper, doused in discarded beverages and berated with expletives for simply asking students questions.
Bennet undoubtedly asks these questions to provoke the public, not to hear out the answer. However, anyone that holds the First Amendment in high esteem should understand that verbal altercations are just that—verbal.
These students’ behavior, while gratifying in the short-term for those who know of Bennet and her abhorrent content, must be criticized for its self-defeating nature.
Know this—provocateurs like Bennet are fueled by these extreme reactions. The attention they receive feeds their views, likes, retweets and shares; it cements their longevity in their circles. To react with physical force, like those at Ohio State, is to ensure their return.
In fact, Bennet has sworn to return to Ohio State with gun-wielding open carry activists. Additionally, she netted over 55,000 followers on Twitter only days after the Feb. 17 incident.
Ironically, the negative outcry from Ohio State students gave Bennet exactly what she craves—a platform.
The students who engage with visitors like Sister Cindy and Kaitlin Bennet get unnecessarily upset during their interaction. No one’s beliefs or mindset will be altered after their interaction, so any dialogue exchange ends up being completely worthless.
As long as students continue to react in hate and reciprocate hate, they will directly support the return of the self-claimed advocates and their outrageous statements.
Texas State and other public campus grounds are required to give Americans the right to speak on any platform they deem desirable; that privilege is upheld and defended by the First Amendment.
Unless the concept of peaceful assembly is respected, the cycle of hate will never end.

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