UTC Students Should Get A Grip - And Response (5)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

As an alumni of UTC, I can tell you that street preachers have been on campus for years.  This is nothing new.  Usually, the preacher has a little barrier up to keep a distance from the students shuffling off to class.  They also aren't so loud that they disrupt classes.  Sure there is some shouting, but nobody on the fourth floor of Brock Hall is being distracted I can assure you. 

Students are questioning the rights of such people being on campus.  I had the same feelings when the pro-life/pro-choice groups show up.  The lifers have graphic depictions of aborted fetuses on giant poster boards, shouting that life is sacred.  Slug through that and the pro-choice crowd is looking for any ear to bend to call the lifers crazy.  But you know what?  It's a public university.  These people can appear and say anything they want within reason, even if it's not acceptable to the so-called public taste of the students.  Just like how some students wanted prayers before Mocs games gone.  They got their wish.  Why?  It's a public university.  There is give and take.   

If you don't like the preaching, then just plug in those headphones, keep walking, and make it to class early for once.

Billy Thomas


* * * 

I'm also an alumni of UTC and during my two years there I never witnessed any screaming/preaching of this type. I don't know this lady, but she sure has a loud voice and, short of laryngitis, I only pray that a Muslim will soon join her in reading the Quran at a similar volume. Then we'll see how UTC really handles those pesky first amendment rights.  

I do like the idea of students peacefully occupying that public area and discussing literature or topics of the day. 

Also, as far as I know, those same UTC student comments and crude remarks are also protected under the first amendment, so they don't really have to plug in those earphones and keep walking if they choose not to. 

Herb Montgomery

* * *

No, Billy Thomas, what is it you do not understand about a public university, it has to be secular.

It's paid for with my tax money, too, and I don't want no con artist preacher on that campus. It's against the law of separation of church and state.

Donald Woods

* * * 

I think Mr. Thomas makes thoughtful and reasonable points regarding the street preachers on campus.  I have no axe to grind in this issue, but Mr. Wood's response did get a rise out of me.  Apparently, in his mind, public property is no longer a free speech zone as it relates to religion.  Ergo, in Mr. Wood's world parks, streets, sidewalks, and other public property sites should be free of a citizen's Constitutional rights as it relates to religion.  

I suggest that Mr. Woods take a look at the First Amendment and I have included it here.  "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."  

I think the street preachers, regardless of how annoying they may be to some of the students of UTC, are fully protected under at least three elements of the amendment.  It's their Constitution too, Mr. Woods. 

Jim Nelson 

* * * 

I too am an alumni of UTC and I find it very interesting that so many are very concerned about this lady's first amendment rights to what could be essentially described as "hate speech" by many.  However, rights on campus are not a guarantee.   

For example, one's second amendment right is not honored on campus, but let's just forget about that as it's inconvenient to bring up.   

I don't remember having too many, if any, of these street preachers on campus but that's not something that one remembers as these types are easily forgettable.   

Chris Sanders

* * *

To Billy Thomas, who says “nobody on the fourth floor of Brock Hall is being distracted I can assure you.”  Were you there?  My daughter was on the fourth floor of Brock Hall yesterday and her class was disrupted.  

I believe in the freedom of speech, but these students should also have the freedom of sitting in their classes they have paid for and learning without being disrupted by this craziness.  If UTC has to let her practice her freedom, find a place where she won’t be interrupting classes and other campus activities.   

My suggestion was that if there is going to be disruption anyway, maybe the chorus and band members should take turns practicing and give her a little background music. 

Sherry Longley

* * * 

I too am an alumni of UTC.  I was there in the early 70's when the streakers were there.  They really were expressing themselves.  Free speech is right and should be respected even if you don't agree.  I can remember a professor at UTC, Larry Ingle.  He was a gay rights advocate.  He was very colorful and loud on campus.  I did not agree with his ideas.  I heard his rants, but I just ignored him.  He, along with the street preacher, have the right to express themselves on campus.  

I currently pay taxes and tuition that support UTC.  I support the street preacher's right to be there.  If fact, I would like to attend one of her meetings on campus.  

Mike Harvey

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