EDITORIAL: Protect Your Students, Not Hate Speech

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Published February 2, 2022
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The Montclarion
Mackenzie Reeves-Mason | The Montclarion

​​Montclair State University students were surprised with the return of radical self-professed Christian protestors in front of the Student Center. Nice surprises are birthday celebrations or a pizza party when you are eight years old, not men and women holding signs saying you are going to Hell.

The protest by the Key of David Christian Center caused quite the disruption. Members of the group yelled at students for hours trying to provoke a response, and the noise could be heard from the other side of campus.

Many of those students identify with groups that were included in the Key of David Christian Center’s large list of people who are “doomed to Hellfire.” They called out Muslims, the LGBTQIA+ community, feminists, gamers, emos and many other completely arbitrary identities.

Some students found amusement in the signs’ ridiculous persecution of “mama’s boys” and “women MMA fighters.” Others were subjected to the same cruelty they have faced their entire lives.

Gladly, most students laughed it off and retaliated by chanting “Krusty Krab is unfair” in mockery of the extremist group. The issue remains that these people were not only allowed on campus but were protected by campus police.

Where was the protection for Noor Alalwan, a freshman psychology major, who was pointed at and told “Muslims are going to Hell” by protestor Pastor Aden Rusfeldt?

Students were subjected to hours of yelling by two male protestors calling women “whores” and saying they are “more likely to get an STD than a Ph.D. at Montclair [State].”

People choose to attend Montclair State because they believe it’s an institution they can further their education in and because they trust the university to get them ahead in life. The university, on the other hand, repays students by allowing these horrid humans to blatantly discredit all the hard work women and other groups these protestors deem worthy of damnation have put in at our school.

Montclair State describes itself as “…an inclusive, richly diverse community that fosters mutual respect, tolerance and understanding among all students and employees.” It’s true the university offers access to many resources, clubs and support for all students, but then why do they also welcome hate groups to spit appalling prejudice to their students?

Students of Montclair State cannot thrive in an environment where they feel unsafe and targeted by hatred.

It is understood everyone has the freedom of speech, and that technically hate speech is protected under the First Amendment, but students also have the right to feel safe and accepted on the campus they pay thousands of dollars to attend.

Public campus or not, hate speech and harassment can be illegal. If Montclair State really wanted to show their support for their students, they would take action.

The American Civil Liberties Union, a nonprofit organization founded “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States,” claims that “at the same time, freedom of speech does not prevent punishing conduct that intimidates, harasses or threatens another person, even if words are used.”

The Key of David Christian Center’s vile words has the power to reinforce any hatred already brewing and encourage others to treat people inhumanely.

The Holocaust Center for Humanity provides lessons on the Pyramid of Hate. The pyramid starts at the base with biased attitudes, then escalates to biased actions and discrimination, and progresses to violence. After violence, genocide begins.

With that in mind, clearly, the key of David Christian Center should not be tolerated by the university any longer, and those protestors should face the repercussions of their actions.

Montclair State, this is a call to end the years of harassment students face on your campus and stand up to hate speech.

If you or a loved one was subjected to a hate crime, please look at the United States Department of Justice’s resources on how to report and prevent a hate crime.

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