An anti-hate protest regarding recent hate crimes on campus occurred in the CUB circle on Friday, Nov. 5.
This event was organized by Stephanie Macinnes, a sophomore with a double major in philosophy and political science and a minor in biology, who provided plenty of reasons why the protest occurred. Said Macinnes, “It partially had to [do with] the email, the poster being defamed, and what happened on Saturday [Oct. 30 – the night that a student apparently used homophobic slurs against another student], but it doesn’t all have to do with that. It’s just to show [that] us students aren’t going to tolerate what happened. Students say they’re not homophobic and not racist, yet when things like this happen around them, they don’t do anything.”
About 75 students and faculty members attended the protest, including President Dr. Wendy Libby, Vice President of Campus Life Rina Tovar, and Dr. Skeleton. Picket signs were made before and during the protest with the words “I Protested Hate Today.” Stickers with the same phrase on them were provided along with petitions for mandatory diversity and sensitivity training for faculty, staff, FOCUS leaders, Greek life, athletes, and various other organizations on campus.
Derek Jansante, a senior with a management major and marketing minor, was one of the few people who helped plan the protest with Macinnes. When asked whether or not the cause was worth the fight, Jansante said, “Any cause to fight discrimination is absolutely worth the time. Not only was it to fight hate, but to stop apathy, i.e. not stopping discrimination when you see it.”
Libby agrees. “Providing an inclusive and safe learning environment is always worth our efforts,” said Libby.
Some, however, had mixed feelings about the protest. Samantha Danfora, a junior majoring in international business while minoring in Russian language, said, “The idea of a demonstration on behalf of stopping discrimination was well thought out but was executed poorly…it got people aware of some of the problems on campus.”
When asked if she had any additional comments, Macinnes replied, “Sig Ep [Sigma Phi Epsilon] feels targeted by the protest and I just want everyone to know that I like Sig Ep and a lot of the members in Sig Ep. The idea was to get everyone who felt discriminated to get involved and if people felt targeted, they should have come to me and I would have told them the purpose.”