Students Advised to Keep Their Cool if Pastor Aden Returns

Shaun Grace, Centurion Staff

It is without a doubt that nearly everyone that is a part of the community here at Bucks has been outraged by the presence of Pastor Aden at one time or another. For those who do not know him, Pastor Aden is a purportedly Christian right-wing extremist who comes to our campus every so often and shouts obscenities at students. Flanked by security officials, students and faculty often have no choice but to listen to him as they make their way through campus.
While some keep to themselves on the matter, others have railed against the reactionary speaker. Students campus-wide are often outraged at the obscene nature of Pastor Aden’s teachings. Erin Smith, 20, a communications major from Feasterville, stated that although she does not fall into the specific groups Pastor Aden condemns, she is still “really bothered” by his presence on campus. Smith’s views seem to be the general consensus among students.
Recently, college president Stephanie Shanblatt sent out a school-wide email explaining the school’s stance on the topic. In this email, explained that although the school has not personally invited Pastor Aden and his clergy, that it is their first amendment right to be present. Due to the fact that Bucks is a public institution, he is allowed to set up his protest with the appropriate armed guards.
In reference to how students should react, Shanblatt stated: “Remember that your physical and emotional safety, or risks associated with attempting to engage with him, are paramount to me and other college leaders. I want to remind you that should you be provoked to respond physically, you likely will be arrested and charged. This could have a detrimental effect on your future, so please be careful and thoughtful about your behavior.”
After reaching out to President Shanblatt, she followed up on her wishes for when Pastor Aden visits. “It is my sincere hope that students never feel unsafe coming to Bucks,” Shanblatt said. “If they are concerned about Pastor Aden, the most meaningful step is to avoid him and certainly not engage with him.”
It is truly sad that students cannot even get to class without having to hear hate speech in the main area. But that is why we should not engage Pastor Aden. The more power you give him, the more Aden will want to come back. An offended reaction is exactly what he wants, so keep to yourself and go to class just as if it was a normal day. Together we as a student body can make a difference and peacefully protest hate.