On-Campus Demonstration Turns Violent


Shannon Harrar & Hal Conte, Centurion Staff

A demonstration by a sign-bearing, purportedly Christian activist sparked a furor at Bucks last Thursday, leading to scuffles between students and police involvement, as well as fears from administrators and student groups about the arrival of a hate speech on the Newtown campus.
According to an email sent to faculty by College President Stephanie Shanblatt, a man entered the courtyard between Grupp Hall and the library around noon bearing a sign strewn with hate speech.
Accompanied by a woman, whom some students suggest may have been his wife, the man held up a sign filled with bizarre and hateful slogans denouncing Muslims, gays and lesbians, along with “Black Lives Matter, baby killers, ankle biters, witches, the Pope, occupational whores, gamers, Obama, and rebellious women.”
A crowd of about 100 students gathered around the protester, according to Liz Marcucci, a student observer. According to Marcucci, “he was just, like standing here, saying bad stuff.”
Students chanted “a–hole” as the protester continued to speak against various groups of people. “Everybody was just getting really upset,” said student Lashe Adams.
The scene turned violent when students began to throw various objects, including a Gatorade bottle, at the protester, and his female cohort threatened to mace nearby students.
Students responded with taunts. “We got in her face and just said, ‘mace us,’” Adams explained.
At some point, the man was reported to have shouted, “all the women should leave,” which riled up the crowd. Several eyewitnesses claim they saw a student attempt to rip the sign down with a knife. However, this could not be confirmed.
The man then allegedly tried to attack the crowd. “He was trying to beat people up, we were right in front of him,” Adams said.
Police immediately advanced and put the man in handcuffs.
Director of safety and security at Bucks, Dennis McCauley, called the police when he heard of the developing unrest.
“This is the first time I’ve seen something like this in my 10 years,” McCauley said.
Although more information about the man could not be disclosed, McCauley did say “he has a viewpoint but I don’t want people to feel he’s a threat.”
“It’s important for students to know they can’t take matters into their own hands,” he stressed. “The main goal was to not let anyone get hurt on either end.”
The incident led to much conversation on campus, with the Secretary of the Student Government Association (SGA), Theodora Dagkli, announcing a “Show of Peace and Unity” to be held at the sight of the protest on Dec. 6 at 1 p.m.
Razin Karu, president of the SGA, also sent an email to faculty praising security personnel for their management of the situation, and declaring “the Bucks SGA condemns the act that targeted various sections of our diverse student body and appreciates the response our students gave to the person.”
Students passing through the courtyard, some of whom did not participate in the incident, were angered by what they saw, with some Christian students expressing dismay at the way the protester was portraying their religion.
“He’s destroying the image of Christianity,” said Ryan Russell. The protester’s sign said “WARNING….OBEY JESUS OR HELLFIRE.”
“I’m a Christian and we’re taught the opposite of what he was saying,” Russell said.
Russell also mentioned that he didn’t recognize any of the Bible verses printed on the sign.
The protester had a link to a website, called Christian Interviews, written on his sign. This website features cult-like materials and its moderators have tweeted lessons on “how to rebuke Harry Potter fans.”
The incident has since been covered in The Intelligencer, as well as in conservative writer J.D. Mullane’s column in the Bucks County Courier Times. A video of the protest was posted on YouTube and has garnered over 800 views as of Tuesday.