Controversial speech in the heart of campus on Thursday

Brody Pierce & Ryan Mezera

Protesters outside the MSC on Thursday, Oct. 21 / Brody Pierce

Political and social unrest ensued on Thursday when a Protestant man protested controversial beliefs outside of the Memorial Student Center.

A Protestant man brought a sign to campus professing that those of some communities, such as the LGBTQ+ community, “are going to hell,” along with other terms that were shouted by the man himself. Comments of discrimination were also reported to be occurring, according to bystanders.

In response to the sign and the man’s preaching, a group of LGBTQ+ community members came out to protest the man for his hate speech with chants rising from the crowd.

“Leave our campus.” Students and bystanders shouted.

Around 1:30 p.m., a separate group of Stout students stood on the other side of Third Street E. holding Trump signs and flags.

Brody Pierce

“The original intent of the protest was toward the man with the sign,” said Nicole Eastman, program coordinator for the Qube.

The man stayed out front of the MSC from 10:30 a.m. to around 4:30 p.m. He proclaimed he would return on the following day.

Law allows the use of free speech within the public sphere and while the man was on campus property, he remained on the public sidewalk; thus, campus officials had no authority to intervene.

At a meeting later that day arranged by Dominique Vargas, the interim executive director of equity, diversity and inclusion, which was set up in support for the LGBTQ+ community and those affected by the day’s events, students voiced their concerns for the safety of the campus itself.

Administration and the Qube are currently working together to help provide support for those within the LGBTQ+ community and to those affected by the protest. Those concerned can reach out to the Qube for further support along with other on-campus support at these extensions:

The Qube (LGBTQIA+ Resource Center) – 121 Price Commons | eastmanni@uwstout.edu |715.232.5471

Multicultural Student Services – 132 Price Commons | mss@uwstout.edu |715.232.1381

Student Support Services – 310 Bowman Hall | sss@uwstout.edu | 715.232.5180