Rowan University Students Unify Against Hate Speech During Thursday Protest

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By: Kevin Howard

A group of demonstrators holding anti-gay signs picketed at Rowan University which caused a large group of students to counterprotest.

The protest happened on Thursday, April 4th at Rowan University’s Glassboro campus in front of the Student Center. A counterprotest of students quickly responded to the small group of protesters.

According to thewhitonline.com, Rowan University’s student-run news publication, the demonstrators were led by Aden Rusfeldt, who is known for drawing large protests with his hateful rhetoric.

The protesters were seen holding signs saying that “Warning: homos, whores, porno freaks…Muslims, drunks…obey Jesus or hellfire.” They also wore clothing with anti-gay and anti-women sayings.

6abc.com reported that two students were arrested for throwing sodas at the protesters.

Glassboro Police and Rowan campus security were at the protest and barricaded the anti-gay demonstrators by the university’s library.

Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University released a statement on social media (see below) during the protest, saying that while the university is obligated to allow the “freedom of expression,” it does not agree with any kind of hate speech.

“Rowan is obligated as a public institution to allow freedom of expression, but we do not endorse or condone hate speech in any form,” said Houshmand.

Student Government Association President Rbrey Duane Singleton also released a statement on social media saying he is proud of Rowan for sending out a message of love during the demonstration.

“We’ve been standing in the face of hate today, and many in our community have been standing against hate their entire lives,” said Singleton. “Let’s be bigger and turn our backs to hate. If we don’t give prejudice and bigotry our attention or power, it WILL leave. Let’s continue to spread love, inclusivity and pride everywhere we do, on and off campus.”

Houshmand expressed praise to Rowan students, faculty, and staff for standing up against hate.

“I applaud the efforts of students, faculty and staff who daily make visible out dedication to a welcoming and supportive campus,” said Houshmand. ” Today, many of us had the opportunity to stand against hate. I am proud of who we are.”

– Photos courtesy of Miguel Martinez, Multimedia Editor for The Whit


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