SVSU has a responsibility to create a welcoming and safe environment for students, and the Created Equal event on Friday, Oct. 11, was a massive violation.
For starters, students were not notified by the university that this event would be taking place.
It was not announced until the night before on MLive and quickly began circulating on Facebook.
I understand that the university has to allow everyone a voice, and I will always be proudly pro-choice, but this group is clearly made up of extremists who have no place on SVSU’s campus.
Created Equal had people at every corner of the main courtyard on campus, so it was almost impossible to avoid them.
Additionally, they had footage of an abortion on a Jumbotron.
“I feel that we should have gotten an advancement on what was going on,” said Kim Fletcher, a history education freshman. “We talked to a lot of (sexual assault) survivors that had to see this, and it hurt a lot of them.”
Fletcher said the guests with Created Equal were incredibly rude to students.
“People would be on the phone or have headphones in, and they would stop them and say, ‘Take this brochure,’ and people would say, ‘I’m not very comfortable,’ and they kept pressuring and pressuring,” she said.
“We’re walking around, and they start following us, shouting stuff at us, like ‘You think it’s OK to murder,’ and we’re just walking and not saying anything,” said MiDori Budd, an elementary education freshman.
There were a number of graphic images displayed.
“There was one image in particular of them comparing a child’s hand to a crayon, and then they started poking the fetus with a crayon, which made me wonder if these were real, because you’re not gonna poke a fetus with a crayon,” Budd said.
This group also was condemning gay people and saying that they go to hell.
“We all understand that everyone has an opinion… but when they start getting ignorant and bringing racism into it, and telling people they aren’t American so their opinions don’t matter, or (say that) being gay is wrong, it’s sickening,” said Rae Holston, an English education freshman.
One of the other problems with this organization’s event was that it was on a day where there were several high school tour groups visiting.
“I got upset because the administration of the school knew about this event, and no students were warned beforehand,” said Dylan Konarzewski, a social work fifth-year. “I’m a tour guide on campus, and we had to have heads of admissions tell all of our guests about the event. Prospective families don’t need to see that.”
Konarzewski said that Created Equal members were verbally harassing students in order to start conversations.
“My friend Mo and I were silently protesting by doing laps around the courtyard with our posters,” he said. “They forced us into a fifteen minute conversation, which we tried to leave multiple times, but they pretty much followed you around.”
I believe that there are so many things wrong with this event.
First, students should have been notified in advance that it would be
happening, and given extra notification that there would be graphic footage which may be upsetting for some.
Second, it should not have been held when tour groups were visiting.
I know that if I toured a college and an event like this was happening, I would immediately rule it out.
Additionally, they should not have been bothering people who clearly didn’t want to talk, or trying to bait people into conversations and following them.
That is a clear violation of personal space.
I also find it appalling how they disrespected sexual assault survivors and the LGBT community.
This campus is supposed to include everyone, and this group certainly didn’t make many feel welcome or safe.
Several friends and I have contacted the ombudsmen and Student Life to voice our opinions on this appalling event, and I would encourage anyone reading this to, as well.
The Social Justice Rapid Response team is also planning events to counter this one.
Those interested should contact Chris Fike of the Social Work Department to learn more.
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