Two members of PinPoint Evangelical sparked a protest at Palms Quad on Jan. 26 after some members of the student body felt they were spreading hateful messages.
Pastor Kerrigan Skelly and a man called Brother Adam arrived on campus around 11 a.m. According to students, the men began shouting hateful comments in front of the Student Union and Nevins Hall before being directed to the public forum venue at Palms Quad and stage.
Students surrounded the stage and Palms Quad to protest the messages the men were spreading.
Both men were holding signs calling for students to repent their sins. One of the signs listed out the groups the men saw as sinful including the LGBTQ+ community, atheists, Muslims and more.
The men also gave out cards with their messages printed on them.
Students on the VSU mobile app and the anonymous posting sight, YikYak, who have seen the men on campus during previous semesters, said they wore GoPro cameras to upload videos of the student backlash on their YouTube channel.
At the protest, students lined up in front of the stage with LGBTQ+ pride flags, nationality flags and flags made popular by social media. This was done to form a barrier between the men and students.
Barriers like this one have become known as “pride walls” on social media. Pride walls became popular after the Orlando Theater Group used fabric and rigs to make wearable angel wings in order to shield mourners from anti-LGBTQ+ protestors during the funerals of the Pulse Nightclub victims in 2016.
Students chanted, sang and danced to block out the messages being spread by PinPoint Evangelical. Many even spoke with the men to keep their comments from being directed to the crowd.
They shared messages of support for all the groups represented on the men’s signs and used symbols seen throughout minority groups in recent years such as the Black Power fist. Student Body President, Jalen Smith, supported students briefly from the stage shortly after the protest began.
Students stayed at Palms Quad until the men left at 5 p.m.
A statement was sent out on the VSU mobile app and social media by the Dean of Students Office on behalf of Student Affairs, Student Diversity and Inclusion and the Student Government Association.
They applauded students for standing up for their beliefs and advocating for each other, but also reminded them that VSU is a public campus where all groups are allowed to utilize the free expression space at Palms Quad and stage. A Free Speech Town Hall was held in the Student Union Theater after the protest dispersed.
Written by Bailey Storey, Photo Editor. Photos Courtesy of Bailey Storey and Evie Webb, Staff Reporter.