By Alx Stickel and Nate Lowery
A man who was proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ was issued a citation and told to leave campus for being a disturbance and not cooperating with the dean of students this afternoon around 12:30 in the quad.
Chris Wuthrich, dean of students, is in charge of enforcing the policy for open space use, which the man was violating. Wuthrich asked the preacher to talk to him about the policy. The preacher refused and asked Wuthrich to call the police.
“He was being disruptive, noisy, and we received complaints about the content of his message,” Wuthrich said. “The general nature of the disruption and the noisiness was the main concern, along with the gentleman’s unwillingness to talk to me about university policy.”
According to Wuthrich, being able to speak freely wherever you want is different than what is permitted by the open space use policy. The policy is enforced in the quad and area from the Hemingway Center to the Interactive Learning Center. Wuthrich said some students said they could hear the man in their classrooms.
Jeremy Conlon, a senior kinesiology major, said he was conversing with the preacher about Mormonism and Jesus Christ when Wuthrich approached them.
“We were having a great conversation when the dean of students came up and asked him (the preacher) to talk to him because he was being disruptive or blocking the pathway but (Wuthrich) didn’t show any ID or anything,” Conlon said. “[The preacher] said ‘I don’t have time to talk to you right now I’m in the middle of a message.”
The policy for open space use reads that Boise State is to remain a forum for a broad expression of views that are “not in conflict with the normal uses of the campus, rights of others and the limitations of lawful conduct.” The policy also states that the time, place and manner of free expression may be regulated to “prevent unreasonable interference or conflict with the educational, research, outreach or other legitimate functions of the university.”
Conlon said he thought Wuthrich and the police should not have asked the man to leave.
“I think it’s a joke,” Conlon said. “It is ridiculous, because he was not breaking any laws or rules, even if the campus policy says he needs to listen to authority from a Boise State faculty he did not present any verification that he was Boise State faculty and did not follow up with that either. That would be like me walking up to this guy here and saying, ‘Hey I don’t like the way you’re walking; get off of campus; I’m the dean of students. Leave right now you’re trespassing.”
Nathan Cook, a sophomore psychology major, agreed with Conlon’s sentiments. Cook said he was not offended by the message. Cook said the presentation of the message was very enthusiastic, and the preacher was just sharing his beliefs and wanting to help people out.
“I don’t think he should have been kicked out,” Cook said. “I don’t believe he was doing anything wrong. He was just expressing his views. I feel like if people were telling him he was blocking traffic, that they could have just moved. They didn’t have to resort to something like this, using full force to kick him out.”