Jed Smock and friends crash Day of Dialogue

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Jeb Smock and his assoicates returned to campus Wednesday. The group was heckled by some students while many ignored the protest. SAM CARAVANA / THE DEPAUW

 

Jeb Smock and his assoicates returned to campus Wednesday.  The group was heckled by some students while many ignored the protest. SAM CARAVANA / THE DEPAUW
Jeb Smock and his assoicates returned to campus Wednesday. The group was heckled by some students while many ignored the protest. SAM CARAVANA / THE DEPAUW

On a day designed to bring a community together, one small group of radical “preachers” from Terre Haute tried to tear it apart, for the second time.

Campus Ministries USA, lead by “Brother” Jed Smock, descended on DePauw University’s campus late Wednesday morning. The group of about four men held signs reading “Homo sex is sin” and “fear god.” They stood on the public sidewalk near Bowman Park in front of the Student Union building. The group stood in a corral of metal fencing, with Public Safety officers on either side.

They arrived at around 11:30 a.m., and Smock used his microphone to attract students. At the same time, students of color and allies were marching across campus, starting in the Green Center of Performing Arts (GCPA), going through the Percy Lavon Julian Science center, looping around the academic quad and making their way back through the GCPA and into the old Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, now housing the organizations that were stationed in the Dorothy Brown house and the Association of African American Students.

Students chanted “No Justice, No Peace” and carried signs. Smock had one of his photographers take photos of the march, an action which angered some students.

Smock addressed the student demonstration and other events that happened on campus in an open letter posted on his facebook page. In it, he discusses how he agreed to stay within the barriers established by Public Safety to protect him from the “sex crazed mob.”

Smock also wrote about the student demonstration. “The Black Lives Matter protesters were marching through campus chanting, ‘Shut it down.’ I suppose they meant the University, which would be a good idea,” wrote Smock.

A majority of students appeared to not pay attention to Smock and his group, and some were discouraged by their appearance on campus.

“I feel that Brother Jed wasn’t even relevant because we had bigger things to be discussing on campus,” said sophomore Ashley Beeson.

One DePauw professor has been familiar with Smock and his work since the 1980s. Professor of Computer Science, Doug Harms, said he first heard of Smock when he would visit to “preach” at Ohio State when Harms was a graduate student.

“We basically heckled him, you know entertainment,” Harms said. “As far as I remember it was the same stuff as he’s doing now.”

Some students circled Smock and his group, asking questions and heckling him. Senior Ben Cryder made a short comedy video about Smock which he posted on his Facebook page and YouTube channel. In the video he asks Smock about his failed attempt at a television show.  

Despite the activity on campus, Student Body President, senior Claire Halffield, wanted the DePauw community to keep themselves and others in mind. “Most people on campus haven’t been engaging, however what he says is still triggering to a lot of students and staff and faculty,” Halffield said. “I hope people are really practicing self-care even though they may be hearing hateful speech here and just on campus today.”

Smock and his group left campus before the end of Wednesday’s DePauw Dialogue.

"I feel thankful that he left so quickly and that people heeded the advice not to do anything, and thank goodness it was raining,” said sophomore Elise Daniels. “I know that it didn’t have as much of an impact as last year which is also a good thing.”

As of now, DePauw University is not on Campus Ministries USA’s schedule for the rest of the semester.