Features Students and university respond to Campus Ministries By Abigail McArthur-Self - September 21, 2021 1008 Facebook Twitter Pinterest WhatsApp Linkedin Email “I think the University’s response is really effective and really smart, as it’s going to keep students distracted but also in a very fun and engaging way. And it also just shows that, even though this is a situation beyond their control, they really don’t support what’s going on,” first-year Christian Archer said. 1 of 17 On Wednesday, Sept. 15, Jed and Cindy Smock from Campus Ministries USA came to DePauw after announcing their plan to visit campus in a TikTok posted on Sunday, Sept. 12. The Smock’s are known for promoting slut-shaming, homophobia, and sexism with conservative Christianity. A man holds a sign that reads "Ask me why you deserve hell," in a park while students gather to the side. DePauw Student Government (DSG), the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), the Women’s Center and a number of other university groups organized games, chalk, food trucks, and music as an alternative event between the Green Center for the Performing Arts and the Percy L. Julian Center. In a park are outdoor games, a table with pride flags, and students lined up for food trucks at the edge of a street. The alternative event was entirely organized in the four days between Campus Ministries’ announcement and their arrival. “When things are happening and you have time to sort of do some long-term planning, that’s great, but when things are happening sort of quickly, you have to move quickly and I think it shows the extraordinary dedication that all our staff has to make sure our students are respected and protected,” Joseph Harris, the assistant director of the CDI, said. Two school officials talk on the side walk in the park. Much of the event was organized by student efforts. “I think when there’s an emphasis on fostering community and ensuring the unique success of our students and allowing our students to be who they truly are, you’ll go through anything to make sure that our community is beloved and protected,” D’Angelo McDade, a DePauw senior and president of DSG said. Two students in school wear man a table, offering chalk to another student. Student Government decided to respond to the presence of Campus Ministries by providing a safe event for students. “The one thing that brings community together is fellowship, and that typically comes over food. I like to eat. Communities love to gather, they love to dance, they love to be around each other. The chalk helps provide positive messages,” McDade said. “The flags on trees show us who our students are and provide representation.” On the side of the park, students talk and get ice cream from one of the trucks. Most students approved of the University’s response. “I just think it’s great how the DePauw community has come together and shown that we don’t stand for what Sister Cindy believes,” first-year Zoey Kales said. Students line up to get yellow shirts that read "Spread Love Not Hate." The trees in the park are wrapped in Pride flags. “I think the University’s response is really effective and really smart, as it’s going to keep students distracted but also in a very fun and engaging way. And it also just shows that, even though this is a situation beyond their control, they really don’t support what’s going on,” first-year Christian Archer said. Another shot of the university side of the park showing tables and trees with Pride flags, as well as some students who brought their own for the event. A number of students chose to engage with the Smock’s. “You know, we had DSG and CDI doing all of this to make sure that we didn’t pay attention to them, but I think that people just like the drama, so we’re showing up anyway,” junior Vidit Khandelwal said. Two camera people stand behind Cindy Smock as she speaks to a cluster of students. “Honestly, the amount of people missing classes to see all of this is not worth it. She just wants attention and you’re giving it to her, but it’s kind of funny, so I don’t mind,” sophomore Zartasha Mushtaq said. Students listen to Jed Smock shout. One holds a sign that says "Satan Loves U" “For DePauw students, these people are kind of like zoo animals,” senior Callaway Bird said. “No one believes them seriously, no one thinks that they’re good people, we just know that they’re on our campus and they’re making a scene, so part of DePauw’s culture to be on campus right now is to check it out.”Students stand talking in groups and holding signs countering the Smocks' messages. Maddie Moore, a first-year, received a leaflet from Cindy Smock. “Honestly, I think it’s just a joke,” Moore said. Cindy Smock hands a group of four or five students leaflets while her camera people stand to the sides. Some students who engaged with the Smock’s made signs with varying levels of humor.A student writes a sign at one of the university tables. Javier Mendez-Cassedy, a sophomore who brought a sign that read, “Sister Cindy’s word is heresy,” explained, “I believe that, should any Christian man, woman or child walk into this, they should know that what she’s saying is not the word of God. The word of God runs much deeper than that. And specifically, as an atheist, I do believe that people should be directed to the forms of religion that are most tolerant, most accepting of other people.”Students hold signs reading "Pre-marital sex is sensational," and "Full Offense, but who the FUCK are you?" “Personally I think it’s great that people can band together and spread their ideas and thoughts...if you think somebody else is wrong or you have a different opinion, you should say something,” Peter Norehad, a first-year who passed by the Smock’s and the University’s response, said.A shot from the edge of the field shows a few dozen students gathered. Students gave messages of positivity to their peers in the chalk art, signs and flags, and in their interviews. “They matter, and they are valid. Love is love,” first-year Chelsea Campagna said. A student draws a rainbow captioned "you are loved." “A broken clock is right twice a day. If you find yourself agreeing with something she says, it doesn’t mean you agree with her as a whole. It simply means that a broken clock was right,” Mendez-Cassedy said. Three students stand, spray painting large canvases. “You are loved. Be who you are; embrace who you are,” McDade said. “ Let us love you as a campus. Let’s live, let’s learn together. Let’s foster community even among great differences. That is what college is all about.”Three students sit by a chalk message while a fourth takes their photo.