North Texas Daily

Freshman students respond to street preachers

Freshman students respond to street preachers

Freshman students respond to street preachers
November 11
00:11 2014

Dalton LaFerney / Senior Staff Writer11_kkk_web2

Broadcast news freshman Nathan Stolzer Stolzer will be the president of the new fraternity Chi Chi Chi.

Each Wednesday, members of the Heritage Grace Community Church convene outside of Sycamore Hall to draw in students to preach their version of the Christian gospel. But many students’ beliefs oppose those transmitted by the church.

Broadcast news freshman Nathan Stolzer and RTVF freshman Caleb Curiel are among that crowd. They say the message Heritage Grace preaches at UNT is flawed. So now, Stolzer and Curiel are working to start their own fraternity, Chi Chi Chi.

Tri-Chi aims to reserve free speech zones on campus so Heritage Grace preachers will be unable to use the them, because Curiel and Stolzer say students should not be subjected to harsh ridicule.

“There is a difference between free speech and hate speech,” Stolzer said. “I think they are crossing the free speech boundaries when they direct their speech at specific groups.”

The fraternity, with the Greek letters XXX, is currently made up of 14 members who are of like mind with Stolzer and Curiel. Tri-Chi is not yet an official organization recognized by UNT.

“We are looking to get approval to be an organization this week,” said Stolzer, who also serves as the president. “And we are just looking for a faculty member to sponsor us.”

In order for a student group to be recognized by UNT as a legitimate organization, they must go through the Office of Student Activities. The criteria, listed on the Office of Student Activities website, direct the group to the OrgSync website.

From there, the group must fill out the required information, which includes a mission, or purpose, statement on why the group wants to become an organization. There must be at least eight enrolled students that make up the group, including two officers. Each of the members must be in academic good standing, and there must be a faculty adviser by the Nov. 14 deadline.

If the group meets all the criteria and files before the deadline, it will then be reviewed by the Office of Student Activities, and will be chartered upon approval.

The goal for the fraternity, according to the founders, is simple: stop hate on campus.

“I first saw them the second week of school,” Stolzer said. “The first things I heard out of his [Preacher Emilio Ramos] mouth were against homosexuals and Muslims on our campus. I thought we shouldn’t have that in our academic environment. It was more like spreading hate than anything else.”

Curiel agrees. He said Christians should try to connect with other Christians, and even non-Christians, to spread God’s word.

“I don’t have a problem with people preaching,” Curiel said. “It’s just that we, as students, shouldn’t have to tolerate that. We pay a lot of money to be here, and we shouldn’t have to hear this. A gay person shouldn’t have to hear that they are going to burn in hell once a week when they come to campus.”

But, while Tri-Chi and other students on campus reject the preaching methods of Pastor Ramos, First Amendment rights sanctify the church’s message.

“For faculty, staff and students, there is free speech on the entire campus in the boundaries of campus,” said Maureen McGuinness, assistance vice president for Student Affairs. “You have the right for free speech based on your First Amendment rights. For an outside group to come in, they have to be sponsored by a student, organization, faculty or staff member.”

UNT faculty and students can speak out at any time, but in some cases they must reserve one of the free speech zones on campus. Those zones, specified on the Dean of Students website, are designated areas where groups can go to use amplified sound or set up booths or tables.

So conflicts do not arise, anybody wanting to use the zones must reserve the spots. McGuinness said it’s a first come, first serve basis.

Curiel said Tri-Chi is not a Christian fraternity, but encourages anybody who wants to promote love and kindness to join the group.

“We want to make this campus a more enjoyable place,” he said. “If you’re going to be here, you might as well make it good.”

Stolzer said Tri-Chi hopes to grow to about 20 or 30 members — enough to donate to philanthropies.

“Eventually, when we get bigger, we want to donate to charities and work with victims of hate crimes,” he said. “If you don’t agree with hate, then I think you should hang out with us.”

Featured Image: Radio, television and film freshman Caleb Curiel discusses plans for the new fraternity, Chi Chi Chi. THe fraternity will help to prevent hate speech on campus. Photos by Devin Dakota – Staff Photographer

About Author

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton LaFerney

Dalton is the editor of the Daily.

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