Despite careful planning and preparation for our TSA event here at Cal State-Fullerton, some unforeseen problems arose that polluted a majority of our efforts. My hope is that our experience can be used as an example if any other chapters run into the same type of problem.
We booked a corner of the quad weeks in advance for our event. We had a late night chalking campaign the night before where we wrote slogans about the TSA along with our facebook address. We had many signs for the event ready to go when the date arrived. On the morning of the event, we set up our table and had everything in its place. We did everything we were supposed to do.
Then our problem showed up in the form of a preacher squad. One of the evangelists who was holding up a large sign with slogans such as “God hates fags” and “idolators, druggies, and alcoholics are going to hell” was standing directly behind our table. The other two were preaching the Bible by calling female students dressed in shorts whores.
We politely asked them to move and informed them that we had the area of the quad booked for our event with student government. After a bit of an annoying exchange they agreed to move, but they ended up only moving like 20 feet away. Throughout our event there was a massive amount of students amassed around the trolls and barely anyone was even looking at us.
With only about an hour to go of our event, we finally got fed up. Our vice president, Patrick, went to talk to the person in charge of student government. He explained to him that we had the area of the quad booked and that trolls were polluting our event. In short, the evangelists were removed since we had reserved that area of the quad. What we can take from this is that it is necessary to book areas for our events with the school; that way if a situation like this arises again, we have measures that we can take to combat it. We planned ahead and we had the right to be where we were; they did not.
Our event was nowhere near a bust though. We were able to reach a lot of students once the distractions were gone. We ended up getting over thirty sign-ups and talked to a lot of people about the Fourth Amendment and civil liberties. A lot of people we met mentioned that they noticed the chalking and have since liked our page on facebook; this expands our reach we have when we are off campus.
One of the best parts of the event was the turnout of our members. I would say about 90% of our chapter’s members were present at some point of the event. At one point, there were around fifteen of us at the table at the same time which made it much easier to talk to multiple students at a time. This tells me that not only are we expanding as a chapter, the quality of our members is extremely high.
Although we did run into problems, the event was an overall success! We reached new students with our message and had a great time with our members.Published in