Students question harassment vs free speech on campus

Over 50 students gathered around the courtyard outside Cleveland State University’s student center Friday afternoon after Andrew R. Rappaport, Pastor and public speaker, began preaching about his religious views. According to Alexandria Dissel, a senior at CSU, Rappaport and his supporters made their way to the courtyard at around 10 AM. 

“He came out with a microphone and began preaching that all other Gods except the Christian God are fake,” Dissel explained. 

Rappaport and his supporters stood in the center of the courtyard with microphones. As students began shouting at them, the group would turn the sound up on the microphones to speak over any opposing views. The group expressed that they had a right to their opinions.

Many students were upset at the presence of Rappaport and his views on religion, race, and abortion rights. 

Representatives of the CSU Democrats brought out a sign that emphasized the “Right to Choose,” as an increasing number of students surrounded Rappaport.

CSU’s Courtyard. 09/16/2022. Photo by Haneen Hamideh

Tensions increased as a student cut one of the group member’s microphone wires with a pair of scissors. This did not stop the group, though; they continued with their presence and viewpoints. 

Eventually, the group made their way off campus at around 2:25 PM after about four hours. Cheering from students soon ensued in the courtyard.

Once the group was gone, freshmen student Inez Scott expressed her concern for minority students on campus.

“He was harassing students on campus,” Scott emphasized. “There was a visibly Muslim student walking past, and he told her that she is not of God.”

Another freshman student, Rinevere Salsbury, explained that though she had only been at CSU for a few weeks, this was not the first time she had witnessed a group like this on campus. “On Tuesday, there was another group in the courtyard. One of them told me that because I am gay, God disgraced me by making me an amputee.” 

Scott advocated that “this is supposed to be a safe campus, but what he (Rappaport) did was anything but safe.”

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