Rising conservative views on campus concern many students confronted by controversial literature and disturbing images.
Walking through Plaza Vaquero, one does not expect to be confronted by things as obscure as images of dead babies or the destiny of a dying homosexual.
Last month images of unborn children and the controversies that follow one’s sexual preferences became a reality for some and a nuisance for others.
“Everybody has the right to their own opinions on different subjects on life but I do agree that we can’t impose our opinions on different people,” said ASGCC President Armen Kiramijyan. “Everybody has their own way of thinking.”
The Armenian Christian Outreach church of Pasadena, in collaboration with Unshakable, a GCC Christian club, have been standing around Plaza Vaquero with large photos of dead fetuses and of holocaust victims. In the weeks that followed a banner with the words “Homosexuality Is a Sin” was held up alongside the photos of dead fetuses and Holocaust victims.
Christian values, such as not committing homosexual acts and comparing aborted fetuses to holocaust victims was all a part of Unshakable’s message to GCC students in April.
“I do agree pictures are more effective because it grabs people’s attention,” said Arthur Asaduriyan, president of Unshakable. “They don’t see [abortion] and when they see the pictures it moves them.”
During Outreach’s second visit to Plaza Vaquero with Unshakable, the banner against homosexuality was up again for students passing by to see.
Some students booed members of Unshakable as the club spoke out against homosexuality.
“If they want to get me to listen, they’re going to have to do something other than hold up a bible and yell and scream hate messages about how they hate people that are different than them,” said Steve Bi, a GCC philosophy professor.
Even with the harsh feelings from students and faculty toward Unshakable’s message against homosexuality, and Outreach’s photos, the club stands firmly for their beliefs.
“The main message behind that banner was that there are certain sins that men commit and that Christ can set us free from those sins,” said Asaduriyan. “My view is that if we had a banner up there [Plaza Vaquero] saying lying is a sin, people lying would get offended…the main message is look at [the message] logically and look at it [the message] open minded. Our message is not to create hate; that’s not our message.”
Some students still feel uneasy about such extreme views.
“I didn’t like the pictures…I would send them off campus,” said Edward Foielo, a GCC student.
In response to those offended by the controversial material shown on campus Asaduriyan said: “You have a complete right to walk away…It’s a public place where we are standing and I do believe that the public is entitled to know about certain things…We have to confront the truth.”
Outreach’s first time on campus created a crowd of offended students and concerned professors.
Nonetheless, though the pictures of unborn children and a banner alleging the sins of homosexuality managed to rile up students on both occasions, the law made it permissible.
“I disagree with what they are saying completely…But I like freedom of speech…I think they should have the right to show them [photos/banners],” said Bi.
The administrative regulations for campus speakers and the distribution of printed material allow organizations and individuals to assemble in Plaza Vaquero.
Aside from the Activities Request Form or an Off-Campus Vendor/Solicitor Agreement,
the 1st Amendment, which grants the freedom of speech, gives students the liberty to speak in the Plaza Vaquero so long as the students assembling do so peacefully.
“It’s a difficult issue and I understand the students’ concerns,” said Alen Andriassian, an ASGCC adviser. “But…there are positive things and negative things and whether you agree with one thing or another, at some point you will come to a disagreement with some type of freedom of speech.”
Despite the right to freedom of speech some students were still upset when confronted by the material. Some say that the information given to students about abortion was not only intolerable, but false.
“What pissed me off is that the images that they show aren’t exactly representative of the information they give,” said a GCC student who wished to remain unnamed. “They show two weeks [fetal stages] and they show a fully developed fetus.
I just get really mad at the
fact that they are misinforming
Yet no matter what the message or content a GCC student, or visitor, may come across
on campus freedom of speech permits it.
“Sometimes it makes you uncomfortable…the law says that these people have the right to say what they want and even though I may disagree with
the substance it’s still their
[peoples’] right to do it [speak],” said Andriassian.