Undergraduate Senate passes resolution against Westboro protesters

The Undergraduate Senate denounced the activities of the Westboro Baptist Church in a Jan. 12 resolution.

The resolution passed 19-1-2, with some concern arising over free speech and the University’s reaction to the protesters.

“The Undergraduate Senate takes a firm stance that in no uncertain terms that the presence of such offensive rhetoric is completely and totally unwelcome at this University,” said Brett Atanasio, a class of 2013 senator and a co-author of the resolution.

Some senators had misgivings about dignifying the Westboro Baptist Church with a response.

The best approach would be to refuse giving the group the attention it seeks, according to Senator At-Large Joseph Chmielewski, who voted against the resolution.

“I think it would send a much bigger message if no one showed up,” Chmielewski said. “I don’t think they deserve any respect and I don’t know why we are wasting our time on it,” he said.

But Class of 2013 Senator Tim McBride said silence can be just as damaging.

“If we remain silent, no one knows we are on their side,” McBride said. “If we speak out, gay people, lesbian people, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, veterans, will know we are on their side, ” he said.

The resolution also asked students to address the protesters in a civil and respectful way.

amooney@theeagleonline.com

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