Preacher John McGlone IV once again attracted attention on campus this week with what some called hate-filled messages.
McGlone was exercising his First Amendment right to free speech on campus and thus created reactions from the students of Austin Peay. People offended by the messages should ignore him instead of trying to argue, university officials said.
For several years, McGlone has used the campus as a platform for free speech. According to campus police, the courtyard outside of the school’s university center is a free speech area, and he reserves that location and time at least once a semester.
Campus police were standing by as a security detail throughout the week; there were four officers in proximity to keep the situation from escalating.
At least one student attempted to walk past the barrier and confront the man but was turned away.
McGlone’s platform this week was “abortion is murder”, but he did touch on several other topics, including homosexuality, promiscuity and rape. He’s toured campuses across the country since 2004 and has made several stops to APSU in recent years.
He made multiple statements that were upsetting to people and insulted women with several uses of the slur “feminazi.”
Jamie Rastelli, a senior majoring in sociology, had a previous encounter with the man that riles up so many students.
“I debated with him a few years ago at my previous college, and he resorts to insults and yelling when faced with a simple logical argument,” Rastelli said.
“Don’t get mad, get organized. Create spaces and groups to discuss and offer support, and allow the hateful messages to spark supportive and meaningful conversations.”
Katie Hamlet is a senior majoring in English at the university. She said some students reacted to McGlone’s comments by holding up signs with “messages of love.”
“Even though everyone is entitled to their own opinion as well as free speech, I think promoting messages of hate is ultimately pointless because love will always win,” Hamlet said.
The university is obligated with limited exception to provide McGlone a platform every year. Students were advised earlier in the week to not provide him an audience and to not drown out his message.
“I have requested to be informed before he arrives on campus next time to allow everyone to be prepared for his visits, and I ask anyone who is interested to join me with signs to express that he does not represent us and that (the college) loves and respects everyone,” Jones said.
To learn more about campus safety or presenter rights in incidents such as these, speak to officers around campus or contact the public safety office.