More than 100 Colorado State University (CSU) students and staff recently held a peaceful protest to demand more robust protections against hate speech, harassment, and discrimination on campus.
The protest was organized Friday by the student group #CallOutCSU in response to alleged racist, homophobic, and xenophobic comments made by religious groups in the “free-speech zones” at CSU’s Lory Student Center (LSC) Plaza.
Ty Smith, a representative of the student group, met with CSU President Joyce McConnell the morning of the protest and presented a list of 11 demands. The demands included relocating individuals engaging in hate speech to a less disruptive part of the LSC Plaza and creating a notification system that alerts the campus community to acts of discriminatory violence and harassment.
In a statement to students, McConnell said she recognized how the hateful words used in recent weeks at LSC Plaza may have affected underrepresented students.
“Even when hateful speech is legally protected, I urge everyone at CSU to use their First Amendment rights to counter speech that diminishes any member of our community,” she said. “I say to all who have encountered hateful speech, ‘You are valued, you are respected, and we want you here.’”