Students give ‘free hugs’ to protest anti-gay advocates

Elizabeth Randolph

A group of students used signs and hugs to peacefully protest against anti-gay advocates in Risman Plaza on Tuesday.

Freshman psychology major Kate Adams said she and other students decided to use signs that read, “I love you” and gave out, “free hugs” to students as they walked past the Student Center.

“We’re protesting the protestors,” Adams said. “They’ve been protesting homosexuality, and we just want to spread some positivity.”

Adams said that protests that promote positivity would be more effective in showing gay students that their voices are being heard and represented.

“Being violent in a physical or verbal way won’t solve anything,” Adams said. “I feel like it’s important for students to come together and stand up for what we believe in.”

Freshman pre-nursing major Jasmine Weist said the fact that the protestors were back for a second time this semester is due to a need for exposure.

“They keep coming back because they like the attention,” Weist said. “They want to get a rise out of everyone and get us fired up.”

Philip Walter, one of the anti-gay advocates, said that he keeps coming to Kent State to give students a different way of viewing ideas.

“We want to continue to preach the gospel to students,” Walter said. “We want to give them the truth in a compassionate way.”

Walter said that he thinks the student protestors should watch how they display their affection toward each other.

“I think hugs are great and we should love each other and show compassion,” Walter said. “But I do believe that men and women should be discreet in how they show their physical contact if they’re not married.”

Contact Elizabeth Randolph at [email protected].