A non-student detained by campus safety and police last month for causing a disturbance in the Quad has sparked discussions about free speech and hate speech.
Preaching his beliefs in the packed quad March 14, Ronald Cardiel was approached and detained by safety officers before receiving a citation from police.
While students were quick to criticize Cardiel’s actions, they defended his right to free speech.
“I understand he has freedom of religion, but it was annoying,” said Desiree Bennett, a student who witnessed the incident.
Encouraging students to repent for their sins, Cardiel was detained by campus safety after standing on top of a grassy mound beside Dunlap Hall. He was released after about an hour.
A few students could be heard shouting at Cardiel as he continued to preach. Evelyn Hurtado called the dialogue a “hate speech”.
“It was uncomfortable,” said Hurtado. “No other religion imposes their beliefs on people.”
In cases where action had been taken to prosecute individuals for a hate speech, advocacy of syndicalism was the exception. A 1969 case involving a Ku Klux Klan leader’s speech resulted in his conviction for promoting vengeful actions against the government.
After a few minutes, security arrived on the scene to calm Cardiel down and ask him to lower his voice.
Cardiel was asked to leave, but he refused. When security threatened to call the police, Cardiel taunted back. “Call the police,” he said.
“What he was saying had no concern to us, whatsoever. Only the fact that he was loud,” said James Wooley, district safety and security supervisor.
Cardiel had been on campus twice in the past four weeks. He was less agitated then, Wooley said, because he complied with security officers’ request.
“He had lowered his voice,” Wooley said.