If you ignore him, he will leave

All students should ask themselves this question next time the famous street preachers pontificate in the Park Blocks on a sunny afternoon: Do you want him to stay or go?

These preachers, including Preacher Ray, Bible Jim and this term’s favorite, Daniel Lee, thrive on raising students’ ire. The more you yell and harass them, the more they will yell and harass you.

This Thursday, Lee finally provoked students to action beyond the usual yelling, sitting at his feet and blocking his view of students. One student poured a drink over him and a woman slapped him.

Lee could press charges for assault, but he reached an agreement with the woman.

These preachers want reactions like this from you. They want you to yell, harass and impede their efforts. They want it to appear that their First Amendment rights have been violated. They want to get in your face and cause a reaction, peaceful or violent. And they know that the Park Blocks, as Lee says, “provide an exceptional place to gather a multitude.”

So ask the question, do you want them to come to our Park Blocks beautiful day after beautiful day and ruin what would otherwise be a relatively nice place to study or hang out with friends?

Some students like the antics; they find it an amusing and entertaining break between classes. Other students find it a nuisance and end up avoiding one of the most communal spaces students share.

If you want the street preachers to stay, keep up the yelling, keep getting mad and keep forming a captive audience. But remember that many students just want to sit outside, enjoy the sun while it lasts, and enjoy a few peaceful moments in their otherwise hectic lives without being told that they will burn in hell.