Park Blocks preacher showdown

A longstanding dispute between two Park Blocks regulars turned ugly Thursday morning.

The participants were Cedric Jenkins, the Christian singing poet, often seen at his daily post outside Smith center, and another man, who declined to identify himself.

The two began an argument around 9:30 a.m. that became so loud and vehement that two Campus Public Safety officers were called to intervene. Both men had their identification recorded and were temporarily expelled from campus.

Tina Wampler, a transfer student majoring in graphic design, witnessed the man calling Jenkins a "false prophet" and telling students not to give him any money. An altercation ensued.

"Cedric called him a faggot," Wampler said. She also heard him say, "I’ll stick my big, black dick up your ass."

According to Jenkins, the man had been harassing him on a daily basis for several weeks.

The man’s verbal attacks have been directed not only at Jenkins, but the students and patrons Jenkins relies on for donations.

"I’ve been here for almost a year and never got any complaints. Now every time I come here, he’s calling me a false prophet and a charlatan. It’s not true," Jenkins said.

Jenkins said he suspected the man was a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints, looking to eliminate religious competition in the Park Blocks.

Jenkins did not deny calling the other man names.

"He made me angry. I’ve got high blood pressure, I’m a disabled veteran, and I’m doing this for a real love of Jesus. I think he knows that, and he’s trying to give me a stroke," Jenkins said.

Both men were cooperative with Campus Public Safety, but Jenkins said he felt especially vulnerable because of his visible position as an advocate for the homeless, and his status as a non-student.

His right to preach in the park was never questioned, but the officer seized his ID card as part of her investigation.

Jenkins told the officer that if he could have his ID card back, he would leave campus and never return. The officer insisted that she would keep the card, and escorted him off campus.

Jenkins, who was the subject of a Vanguard story in October, said he would find another place to preach his poetry.