I am compelled to write this letter because I am appalled at the lack of common decency exhibited by my fellow students today.

I was passing through the commons when I noticed that a religious devotee was shouting out the Word to all who would listen. Ordinarily, I do not stop, as often, for me, such speech is a bit too fanatic. But I stopped to hear some student comments, as it appeared that this speaker actually listened and talked “to”, rather than “at”, the students who appeared to lend their ears and minds.

I was shocked and offended at some of the students’ utter disregard of decency and dignity. The speaker, who was a Protestant minister, was discussing the promiscuity within our university’s culture; a position perhaps a bit naive, but certainly not offensive. Then a heckler interrupted, “Don’t you think priests like little boys?” The minister then addressed that the Cloth do commit sexual offenses. But then other hecklers chimed in: “You preachers live to molest kids.” One person actually had a cartoon of a priest with a disgusting sexual remark regarding young boys. Apparently, this is what some students spend their time working on—filthy cartoons.

The minister said, “Those priests who do molest are defrocked because it is not tolerated.” At this point, communications professor Charles Larson, profounder of prolific and colloquial expressions, thought up a rather clever little utterance: “They’re all messed up,” he shouted twice (apparently amazed that raucous laughter did not follow the first proffer). It is not comforting to think that one day my own sons and daughters may learn from such a disrespectful and ethically bankrupt instructor.

I stood there in the REVEREND Martin Luther King Jr. Commons, and thought of the hypocrisy of these students: One day, each will likely stand in a church and pray for a blessing upon their marriage, a blessing upon their own children in baptism, or a blessing from God on their deceased loved ones. Yet these hecklers came before a minister today to berate him; to chastise him for his beliefs; to spew their venom upon a religious figure.

Whether or not we believe in the ideas of another person, we should at least respect that one who speaks in a public forum; he ought not be ridiculed for standing up for what he believes. A girl actually walked over and sat down to listen to this man in the very front of the rostrum area of the commons, which was built specifically for public address, and then said, “Why don’t you leave us alone? Why do you come here to bother us?

As I was leaving, I heard a young man shout some very lude comments to the minister. Wouldn’t that student’s parents be proud of the values their son has developed thus far in life? Perhaps the minister has a more difficult job here than he first thought.

John P. Kolb

Third year

Law Student