USM Generation Action Gathers to Write Letter to President Joe Paul


Generation Action member Kayla Barnes | Photo: Simeon Gates

The Christian protestors have unfortunately become a familiar face on campus. They gather around Shoemaker Square, screaming homophobic, racist, transphobic and other forms of hate speech in the name of their Christianity. Campus life sees them frequently, but it has come to a point where the student body is fed up, specifically USM’s Generation Action Organization. 

The USM Division of Planned Parenthood’s Generation Action gathered in Cook Union Room A on the night of Thursday, September 15th to write a letter to University President Dr. Joe Paul concerning the protestors. While acknowledging the free speech right that the protestors are allowed, the organization (along with other members of the USM community) believes that these people have violated this right by being excessively forceful, homophobic, transphobic, racist, anti-choice, and Islamophobic. There is also evidence of physical force being used on protestors at the Pink House, what was formerly the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi.  

Perhaps the arrival of the protestors on Sept. 6 was the straw that broke the camel’s back. With the protestors upping their attack on USM’s student body, the community gathered in what might be the loudest gathering at Shoemaker Square in quite a while. It is safe to say that a massive portion of the USM community has had enough of these protestors.  

In a post on the organization’s Instagram page, the group announced their plan to gather students to write a letter to Dr. Joe Paul detailing that the protestors have overstayed their “welcome”, and that they should not be allowed back on campus due to the threat they pose to the community. The group also planned to make an email alert system for when the protestors are on-campus, stating that they believe “students should feel safe on campus, regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, religion, or national origin.”  

At the gathering, members of Generation Action introduced themselves, and provided their reasoning for why they were hosting this event and how important these letters are to the safety of the student body. Providing evidence of the protestors using excessive physical force in the past (with one of these protestors even being convicted of assault), the hosts of this gathering most certainly fired the attendees up. The organizers were proud to be able to organize this event to keep campus safe, as this is only the start in a much bigger movement.  

“Getting together all these people from all across campus and coming together and just learning how to protest against these people is what we can do to make the future better.” Ashley Omerza, president of Generation Action, said.  

Soon, those in attendance were gathering their thoughts to compose their letters for Dr. Paul, prepared with evidence and personal experiences with the protestors. Excitement for a bright future without these harmful protestors incited a feeling of vibrancy within the room. “We believe that if these people were kicked off campus that it would show that the administration is listening to the students and listening to the concerns of the people that are here everyday.” Phoebe Stutts, co-president of Generation Action, said.  

While the students wait for the results of their letters, the battle continues for a safe campus that is supportive of the diversity that USM is so well-known for.