The Wednesday of Hell Week, Finals, May 3, a small group appeared on campus holding signs with threats of Hellfire.
Their leader was quickly identified as Pastor Aden from christianinterviews.com.
Beginning in the quad, the group projected hateful messages against muslims, women and the LGBT community, and insulted those who walked by. Staff and faculty placed speakers beside the anti-acceptance group and blasted music over their words.
“At first, there were a lot of people screaming back,” Nathan Smith, Philosophy major at NCC said, “There were so many cheers every single time a man and man or a woman and a woman kissed – but there was still a lot of anger. With a lot of help and positivity and prayer from the beautiful students at Northampton –what could have become a riot was turned into a dance party. We transformed hatred into love.”
Students gathered into what became a dance circle, while other crowd members made and held their own signs with anti-hate or humorous messages. NCC President Mark Erickson soon joined in the dance party.
“We can’t kick them off because it’s public property,” Erickson said, “But I love that [the students are] responding with an energetic, positive activity.”
Another woman with a megaphone told students that they weren’t bad people for walking away from the group. She warned students that it was a ploy for money. If violence were to break out against the group, she said they would most likely sue the student, as well as the college, and told the students to go back to their classes to avoid giving the group the negative attention they were trying to provoke.
The student affairs staff, campus security and township police acted as facilitators so students could freely express their opinions, without things getting out of hand.
“I think it really shows you can’t fight hate with hate,” Journalism major Vianca Diaz said. “I just love to see everybody getting together and overriding the hate they’re trying to [push] on us.”
After a couple hours, the crowd turned away from provocation and many gathered in the gym, where students shared and spoke about peace, love and diversity.
“They tried to make it a negative event, but it turned out to be awesome,” student Jack Wakely said. “Hellfire and fear became a hell of a party.”