You’re at the mall and make the mistake of walking too close to the perfume salesperson.
You end up getting sprayed in the hopes that the smell will be so alluring you will have to break down and buy a bit for yourself.
The problem is that you went to the mall for a specific reason and being accosted by a sales rep and smelling of Chanel No. 5 wasn’t on your list. You can’t breathe and people avoid getting too close because even a good smell goes wrong when you basically bathe in it. Now, you won’t buy it, even if you liked the fragrance, just because of this one bad experience.
Emporia State’s Memorial Union Main Street has become host to a number of groups that have been taking a “mall sales rep” approach with their passion about their group’s messages. When the Gideons stake out the courtyard between Plumb Hall and the MU, there is no way of avoiding their direct, some might even say aggressive, methods. Averting our eyes and looking the other way doesn’t help when one of these gentlemen steps directly in our path to insisting we want one of their miniature Bibles.
The men of Gideon set themselves up in such a way that you have to pass by at least two members in any given direction and each one will ask you to take a Bible. If you take a Bible on your way in, they will still ask you to take a Bible on your way out.
Students all over campus are racking up collections of tiny bibles just to get away from men who ignore obvious signals of uninterest. At the point where people take whatever you are offering just to get away, your message has become moot and your methods are overkill.
Last week the Pro-Life Ambassadors had a table in the MU Main Street with what appeared to be a survey asking if abortion should continue to be legal.
Students that stopped to take the survey were soon dragged into a sticky situation, complete with pictures of unborn children, in which fellow students made insistent attempts to get waylaid individuals to agree not just in part, but to the entire belief of the pro-life stance. (Note: We are not arguing for or against abortion because some of The Bulletin staff is pro-life, while others are pro-choice, but rather the method by which they tried to convey their message).
There is nothing wrong with being passionate about your cause and having a drive to get your message known and educate people. However, dominating a 20-minute or hour-long conversation in the hallway of a university building is probably not going to sway people into changing their beliefs. In fact, it may even deem you as hostile. When proponents of a cause are uncomfortable with the methods being used to further that cause, the group has gone too far.
Avoiding high traffic areas of campus in an attempt to escape being verbally accosted should never be a factor in setting our schedules. We encourage the diversity of groups that bring their passion and drive to our campus. However, when passion turns into forcefulness, a line has been crossed. We discourage any group that intentionally transgresses on personal space in order to force pushes their beliefs on the students, staff, and faculty of ESU.