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Evangelist incites angry student response on UA Mall


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MATT ROBLES / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Traveling evangelist Jed Smock preaches to a crowd of students at the Alumni Plaza yesterday afternoon. Smock made several statements that many students felt were extremely offensive.
By Aubrey McDonnell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
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A man was nearly arrested after he allegedly pushed a woman and incited angry reactions from at least 50 students in the Alumni Plaza yesterday.

Jed Smock began preaching to students while sitting on the Heritage Hill of the Alumni Plaza at noon.

It is not unusual to see evangelists preaching to students in this area on school days, but when Smock began spouting racist and derogatory remarks about women, students got angry and "preached" back.

"He kept calling women whore-mongers, and he said that women are only good for making babies," said Elizabeth Webster, a political science senior. "I have been offended by the majority of what he has said."

Webster got into a heated debate with Smock and later accused him of pushing her.

Police showed up around 6 p.m. to question Smock after receiving a complaint from the crowd and also to look into Webster's accusation.

"This is not a case where charges will be filed," said Sgt. Rolf Averill of the University of Arizona Police Department. "This is a disturbance with peace restored, and there is no evidence of criminal activity where someone would be arrested."

Smock later shared a story about his days in a fraternity. He told his student audience about the different tactics he would use to get women into bed.

The audience began chanting "rapist" after he finished the story of his college womanizing.

"From the point of view of being in a fraternity, this is a terrible reflection on us," said Rob Rothstein, a business sophomore and a member of the Kappa Alpha fraternity. "Our house is all about respect for women."

Smock went on about the reasoning for his disgust of women. "I am 62 years old, and I still have women trying to seduce me," Smock said.

Smock said he is an unsanctioned Methodist from Missouri who is married and has five daughters.

Webster said she was later pushed by Smock when he was attempting to step up from the sidewalk onto the higher part of the grass.

Smock had plenty to say about other religious groups as well.

"He said that Jews are only good for making bagels," said Danny Ordell, a pre-business freshman, and a pledge for Beta Theta Pi, a Jewish fraternity.

The students dispersed peacefully, but still had anger in their hearts.

"Free speech is one thing," said Rothstein. "Free slander is another."



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