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Open Letter to Vandals from East Central SSA

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Below is a letter written into the college newspaper at East Central University as a response to constant flyer vandalism. It was written by Sarah Erwin, president of the SSA student group at that campus.

An Open Letter from the Secular Student Alliance at East Central University

"A wise man once said, “True religion, like our founding principles, requires that the rights of the disbeliever be equally acknowledged with those of the believer.” A. Powell Davies was an advocate for equality, diversity, and tolerance. He was also the Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church.

Have Christians forgotten about turning the other cheek and treating others how they want to be treated? As President of the Secular Student Alliance, I have witnessed first hand discrimination and intolerance towards the non-religious student body.

A day has not gone by that I do not have to replenish our signs that have been torn down and thrown away. I only hope that the offenders are at least recycling the paper. Does free speech not extend to the atheists and agnostics?

I believe in tolerance for every group. Daily, I am affronted by churches, prayer flyers, and other perspectives with which I do not necessarily agree. However, I encourage and welcome any challenges to my own perspective in order to better understand myself. I would hope my classmates would afford the Secular Student Alliance at ECU the same rights. Challenging views and critical examination of one’s beliefs is a critical learning component, and we could all learn from each other.

Many of our flyers have been vandalized with messages of Jesus. One even had an advertisement for the Z Tree on it. We have received no apologies from any Christian group, even though our e-mail is available on these flyers. Is this behavior tolerated, or worse, encouraged by the leaders of local churches? The Secular Student Alliance at ECU is a group of open-minded individuals who would never condone violating the information of a church or any other groups’ advertisements.

This message is a call for all tolerant people to stand against the actions taken to hinder our minority group. Please, let us know that there are tolerant Christians and students on East Central’s campus. Our mission is not to take away the faith of anyone, but to protect and support the non-religious minority. I ask that everyone be allowed to be a part of the student body in a respectful, open discussion."

This is a great example of how to write a response to the all-too-common flyer vandalism going on at colleges and universities across the country. Feel free to use this as a model for your group or just use it for inspiration.

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