The Return of Brother Dean
Brother Dean Saxton speaks on campus on Sept. 28 for the first time since last year, when he was banned for assaulting a student in September of 2016.
Brother Dean Saxton returned to campus on Thursday, Sept. 28 to continue preaching to crowds of hundreds of students, his year-long ban from campus over.
Saxton’s return marks a year and one week after he kicked Mackenzie Brandt, a criminal justice studies sophomore. Saxton was subsequently charged with assault and banned from campus for a year.
With the ban lifted, Saxton returned, preaching about how Muslims are terrorists, homosexuality is a sin, and if students wear yoga pants they “deserve rape”.
Students had mixed reactions to his return, ranging from speaking up to literally spitting in his face.
Kayla Jones, a global studies sophomore, jumped up next to Saxton to hold up a sign that said “Textbooks are Expensive,” with a dollar in her hand. Students laughed and some even gave her money.
“I feel like something simple like this, where it’s not attacking his views or directly aimed at him, is a controlled version of protest that could alleviate the situation or at least not make it worse,” Jones said. “If he wants to complain about what he thinks is wrong, I would also like to compare what I think is wrong, which are his views, and my views on textbooks.”
Astronomy freshman Bailey Watts also stood on the steps beside Saxton to try to encourage the crowd not to listen to him, reasoning that by giving Saxton attention, students were giving him a platform to speak.
“I’m not usually vocal about a lot of things, if you saw me up there I was trembling in my legs because I hate public speech but I felt like I had a right to stand up there and tell people, ‘Hey, there’s another way to not feed him into what he wants, and he wants the crowd to hate him so he has a chance to say what he needs to say,’” Watts said. “If you don’t give him that chance he doesn’t need to be here.
However, some students had a very negative reaction to Saxton, including film junior Daniela Sanchez. When she engaged Saxton, he told her to “Go back to Mexico” if she didn’t like free speech.
“I’m very frustrated because this is not the Christian dynamic whatsoever,” Sanchez said. “I spread love and peace and all that, and that’s what God has always done. He’s (God) never passed judgement at all, and if he (Saxton) read the Bible he would know that.”
Multiple people didn’t think Saxton actually believed in what he was preaching, noting he couldn’t quote Bible verses back to the crowd when asked. Neuroscience freshman Alexandra Johnson asked him to quote Matthew 7:12, the source of the Golden Rule, which Saxton seemed unwilling, or unable, to do.
“He’s obviously not a real Christian, he’s a YouTuber, I’ve seen his content before, so he’s just here to antagonize people,” Brandon Lewis, neuroscience junior, said. “The best thing to do is to realize he’s not a real person, he’s an actor at most, and that we’re an educated group that knows what to do in allowing him to speak in a peaceful manner.”
Saxton declared many people were going to the “Lake of Fire.” The entire crowd chanted Saxton’s term for Hell whenever he said it.
Tensions in the crowd continued to rise until a community member, Kevin Shay, stepped up to where Saxton was.
“I checked with a few sources and I found out that spitting in his face once isn’t going to do any harm so I spit in his fucking face,” Shay said.
Saxton, who carried a camera and mini-tri-pod as he spoke, recorded everything and hinted that another Vice Media documentary about him was in the works.
Megan Dulaney, a junior majoring in literacy, learning, and leadership, liked the campus environment better when he wasn’t here.
“[Students could] walk freely to class,” Dulaney said. “Without [the hate preachers] a lot of people felt more comfortable being here.”
Brant is disappointed to see Saxton back on campus.
“I don’t think anyone truly understands the feeling of having to walk by a man who physically kicked them in the chest everyday while they are on their way to class,” Brandt said. “Brother Dean is a disruption to the education here on campus and it’s sad and disappointing to know he is allowed back to continue to constantly spread his hateful views. I know I’m not alone when I say I am very upset, angry and scared that this man is back on campus and I hope that he doesn’t assault anyone else on campus like he did to me.”
When asked what he had been up to for the last year, Saxton just said, “[I’ve] just been around.”
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