An arrest, throwing water bottles and students with tears in their eyes only begin to describe the results of “Saint Ross” on campus last week.
“Saint Ross”, actually named Ross Jackson, left many students in emotional distress after preaching his views of religion on campus.
“I feel like he has his own agenda, and he feels like it’s important to inform other people, but how he’s going about it is toxic,” said mechanical engineering technology major Nick Meyers.
“I walked out of class and was smacked in the face with someone yelling at people trying to speak their minds,” said Brittany Manor, an early childhood major. Going in to give her opinion and listen to the opinions of others, Manor found difficulty in getting her opinion through to Jackson.
Because Manor felt Jackson would not listen to any students’ opinions on what he was preaching, Manor decided to leave shortly after speaking her mind. “My mind is willing to be changed, but he did not change my mind,” said Manor.
“I pulled [my friend] over and kissed her in front of him and he just did this over dramatic, pretending to vomit act, being super hateful,” said human services major Kathryn Legg.
Legg felt urged to speak with Jackson when she heard him expressing his views that homosexuals are going to hell. Being openly pansexual, Legg decided to kiss her friend in front of Jackson to stand up for her beliefs.
“I feel like if he really wanted to go to a school to preach, he should go to one that’s not as diverse as this. He would get a way better turn out and more support if he was at a school that wasn’t as liberal as Hudson Valley,” said Legg.
Tiana Miller, an individual studies student, found the manner in which Jackson expressed his beliefs offensive to many students on campus. “This whole homophobic environment is really aggravating. It’s extremely degrading to a majority of the population here,” said Miller.
Brittany Palmer, an individual studies major, said, “Yesterday, he was more attacking individuals and going after themselves rather than a general statement, and it’s too screwed up. If I saw anybody getting personally attacked again, I probably step in again.”
After Jackson referred to himself as “Saint Ross,” students began to question how he was a saint and began asking him to cure their diseases. HVAC technical services major Donald Ienco asked Jackson if he could cure his disease, and got no response from Jackson.
“I have cancer, Leukemia, and him saying [he is a saint] is falsifying proof and giving false hope to all the people around the world,” said Ienco.
Jackson, who kept a large portion of his speaking addressing homosexuality, was telling Hudson Valley students, “If I was the president of the United States, one segregation act I would do is I would quarantine all the homosexuals into northern California.”
Students like Meyers tried to listen to Jackson’s beliefs with an open mind, but left with his opinion untouched.
“No one’s opinion here has really been changed, all it’s done is really stir up anger.”
Besides stirring up anger in students with his opinions on religion, Meyers felt that a majority of Jackson’s claims were factually wrong. “He doesn’t believe plants are living things and that Michael Jackson isn’t dead. He said that marijuana isn’t a living things it’s part of sorcery,” said Meyers.
Wyatt Carbonneau, a physical education major, is a Christian who was watching Jackson in the pavilion. “[He is missing] everything about love,” said Carbonneau.
“He never brings up God’s love, God’s sovereignty over things, anything like that. He never brings up the major points of the Gospel; he’s just generalizing and preaching nonsense.”
Destiny Pezzolla, a computer science major, decided to come out just to irritate Jackson by making remarks in favor of homosexuality. She also made a sign to be ironic that said, “Pray the gay away.”
“I figured whatever you say, he’s not going to change his mind, so there’s no purpose in getting angry with him because that’s just going to be negative to yourself,” said Pezzolla.
On Thursday, the second day Jackson came to campus, Hudson Valley Peace Officers put up chains around Jackson. Students like Brittany Palmer, an individual studies major, found the addition of the chains unnecessary.
“No one’s gonna’ actually physically assault him. I know yesterday when him and I were having a conversation, he stepped too close to me and he backed away, so I don’t think anything would get to a physical level where there needs to be security here,” said Palmer.
Besides his comments on homosexuality, liberal arts major Fatima Hussain claims Jackson made comments to her about being Muslim.
“We asked him a question about what his thoughts on Muslims are, and he said when Muslim women go to the beach, they wear Halloween costumes or blankets,” said Hussain.
Hussain feels that someone should have a better grasp of information if they’re coming to a college campus to preach or speak.
“I feel like if you’re preaching, you should at least get your facts straight and actually know the name of the clothing. It’s called a burka,” she said.
The general consensus from students about Jackson’s presence on campus is he was distracting and overly offensive to be on a college campus.
“I think [Saint Ross] is completely ignorant and completely inappropriate,” said Ienco.