Report: Penn Used Maintenance Workers to Drown Out Christian Protesters

Penn's student newspaper says leaf blowers and maintenance vehicles were used to muffle religious protesters on campus.

Penn’s campus is frequently full of protesters. When I was in school there, student protests generally consisted of anti–Iraq War campouts, Israel/Palestine protests (on both sides), and, of course, anti–affirmative action “bake sales” from College Republicans. But students on campus are a captive audience, and so you’d also often get protesters with banners of aborted fetuses, Lyndon Larouche followers passing out incomprehensible literature, and Brother Steven, a near-daily presence who was later accused of soliciting sex from a minor.

Brother Steven would preach against gays and lesbians and promiscuity in general, and this year similar preachers have gathered on Penn’s campus. The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that three times this school year Christian preachers have been on campus “railing against Muslims, the LGBTQ community, and Jews.” (“Got AIDS yet?” one of the signs said, which I guess is a “Got milk?” reference.)

But, the paper reports, this time Penn did something different. A maintenance worker told a reporter from the paper he was directed to park a vehicle nearby. The maintenance vehicle was loud enough to drown out the protests.

Penn denied it sent maintenance workers to cover up the rhetoric from the preachers, who were unaffiliated with the university. But orange maintenance vehicles showed up again when the preachers moved from Van Pelt Library to Steinberg-Dietrich Hall, a Wharton building.

The DP also reported maintenance workers with leaf blowers — in January! — were nearby the protesters. Penn, again, denied it was any specific attempt to drown out the protesters.