College Republicans protest protest
Published: Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 16:04
The rodeo throwdown between animal rights activists and the College of Republicans took place on Friday, April 13th.
This year, UTM hosted their 44th Annual Collegiate Rodeo. In years before, there have been protesters against this rodeo, and this year the UTM College Republicans brought out a counter-protest. The idea of a counter-protest came from their vice-president Cody Self, a Senior Agriculture major.
Self felt as if it was unusual that a group here on campus would protest against a student activity such as the rodeo, especially one as special and important to the city of Martin. They conducted a counter-protest with free barbecue, which was located along the sidewalk from the main entrance to the Agriculture Center outside of the roped-off area.
“For several years since Cody and I have been here at UT Martin, we have noticed that the animal rights activists have frequently protested the UT Martin rodeo. We thought that this was sending the wrong message to one of UT Martin’s many fine athletic programs that we have, and one that is so cherished by UTM and our community, that students and faculty would protest against their program. This year, we decided to stage a counter-protest, to show UT Martin and our community that there are students who very much support the rodeo and do not condemn the activities that they choose to participate in,” said College Republicans President Grant Monroe, a Senior Political Science major.
Their choice of counter protesting against the animal civil rights activist was no other than ingenious.
“We chose the barbecue mainly for the media attention. We could’ve came out here with our signs and have chants but this sets an image. We chose to barbecue because of the obvious satire that would be in the nature of the event. What would be more compelling as a way to show our disappointment with the animal rights activists than by having a barbecue? This was done to draw attention to our message,” Monroe said.
The republicans made their view on their counter protest clear as day, hoping that their message sticks out and lets the rest of UTM know they are willing to speak out for something they believe in.
“We are hoping that this event will help our organization grow, by showing the campus that we are active and that we are standing up for the things that we believe in. We hope to enforce the message, primarily to the Rodeo team, that there are far more students than not that support their organization and thank them for their contribution to our campus and our community,” Monroe said.
“This was our first year to conduct a counter-protest, and was done out of the continuous lack of respect and support that the animal rights activists show one of our most cherished athletic teams. While we fully support their right to protest, we have the right to disagree with them, and we thought it best to show our disagreement with the barbecue.
Whether or not it will be continuous will be up to future College Republican officers - but I would suggest that as long as the animal rights activists choose to demonstrate, we should choose to grill. My personal opinion is that the counter-protest barbecue, while satirical in nature, has a very serious message. The College Republicans support the rodeo team and we want to show UT Martin that students support the rodeo.
While some may disagree and choose to publicly humiliate themselves by protesting one of the oldest traditions UT Martin has, far more people support the rodeo team than do not,” Monroe said.
Without any opposition the College Republicans surely won this throwdown, with a message the people of Martin will never forget. They are ones that will stand up for their beliefs and this barbecue proves it.