UPDATED ON NOV. 7, 2019 AT 5:30 P.M.
CHENEY, Wash. - Eastern Washington University issued a statement Thursday night following an afternoon of protests and counter-protests in the campus mall.
In a release from EWU President Mary Cullinan, the university applauded the a group of students who "expressed their right to free speech and counter-protested."
According to the statement, the use of EWU's public spaces to exercise your first amendment right is covered under WAC 172-141: Use of Outdoor Areas for First Amendment Activities.
Protesters who originally showed up to the campus to preach were legally allowed to do so, as were the student's who counter-protested.
Below is the rest of the statement made by EWU President Mary Cullinan:
At Eastern Washington University, we are committed to being diverse and inclusive—and to upholding freedom of expression and first amendment principles.
We are also deeply committed to the safety and security of all members of our campus community. I’m thankful that today the EWU campus police, as well as supporting officers from Cheney, Spokane, and the Spokane County Sheriff’s office, helped to ensure a safe environment.
I have asked our Student Affairs leadership to identify opportunities to engage students on approaches for assembling peacefully and expressing opinions in a lawful and respectful manner.
Today we saw one of the rights of our Constitution unfold in real time. Our students and campus community members exercised their right to speak freely and also supported one another.
It is events like these that test our commitments and values. I deeply appreciate all the work that our faculty, staff, and students do to ensure that our Eastern Washington University campuses are inclusive and safe places for us all to work and study.
CHENEY, Wash. - One man is in police custody after he allegedly assaulted a female student while protesting on Eastern Washington University's campus mall Thursday.
According to the Eastern Washington University Police Department, the man arrived with two other men to preach religious messages about homosexuality and the bible in the campus mall.
Students on campus allege the men were making racist, anti-LGBTQ and hateful comments to students while holding signs that echoed their statements and featured bible verses.
EWU students who disagreed with the messages being shouted started gathering in front of the three men, telling them to leave campus.
EWU Campus Police Officers were called in to separate the groups of protestors and counter-protestors when things began to escalate.
Additional agencies were called in for back up, including the Associated Students of Eastern Washington University President who called for the EWU counter-protesters to disperse and avoid giving the group of men the platform they wanted.
According to the EWU Campus Police Department, one student was taken away in handcuffs but was later released and was not charged.
The original protestor who allegedly assaulted a student attempted to flee campus but was later found and arrested.