A resident assistant at a Catholic college was escorted from his dorm to a secure location by campus police after he was threatened by students and other RAs on staff, LifeSiteNews reported.
The incident began on March 1 after Michael Smalanskas, a senior and RA at Providence College in Rhode Island, displayed a pro-traditional marriage poster on a bulletin board displayed on the hall of his dormitory building, Saint Joseph’s Hall.
“Marriage: The Way God Intended It, One Man One Woman” the poster read.
It also included a photo of a bride and groom in a church, a Bible verse that reads “And they shall become one flesh…,” and a quote from Pope Francis: “We must reaffirm the right of children to grow up with a mother and a father.”
— Ocean State Current (@TheCurrent_RI) March 15, 2018
Smalanskas instantly faced severe backlash from his classmates for the poster.
“I immediately (started) getting all sorts of harassing text messages,” Smalanskas told LifeSiteNews. “I couldn’t even go brush my teeth for several nights without facing a mob in my hallway.”
Smalanskas explained that in a “total abuse of their power,” RAs used their position in order to threaten and intimidate him.
They were “keying into the building after hours. They let themselves into the building and started milling around and they ripped down (the poster),” he said. “I am an employee of the college, and these are other employees of the college behaving this way.”
As the mob outside his room grew, campus police grew concerned for Smalanskas’ safety and offered to move him to another location for the night.
Besides the threatening mob, Smalanskas also received an anonymous threat of rape.
Police informed Smalanskas that they found a cartoon in a restroom depicting him being anally raped by another male student, Campus Reform reported. “Mike, what did I say about putting your sign up?” the attacker in the cartoon is depicted as saying.
As noted above, Providence is a Catholic college — and is run by the Dominican order’s Province of St. Joseph.
However, the administrators and leadership of the college have not come to Smalanskas’ defense for espousing the traditional Catholic view of marriage.
“(I)t belongs to a Catholic college to consider the views of those who disagree with the Church’s teaching,” the college’s president, President Fr. Brian Shanley, wrote in a campus wide email in response to the controversy.
The school’s chaplain, tasked with helping students, did not defend Smalanskas either.
“I said to call the chaplain’s office,” Smalanskas explained. But the priest “didn’t even want to come. When he did finally show up, he basically begged and pleaded with me to ‘graduate in peace’…he told me that I was ‘throwing culture bombs.’”
On March 12, Smalanskas and his faculty adviser Dr. James Keating met with Vice President of Student Affairs Kristine Goodwin, Vice President of Mission and Ministry Fr. R. Gabriel Pivarnik, O.P., and the school’s attorney, LifeSiteNews reported.
Smalanskas said he asked the administrators to denounce the “malicious acts” against him, “to publicly affirm the mission of the college as being consistent with the content of the bulletin board, and publicly affirm that freedom of speech would be protected on campus.”
Smalanskas said they refused to comply with any of the three requests.
Instead, Goodwin sent student leaders an email encouraging them to attend a pro-LGBT march being organized in response to Smalanskas’ bulletin board.
“There’s a tremendous double standard when it comes to Catholic teaching or conservative views,” Smalanskas explained. “They are just not protected in the same way” as other beliefs.
“There had been a pro-lesbian bulletin board up for the entire month of February in one of the female residence halls,” he said.
Smalanskas said he may pursue a lawsuit in the light of the threat of rape made against him.
It’s “a Title IX issue now,” he explained. “(A) lawsuit’s not off the table by any stretch.”
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