Campus groups rally in response to "You Deserve Rape" sign

Justin Schecker, Cory Marshall

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Campus groups rally in response to "You Deserve Rape" sign

CREATED Apr. 30, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - One sign slinging student's three little words have fueled big backlash.

University of Arizona students and self-proclaimed preacher, Dean Saxton is at it again. This time, people -- students and staff -- fought back with well, fighting words. The counter protest took place Tuesday in front of the school's administration building.

"I'm out here to proclaim God's law. The bible says that women should dress modestly and that there are punishments for the sexually immoral," U of A student and self-proclaimed preacher, Dean Saxton said.

"The reason that you're doing this is for your own religious beliefs. Do you think that people understand that with the signs that you have?" Nine On Your Side's Cory Mashall asked Saxton.

"Yeah, totally. I'm known as the Christian on this campus," Saxton said.

Campus groups, led by The Women's Interests Collaborative, organized Tuesday's protest to show Saxton's message doesn't reflect what the U of A stands for.

"I see him with a ridiculous sign. I'm being just as ridiculous to show him what he is doing to push students to the brink," student Courtney Brock said.

"This is one instance where his freedom of speech and other people's right to feel safe on their campus clearly come into conflict," another student said.

According to the Facebook page, the "You Deserve" event is to show the campus is one of "love, respect, inclusion and support.

Catherine Leister is a junior at the U of A. Leister tells Nine On Your Side she was raped the summer before her sophomore year.

"This is why I'm glad to see all these people protesting and holding up these signs, because now, people will know this isn't an environment where that kind of thing can flourish," Leister said.

Students and staff showed outrage and anger but Saxton is well within his rights.

"The student code of conduct says that nothing in that code should be interpreted that's taking away people's free speech or press or petition," U of A Media Law Professor, Kevin Kemper said.

"Is it very offensive? Yes, but it's provoked a great discussion."

Saxton told Nine On Your Side he stands by his message, saying it is a matter of free speech and he doesn't have to apologize to anyone.
In a statement, the University calls the message "vile and repugnant," but it does acknowledge the student's right to free speech.