Group requests protest at Carson memorial

March 15, 2008 5:07:41 PM PDT
UNC Chapel Hill officials are responding to a controversial group's request to picket a campus memorial for slain student body president Eve Carson on Tuesday.

A controversial church in Kansas known for picketing the funerals of soldiers has posted plans on its Web site and contacted UNC Chapel Hill officials about picketing Carson's memorial.

The group, Westboro Baptist Church or WBC, writes on its Web site "thank God for another dead college student and God hates American colleges."

The statements are making an already emotional situation even more difficult.

"The death of a student is devastating and anyone that would come not to pay respects is just a repugnant human being," UNC visitor, Jennifer Deroberti said.

"I don't think it's a great form for this, it's something I'm sure the parents and everyone on the campus do not want, but they have a right to be here," Raleigh resident, Kyle Peterson added.

The group does have the right to assemble on campus in certain spaces according to university policy.

In a written statement, UNC officials say WBC representatives did contact the public safety department last week requesting a protest site, police protection and a secure route for rapid retreat.

The school did not deny the request to protest, but said because of safety concerns picketers would only have access to McCorkle Place.

The area is a good distance from the Dean Smith Center where Carson memorial will happen. School officials say the group declined their offer of an alternate site.

In the past, WBC protestors have announced plans to picket events that they never showed up to.


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