Live Blogging | All-campus Westboro Baptist Church Reaction Meeting, February 11, 2013

9:55pm | UpC is beginning to fill up; there appear to be roughly 150 people in attendance at this time. Assistant Director for Campus Life Judy Jarvis is in the room.

10:01  | Attendance has grown to at least 200 people, mostly students. Attendees have formed a semi-circle on the floor in UpC’s lower atrium.

10:10 | “I feel like Barack Obama has just been re-elected,” joked Cory Epstein ’12, remarking on the meeting’s great attendance. He hopes that Vassar can be proactive in its efforts to counter the Church’s protest.

10:15 | Representatives of CARES are reminding students that they are available to students who may be feeling emotional distress as a result of WBC’s planned protest.

10:17 | Organizers are outlining the rules for the meeting, which include “be concise”, “speak from the heart”, and “assume best intent”.

10:25 | The VSA Vice President for Operations Deb Steinberg ’14 announces that the meeting will move into small groups managed by facilitators.

10:29 | The groups of twenty to thirty students are discussing their reactions, and ideas for how the Vassar community should react. One student has suggested that Vassar should take this opportunity to raise awareness beyond Vassar by fundraising.

11:04 | The room is coming back together. Each group has prepared some highlights from their conversations to present the the full audience.

11:07 | A recurring theme is inclusion; attendees hope that the message from Vassar is not anti-religious, but a unifying message for the entire community.

11:13 | Several students were also concerned with the risk of legal repercussions. Presenters urge students to remain peaceful and organized.

11:20 | The Vassar fundraiser at the Trevor Project, an organization dedicated to suicide prevention among members of the LGBTQ community, has just reached $9000.

11:25 | The meeting is adjourned.