Preacher's Banner Taken
Preacher's Sign Stolen
The Alligator and Campus Communications
A University of Florida student was arrested for stealing a Turlington Plaza minister's sign, which read "Beware queer university," Friday afternoon.
Jennifer Arce, 23, approached campus evangelist David Miller from behind, snatched the sign and fled on foot toward University Avenue on Newell Road, where she was stopped by University Police.
Miller, who was detained by UPD on Nov. 10 for disturbing nearby classes while preaching, chased after Arce, yelling, "Catch that thief! Beware of thief!" said witness Lauren Dobson.
Arce ran through Turlington Plaza, past a game of 4-square being played by about 30 students, who cheered her on.
Miller pursued her while calling UPD on his cell phone, Dobson said.
Several students watched them run down the road to University Avenue, where two police cars were waiting to arrest Arce.
"They put her in handcuffs and put her in the police car," Dobson said. "Students who walked by and saw the situation began yelling at the preacher, calling him a homophobe and a jerk."
After giving the police a sworn complaint of what happened, Miller went back out to Turlington to continue preaching about 40 minutes later, said witness Randolph Hawkins, who was tabling on Turlington at the time.
"I came a first time, they throw me in handcuffs in a car for 30 minutes," Miller said to about 50 students after the incident in Turlington Plaza.
"I came a second time, someone steals my sign, and I have to chase her halfway across the campus - off campus even. She physically assaulted me."
Miller said he was protesting the school's attitude toward homosexuality because he feels that dormitories are "recruitment grounds" for homosexuals.
Miller said he first heard about this "recruiting" from his daughter, a resident assistant at Mallory Hall.
Resident assistants are encouraged to refer any student who has homosexual thoughts to homosexual groups, which perpetrates homosexuality, he said.
Miller said he is on Turlington preaching because UF created the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Affairs department last year. He said the campus attitude toward homosexuality is "disturbing."
After preaching for about an hour, Miller said he was going to meet with Eugene Zdziarski, dean of students, in order to try and get the LGBT Affairs department disbanded.
Arce was arrested on felony charges of robbery by sudden snatching, said UPD spokesman Lt. Joe Sharkey. The case will be reviewed by the State Attorney's Office.
Arce also is being investigated by Judicial Affairs in the matter.
Arce declined to comment.
Hawkins, who watched the incident, said the situation was very interesting and shocking.
"You always see those guys out there but that was very different from how it usually ends up happening," Hawkins said.
Posted by Editor at November 26, 2005 09:34 AM