news   |   crime & courts

Campus preacher issued trespass warning at Woodburn Hall


Brother Jed is led away by IU Police Department officers Sept. 11 outside Woodburn Hall. Students in the crowd shouted questions back and took photos while he preached. The 76-year-old preacher, whose real name is George Smock, was issued a trespass warning after allegedly pushing a man. CORRECTION: A previous version of this caption stated Brother Jed was led away in handcuffs, and issued a trespass warning after pushing a man. The IDS regrets this error. Courtesy Photo Buy Photos

Brother Jed was issued a trespass warning Wednesday by the IU Police Department after allegedly pushing a man outside Woodburn Hall.

The 76-year-old preacher, whose real name is George Smock, and his 61-year-old wife, Cindy Smock, better known as Sister Cindy, were conducting their open-air, confrontational evangelism preaching on IU’s campus yesterday. Brother Jed said in an interview with the IDS he has been preaching at IU nearly every year since 1974.

“Of course, the vast majority of students vehemently disagree with my stance on the Bible,” Brother Jed said. “They don’t like us speaking out against the immorality and general party life and drunkenness that prevails on campus.”

IUPD Capt. Craig Munroe said IUPD received a call about a physical altercation at 12:16 p.m. outside of Woodburn Hall. He said the caller alleged Sister Cindy made physical contact with a student counter-protester.

IUPD officers were then dispatched to the area outside Woodburn Hall. Munroe said the complainant had already left the crowd when officers arrived.

Brother Jed denied that his wife physically touched anyone and said he believed the reason the police were called was in response to a student.

 “A chubby, slovenly -dressed boy was going through the crowd shouting, ‘Hail Satan,’” Brother Jed said.

He said the counter-protester invaded his wife’s personal space and lunged at him. Brother Jed said the crowd then restrained the man, and he left.

Munroe said after arriving at the scene, the officers then observed the preaching and crowd of people around the couple. He said a man entered the inner circle of the crowd and kissed another man. Munroe said the officer said he saw Brother Jed then gently push one of the men.

Brother Jed said there were several same-sex people kissing one another, and he told the IDS he thought it was absurd to say he shoved one of them. 

“I think they were just making that up,” Brother Jed said. “I think they were just looking for a reason to get rid of me.”

Brother Jed said the claim was ridiculous,and he denied shoving people. When asked if he made physical contact with anyone, he was unsure.

“I might’ve touched him I don’t know,” Brother Jed said. “He was touching me. We were touching one another. He lunged at me.” 

Munroe said the officers let the couple preach and waited for a break in between classes to remove the speaker.

Brother Jed said two officers grabbed him by the arm and escorted him back to their vehicle and issued him a trespass warning. IUPD left the scene at 1:38 p.m. 

Munroe said the trespass warning was in response to violence and not his subject of speech on campus. 

“Physical violence is not covered by the First Amendment,” Munroe said. “We will defend people’s First Amendment rights.”

Brother Jed said he believed the trespass warning was a matter of free speech.

“I’m 76 years old and my wife is 61. I’m not about to start a fight with a 20-year-old college student. I’m not going to get very far,” Brother Jed said.

Munroe said the trespass warning advised Brother Jed not to return to the west side of Woodburn Hall for a year and that he could try to appeal it.

Brother Jed said he and his wife have an appointment at 4 p.m. Friday to appeal the trespass warning.

Brother Jed told the IDS he was unaware the trespass warning only applied to the west side of Woodburn Hall. He said he was told he was subject to arrest if he was walking around campus. If the trespass warning only applies to that area, Brother Jed said he will definitely return to campus to preach. 

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

More in News

Comments powered by Disqus