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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Extremist preacher sparks outrage at Stony Brook

Students gathered around the Student Activity Center on Tuesday, April 16, holding up LGBTQ+ flags in front of Daniel Lee — a radical doomsday campus preacher. Lee travels to universities all over the United States to preach the message: repent, or burn in hell. GABRIELLA CAVALCANTE/THE STATESMAN

Early in the afternoon on Tuesday, April 16, a crowd formed outside the Stony Brook University Student Activity Center to bear witness to an extremist preacher.

The preacher — Daniel Lee — arrived at Stony Brook University with a large sign, a backpack and a GoPro strapped to his chest at around 11 a.m. for the second day in a row. For about two hours, he preached to students about the end of the world and spewed hate speech against various minority groups. He was met with pride flags, counter-protest signs and a determined student body.

Lee has a long history of arrests for various misdemeanors spanning across two decades, including stalking, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct, according to a background report that was shared on the online forum r/sbu.

He also has a history of preaching at different universities. A video taken on March 23, 2024 showed him being physically assaulted by a student at Ohio University, and a video posted to Instagram on April 10 shows him preaching at Binghamton University.

As the crowd became larger, he introduced himself to students. “I’m a servant of Christ,” Lee said.

Daniel told The Statesman that his “primary motive was to glorify God by teaching the gospel. My secondary motive is I hope students will hear what I’m saying, examine their lives and get born again.”

Nicky Ficco, a sophomore majoring in history, has witnessed Lee since he arrived on campus and was set on standing in solidarity with her peers.

“I will not be leaving until he leaves,” she said.

“Warning to all,” the sign read, listing a number of groups such as lesbians, Muslims, atheists, liars and baby murderers as sinners. “Hell awaits, judgment is coming,” his sign read.

Daniel Lee — a radical doomsday campus preacher — holding a sign that lists a number of groups such as lesbians, Muslims and atheists as sinners at the Student Activity Center on Tuesday, April 16. CHRISTOPHER YANG/THE STATESMAN

During a moment of relative calm, Lee spoke in a loud voice over the upset students. “Judaism is a sin,” he said.

He was quickly met with screams of disagreement and boos from students, who raised their signs higher in the air and shook them in protest.

Behind Lee, a group of students stood holding flags representing the LGBTQ+ community. One of the students, Artemiy Polyanskiy, a freshman majoring in applied mathematics and statistics, said that he decided to attend the event to show support for bisexual students. This was after Daniel claimed bisexuality was a sin.

“[I showed up] to be annoying, to show all our pride against this crap,” Polyanskiy said.

Stony Brook University faculty were also in the crowd. Hanna Nekvasil, a professor in the Department of Geosciences, mingled with students to show support.

“It’s hate speech, I don’t think it should be allowed on campus,” Nekvasil said.

Lee continued his controversial speech while students yelled at him to leave campus.

“The campus belongs to Jesus Christ,” he said. “Jesus Christ owns Long Island, Jesus Christ owns New York City, Jesus Christ owns New York State.”

As students became more rowdy and inched closer to Lee, officers from the University Police Department (UPD) asked them to move back and keep a safe distance away from him, at which point the crowd backed away.

UPD officers at the scene declined to comment on the situation, however, they educated the crowd on both Lee’s rights and the rights of the students present.

At around 1:15 p.m., an officer spoke to Lee who promptly packed up his belongings and began to make his way off campus with an escort from UPD and members of the religious Stony Brook organization, Brothers and Sisters in Christ (BASIC).

Zella Wright, the vice president of BASIC and a junior majoring in English, was one of the supporters speaking with Lee as he walked away.

“He came today, and he was preaching the gospel,” she said. “He was preaching about Jesus, repentance, these harsh topics that not a lot of people like to hear.”

Wright thought what Lee preached was truthful, including his statement that Judaism was a sin, but wasn’t sold on his delivery.

“In my opinion I would say his delivery of the gospel wasn’t the best,” she said. “But it wasn’t untrue.”

Lee was led to his car by officers. Left behind was a crowd of students, many of them hurt and angry from what they had just witnessed.

 

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About the Contributor
Sky Crabtree
Sky Crabtree, Assistant News Editor
Sky Crabtree is an Assistant News Editor for The Statesman and a sophomore studying journalism and political science. He joined the paper in the spring of 2023 as a news reporter and was promoted at the end of the same semester. Outside of The Statesman, he works as a news intern for WSHU Public Radio and hosts "The Political Corner," a segment on the Stony Brook Media Group's news show.
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  • M

    MatthewApr 25, 2024 at 9:43 pm

    The goal is not to be born again, the goal is to be born right once. Game plan for children 1) protect 2) educate 3) Pair with lifemate 4) mentor throughout their lives

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