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PROVO - Gay-advocate group Soulforce's second visit to Brigham Young University has produced more arrests.
Soulforce Equality Rider Kourt Osborn and his mother, Karel Allen, both of Kanab, were cited for trespassing Thursday when they entered BYU's campus. School officials had asked them not to.
Osborn and Allen were detained just before noon when they attempted to deliver to administrators a wooden box filled with a list of concerns from former and current gay BYU students about their treatment at the LDS Church-owned school.
"It is very powerful and moving to me personally because they did it as a family," said Equality Ride co-director Alexey Bulokhov. "This conversation is wanted and is hungered for by the BYU students."
Soulforce Equality Riders also plan to protest at the LDS Church-owned BYU-Idaho in Rexburg, Idaho, on April 16-17.
The two BYU stops are part of a beefed-up, two-month, two-bus nationwide tour where 56 Soulforce members will visit 34 colleges they believe discriminate against homosexuals.
Much like Soulforce's BYU stop last year, Thursday's arrests were expected.
After a short news conference, Osborn and Allen, who say they are no longer practicing members of the LDS Church, stood at the edge of campus while fellow Equality Rider and former BYU student Matt Kulisch offered a prayer.
The two were first greeted by Associate Dean of Students Jonathan Kau, who told them they would be subject to arrest and citation if they continued on University property.
They were then stopped and warned again by BYU police chief Larry Stott. They walked another 20 yards and were stopped by BYU officer Norm Soakai. After the two again refused to turn around, they were escorted to a waiting van and were taken back to their motel.
BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said officials knew where Soulforce members would enter campus, what they would be doing and that they would refuse to leave campus when asked.
"It was very clear to us that it was their intention to stage a demonstration," Jenkins said.
BYU student Jonathan Salls believes Soulforce's tactics are ineffective.
"Like last year, it will be talked about for a couple days, but it won't cause any kind of change," he said.
Soulforce members said they simply wanted to present the list of concerns to BYU's vice president of student life, Janet Scharman, and had hoped she would meet them halfway.
"These . . . need to be heard," Equality Ride co-director Haven Herrin said of the 55-page list that takes issue with the school's Honor Code. "There are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students here suffering in the closet."
Jenkins said no one was ever asked or invited to meet the group and take the list. She said visitors are welcome on campus, but not if they intend to use school grounds for demonstrations.
School administrators informed Soulforce prior to their visit they would not be allowed on campus, based on last year's visit, when 29 Equality Riders were arrested for protesting on campus.
Jenkins said the two individuals could have avoided the citations Thursday had they listened to BYU police officers.
"Our hope was that when we asked them to leave, they would turn around and leave," Jenkins said.
Equality Riders spent the rest of the afternoon marching around the border of campus in quiet protest.
What BYU's Honor Code says
The university "will respond to student behavior rather than to feelings or orientation. Students can be enrolled at the University and remain in good Honor Code standing if they maintain a current ecclesiastical endorsement and conduct their lives in a manner consistent with gospel principles and the Honor Code. Advocacy of a homosexual lifestyle (whether implied or explicit) or any behaviors that indicate homosexual conduct, including those not sexual in nature, are inappropriate and violate the Honor Code."