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Fraudulent “hate preacher” demonstrates on WCU campus

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The recent demonstration by Matthew 24 on campus and the reaction from WCU students raises issues of free speech and issues of school security. It also opens the group, Matthew 24 Ministries, to questions about its leadership.

On Monday, Sept. 25 and Tuesday, Sept. 26 members of Matthew 24 Ministries including Aden Rusfeldt appeared on the Academic Quad following an email reminder to students about the university’s policy concerning free speech. Roughly four members of the group stood holding signs containing messages such as, “Obey Jesus Or Hellfire” and “Got Aids Yet?” Some West Chester University students held a counter-protest in the surrounding area featuring sing-alongs and holding signs that read, “Unite, Include, Respect.” The Student Government Association, SGA, made an appearance as well, holding signs that said #WCUStands while providing poster space for students to write specifically what WCU does “not stand for.” Such examples included racism, homophobia, transphobia and sexism.

His group has appeared on various college campuses.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, CFTC, says in their March 27, 2008 press release 5475-08 that the CFTC acquired over $3 million “in a CFTC foreign currency (forex) anti-fraud action against Aden Rusfeldt and Rusfeldt Investments LLP, both of Dickinson, Texas,” stemming from, “a CFTC complaint filed on March 12, 2007, alleging fraud in connection with forex futures transactions.” The order required the defendants, Aden Rusfeldt and Rusfeldt Investments, “to jointly and severally pay $1,906,502.30 in restitution and orders Rusfeldt and Rusfeldt Investments to pay civil monetary penalties of $327,523 and $982,569 respectively.” The defendants were also prohibited from participating “in any commodity-related activity.”

A website called “Forex Peace Army” features a 2006 review from user, B. Schultz who said, “We lost approx. $142,000 with Aden Rusfeldt in 3 weeks, [November 24,2006] I invested with him because he told me he was a born again Christian.” This review was one of 97 reviews talking about Aden Rusfeldt. The majority of these comments were unfavorable.

The CFTC’s September 29, 2016 press release 7461-16 describes that resident of Vail, Arizona, Aden Rusfeldt, “fraudulently failed to disclose the prospective and current customers of his company, ETF Trend Trading, that he was prohibited from engaging in any commodity-interest related activity under a prior Court Order.”

Vail, Arizona is around a half hour away from Tucson, Arizona. LinkedIn features Aden Rusfeldt’s profile. In his description, it notes that he is from Tucson, Arizona and features the website Rusfeldt has since switched locations to the Key of David Christian Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

The previously mentioned 2016 press release provides a link to the document for the CFTC order pertaining to Aden Rusfeldt. This document says that four months after the 2008 Consent Order preventing him from participating in commodity-related activities, he opened Trend Trading under the name “Big A.” The document says that through Trend Trading he offered “services to more than 500 customers without disclosing that he was prohibited from engaging in such activity under the terms of the Consent Order,” and that he, “continued this misconduct until he sold Trend Trading in April 2015.”

After waiving a hearing the CFTC says that Rusfeldt was ordered to pay “restitution” of $2,238,170 plus interest, along with, “a civil monetary penalty” of $980,000.

Relating to the rhetoric of the campus demonstration, a BBC documentary directed by Hannah Livingston called “America’s Hate Preachers” followed “two of the country’s most radical Christian hate groups” for six months. One of these preachers was Pastor Steven Anderson. He was joined by Rusfeldt, who was referred to as Pastor Aden.

Freshman theatre major and activist Christina Davis was present at the scene of the protest with her guitar. She was playing music to divert student attention away from Matthew 24. Davis describes herself as a “not straight, Latina woman” living in “Trump’s America” who is affected by the protesters. She believes this group is empowered by Trump’s presidency, and has “walked through a door of bigotry,” which “makes it easier” for them to protest and attract attention.

Assistant professor of philosophy, Robert Main, said he chooses to utilize “critical thinking” and gives information to students to divert attention away from the protesters along with playing music. He said that he uses the concept of “punk” and how it is utilized by “making things into art” as a response to “hate and oppression.”

Treasurer of SGA, Rodney Kaplan, was also among the members of SGA at the protest standing by SGA’s table with #WCUStands signs. He said that the goal of SGA that day was to “mobilize to divert people away from the protesters,” and to let students know that they were accepted at West Chester University. He said that SGA “stands for the students” of West Chester, and has the resources to support students in difficult times such as these.

In response to the protesters, Student Government Association President Ryan Long has said that, “as a Student Government Association, we’re called to promote the growth and welfare of students while constantly working in the benefit of all students.” He hopes that students understand why the protesters come to campus. Long hopes that instead of “providing [the protesters] with an audience, we’re encouraging students to not even give them the satisfaction of being acknowledged.”

“The goal of WCU Stands is to encourage students to come together as one campus community,” he explained. “Rather than congregate around these hateful individuals, we can instead come together in support of one another. We want our students to know that they are both accepted and valued on our campus. WCU Stands is an opportunity for us to show our campus and our community what we stand for.” He states that SGA will remain, “consistent and intentional” in their message should the protesters return. Ultimately, he hopes that “together we can all take a peaceful stand against hate in all of its forms.”

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The Student News Service of West Chester University
Fraudulent “hate preacher” demonstrates on WCU campus