By McKay Coppins
As protesters on Brigham Square handed out fliers criticizing BYUSA, volunteers in the Wilkinson Center handed out free tacos, compliments of the organization.
According to the Student Leadership Office, the free taco booth had been scheduled for six months and was not a response to the protest.
But the contrast was glaring.
Originally the booth was set up in Brigham Square, but when protesters started showing up, BYUSA organizers decided a change of venue was in order, said Cristy Pfiefer, 19, a volunteer from Maryland.
?BYUSA asked us to move in here so there wouldn?t be so much conflict,? said Pfiefer.
To get a taco, students had to fill out a ?Bright Ideas? slip on which they wrote a suggestion for improving BYU. The event had nothing to do with the protest, but many students still criticized the timing of the booth.
?BYUSA is not in charge of firing. The criticism is misguided,? said Max Hunsaker, Vice President of BYUSA. ?We don?t impede freedom of speech, we?re here gathering it.?
Volunteers manning the booth were also frustrated with the protests aimed at their organization.
?I think they have the right to do that, I just don?t think they understand really what?s going on,? said Ashley Gooch, 20, a volunteer from Eagle, Idaho.
As word of the taco booth spread, students began to form opinions ? and many made their way inside for a quick bite. Gooch said they probably served tacos to the protesters.
Matt Howard, 24, from Trumansburg, N.Y., thought the tacos were a ploy by BYUSA to distract from the negative attention they were getting.
?It?s like, ?Oh, there?s going to be a protest, let?s give them free tacos and silence them,?? said Howard.
Others didn?t mind the booth, even if they did disagree with the organization providing the free lunch.
?BYUSA could be a good student institution,? said Jenna Martin, 21, from Alabama, as she munched on a complimentary taco. ?But I don?t agree with everything that has been going on with the elections.?