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OREM, Utah (AP) -- Utah Valley State College is misunderstood -- it really isn't rejecting moral values, the college's president says.
In his State of the College address on Tuesday, William Sederburg cited the visit of filmmaker Michael Moore, a concert by rapper Nelly and a class on homosexual literature as among things that have caused community leaders and legislators to question the moral direction of Utah Valley State College.
"A number of these things have just hit local community leaders wrong," he said.
Sederburg said a comment he made about how UVSC was not out to become Brigham Young University may have helped in upsetting people.
"To some that means that I was rejecting the values of BYU," he said. "It was not my intent to raise that concern."
Sederburg said he feels the school is definitely morally grounded, with a moral student body involved in service and LDS Institute classes. Only 11 percent of students admit to having had alcohol within the past month.
He said that although the school must maintain an open, academic atmosphere, officials are working to ensure that UVSC doesn't slide away from generally accepted values.
"We aren't just believers in moral relativism, that anything goes," he said. "We make decisions that are based on strong moral values."
Sederburg said some of the tension between the school and the community is natural and will likely always exist, but he said he feels it is something that can be dealt with in an upfront manner.
He said he received a letter from the office of Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commending the school for "creating a positive environment for students."
"I think he would join us in this discussion about values," Sederburg said.
Sederburg, a Lutheran who came to UVSC from Michigan, where he was a Republican state senator, said he felt the campus handled the Michael Moore fallout well.
"I don't think we have anything to be embarrassed about," he said. "We fulfilled the value of acting civilly."
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)