PROVO, Utah (AP) -- The controversy over the student leaders' decision to invite filmmaker Michael Moore to speak on campus has hurt fund-raising, Utah Valley State College President William Sederburg said during a panel discussion.
The issue has created a heated debate on campus, with students passing around a petition to get the student leaders who invited Moore kicked out of office. They said Tuesday they have enough signatures to send the issue to a vote by the student body.
UVSC officials also have reported donors are pulling funding and some also have said legislators, who are largely responsible for the funding the state college receives, may be unhappy with the decision to pay Moore $40,000 in student fees to speak.
"There is no doubt that it has not helped our fund raising," Sederburg said,
But he said that many donors are not as angry as they were when the announcement was made, and the amount of funding the college loses may not be as significant as first thought.
Much of the anger has been over Moore's $40,000 fee.
However, the Deseret Morning News said Wednesday that Moore is not the first person to be paid $40,000 to speak at UVSC. It said former first lady Barbara Bush was paid $40,000 in 1996 to speak at the school.
That appearance drew no protest, said former UVSC professor Gary Wixom, who now serves as assistant commissioner for the state Board of Regents.
That may be because Utah County is a conservative area.
And Kay Anderson, a parent of a UVSC student and a neighbor to the college, told the panel that is a reason Moore should not have been invited.
Anderson said he thinks the college that is funded through tax dollars needs to also be conservative, and he doesn't want to see the college move in a different direction.
Anderson pulled out a $25,000 cashier's check made out to UVSC and said he would buy back every ticket sold to Moore's appearance if the college would cancel the invitation.
The college did not accept the check.
"It goes beyond what's ever been done before," Anderson said of Moore coming to campus.
Sederburg said UVSC is still a conservative college and bringing in Moore will not change that.
"One speaker does not change the nature of the institution," he said.
UVSC student Sean Vreeland, who helped organize the recall petition, said organizers had not handed the petition in yet because they were hoping the college would take Anderson's check and take back their invitation to Moore. He said the students still need to count the exact number of students who have signed, but he knows they have enough.
"Obviously I think that it's a publicity issue and it's a pride issue. They can't admit they're wrong," Vreeland said.
If the student petition does have enough signatures, the students will need two-thirds of those voting to agree with the request to oust the student leaders and to take back Moore's invitation, though he still would be entitled to the $40,000.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)