Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Who should pay for one-sided political events? 

University of Minnesota officials apparently believe that neither taxpayer-provided funds nor student tuition/fees should help pay for the planned appearance of Michael Moore on campus this Friday. So Moore is coming without receiving a fee, and local groups are raising funds and selling tickets to pay for the hall and other items for the security.

This story raises still more questions about the promotion and "sponsorship" of an "OutFOXED" political event by a St. Cloud State University Department. (SCSU receives a higher percentage of its annual operating budget from state taxpayers than does the Univeristy of Minnesota.)
  1. Are any funds of the HURL Department being used to sponsor this event?
  2. Is there not even one member of the HURL Department who might see departmental sponsorship of the "OutFOXed" event . . . and other advertised events . . . as being politically one-sided?
  3. If not, do we have an unhealthy lack of diversity of opinion in a sponsoring department that might be viewed by some as collectively locked together in "groupthink" - even to the extent of how grades should be awarded?
The problem isn't that one wishes to censor an event. Moore should be free to speak at the U; College Democrats can show Outfoxed in a public venue on campus. The question is one of propriety: whether tax dollars at a public university, funnelled by an academic department, may be used to bring to campus someone or some thing to campus with an overtly political agenda who is trying to sway an election?