Monday, September 20, 2004

USVC controversy : Why Michael Moore?

by Joseph Vogel
September 19, 2004

Why not? He's one of the biggest figures in the political scene right now. Whether you like him or not, he's accomplished a great deal-he's won numerous awards and influenced millions with his films. Fahrenheit 9/11 is the most successful documentary of all time, and could potentially have the power to sway the outcome of the elections. To have him come to UVSC at this time is an opportunity we can't pass up. People don't have to agree with him. We expected the controversy and complaints. But at an institution of higher education, we should be willing to at least acknowledge other viewpoints and let different perspectives be heard. The main thing is it's exciting for the students-they will be talking about it and engaging in the issues. On October 20, the McKay Events Center will be packed, and every news channel and newspaper in the state will be here covering it. That's exciting. If people don't want to come they don't have to. But a lot of people do want to attend, and are curious to hear what he'll have to say.

What is the cost and where is the money coming from?

This issue has been a huge misunderstanding in the media and around campus. The cost to bring in Michael Moore, as with any high profile speaker, is high, but we're not shouldering the entire amount ourselves. Several groups have contacted us or have been contacted by us expressing interest in supporting or co-sponsoring the event. Also, we plan to charge the general public to get in (somewhere between $5-10; students will get in for free) so a good chunk of the money will come back through that. Our speaker budget, as has been reported, is approximately $50,000, but what has been misconstrued is that we're blowing that all on Michael Moore and won't be able to have any other speakers for the rest of the year. That's not true. When all is said and done, Student Government will probably end up paying about half of the total cost. The fact is most speakers we have usually come for very cheap anyway, if not for free. So we can still provide a variety of speakers throughout the year. Interestingly, though, and this was part of our reasoning in bringing on Moore, very few students come to the speakers we provide without name recognition.

(click on the title for the whole article)

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