The student government might have expected to raise a few hackles, booking the man who made "Fahrenheit 9/11" weeks before the election. But they also expected a lot of interest...and they got it. 54-hundred tickets sold already....an Unheard of amount we're told for campus concerts and other events. But some of the interest is negative and angry. Local businessmen, backers of President Bush, approached student leaders with protest and then an offer....of up to $100-thousand dollars. Students leaders say that offer was to cancel Moore or book a conservative the same night to debate him. The businessmen deny asking for cancellation, but they definitely want a debate. In any case...the answer was no.
Jeff Champagne, ASUN Vice President, for Programming says, student government books speakers to stimulate discussion. Conservatives have been booked in the past and they're looking into booking one now. They could use some of that money the business leaders are offering to make it happen, but a spokesman for the group says it's a debate or nothing.
Some of the business people have framed their arguments as veiled threats to withdraw support from the university. Others have called to protest. Dr. Rita Laden, the university's assistant vice president for student life says the school will weather the controversy, and says booking provocative speakers and stimulating discussion is part of what a university does.