FORT COLLINS, CO—Across the U.S., citizens are expressing outrage over the Colorado State University student council's decision to slash the Campus Multicultural Center's per-semester funding from $850 to $400.
"CMC organizers worked tirelessly for two whole semesters to get that center up and running," said 47-year-old Pensacola, FL, dentist Joseph Kellner, taping "Stay Centered... Save The CMC!" flyers to telephone poles and light posts in his neighborhood. "But now the student council is pulling the rug out from under their feet just as they're getting going."
Kellner is just one of millions of Americans taking an interest in this campus controversy, which has gripped the nation since Oct. 28, when The Colorado State Herald printed a column calling the campus council "racist, homophobic, misogynist and Eurocentric."
"[CMC co-directors] Dinesh [Ghouri] and Sarah [Freeman] went to a ton of student-council meetings," New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani said. "And nothing was ever said about cutting the center's budget until the very last minute. That was obviously intentional."
Located on the third floor of the Weiler Library, the CMC office features books by writers of color, a campus-events announcement board, and a video lending library featuring such titles as What's Your Worldview? and Together As One. In addition, according to a sign on the door, the center provides a crucial "safe space" for ethnic minorities, women and members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Though the CMC is visited only by an average of 10 students per week, its supporters insist that the number of visitors will grow if the CMC has the funding necessary to expand its resources.
"How's the center ever supposed to serve a varied population of students if it can't get money for new books and posters and stuff?" asked U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen. "The CSU football team would never have to go without equipment. That just shows you how messed-up that school's priorities are."
"Colorado State needs to allow for other voices," Cohen added. "Despite what you might have learned, history wasn't made only by rich white men."
Despite such strong support for the CMC, some U.S. political leaders are siding with the council.
Said Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott: "The student council is trying very hard to serve the entire student body and spend its limited budget on what is best for the greatest number of students. For example, they're planning on having Ben Folds Five play a free show in the spring."
"Anyway," Lott added, "the council is letting the CMC keep that meeting space in the library. The Free East Timor group doesn't even have that."
Still, others suspect that the real reason for the drastic reduction of CMC funding has not even been acknowledged.
"I believe this has to do with the fact that student-council president Brett Lund, a former supporter of the center, recently broke up with Sarah's roommate Lisa," said Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. "If this is Brett's way of getting back at her, that's a really shitty move on his part."