Homosexual activists at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs are demanding removal of the student body president after he cited his personal beliefs and values in allowing a $2,100 funding request from school money for a “Coming Out Day” to be approved without his signature.
David Williams’ decision to allow the funding without his signature “caused students to feel unsupported and unrepresented by their student government,” said Crystal Duckhorn, a spokeswoman for the campus organization Spectrum, which eventually used the money for its celebration of homosexuality. The situation was reported by
The Colorado Springs Gazette reported members have argued that Williams was not objective, because he signed off on funding requests for other clubs. Students say they now are gathering signatures for his recall.
“Funding an organization should not be dependent on viewpoint,” Duckhorn told the newspaper.
Williams said when the funding request came through, he did not veto it, because he believes Spectrum is entitled to funding through the student government. Without his veto or signature, the student government procedures automatically approve the request after five days.
But Williams said he couldn’t sign it, because it conflicted with his personal beliefs, the newspaper said.
“My job is to represent the entire student body, which includes Spectrum and people who think the way I do,” he told the newspaper. “I believe what I did was right and fair.”
The school’s student judicial board now has ruled that Williams “discriminated” against Spectrum in his actions, and he could face a recall or impeachment, the newspaper said.
The ‘discrimination” ruling “chips away at an individual’s right to free speech and free thought,” Williams told the judicial board made up of nine students, according to the Gazette.
“It also demonstrates that a particular group, when offended, can complain and wrongfully get their way,” he said.
Williams told the newspaper he now doesn’t feel safe utilizing his First Amendment rights and is hiring a lawyer to protect himself from Spectrum, the student government and others.
The judicial board ruling also included a determination that Williams was not in violation of a requirement that leaders be objective in making student funding decisions.
The controversy has prompted Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak to become involved. She is calling for an audit of three years of student activity fee uses. She also wants a review of the student constitution to hunt for violations of U.S. Supreme Court precedents on the use of student fees.
On the Gazette’s forum page, the comments varied:
- “He absolutely has the right to freedom of speech, and he took it. That right goes both ways! He is a politician at his college, and the students have EVERY right to attempt to remove him if they don’t feel that he represents them.”
- “The guy is given the power to say “yea” or “nay.” He chose “nay.” That is not abuse of power. It is use of power. … Hey – that sounds just like the government of the United States of America.”
- “How desperate does the gay community AND spectrum have to get? They were denied NOTHING, yet instead wanted to FORCE acceptance on a moral basis. How sickening is that?”