Looking to encourage Moore free speech
Having to step down as student body vice president and listening to major donors threaten to cut their support were some of the consequences Joseph Vogel faced after he invited Michael Moore to speak at Utah Valley State College.
The controversy is detailed in Vogel’s new book, which he promoted at the Park City Library on Tuesday, called, "Free Speech 101."
"It’s the foundation of our country and that should be obvious, but it’s not," Vogel said.
Shortly after opponents learned of Moore’s planned visit Vogel said things on campus were in an uproar and he was sent a flurry of hostile emails.
"Some of the messages I received were pretty scary," he said.
The big donors, those with buildings named after them, were also vocal about not having the, "Bowling for Columbine" film maker speak at UVSC. As they threatened stop donating, Vogel said, "They were pretty explicit in saying, ‘This is because the school is leaning in a direction we’re not happy about."
"Left-ward drift," he said they called it.
The donors also pressured the entire student council to vote on Moore’s visit, which ended in a 17-3 vote, with the majority in favor of bringing him to campus.
"They saw the more important issue of free speech," Vogel said.
While some donors put away their checkbooks, Vogel said the money was made back by contributions from new sources, those who appreciated Moore’s visit.
In an attempt to appease those who opposed Moore’s visit, the administration called for a conservative speaker to be brought to campus. Sean Hannity of Fox News appeared later.
Vogel said that while he does not like Hannity, he supports his right to come to UVSC.
"We need to be vigilant, to try and protect this right," Vogel said.
This right, he said, was threatened after he was pressured to step down from his post as student body vice president.
Donor Kay Anderson filed a lawsuit against the school regarding Moore’s visit and withdrew the legal complaint when Vogel stepped down.
But this did not stop Vogel from pushing ahead with his book.
"I’m happy because finally the whole story gets to be told," Vogel said.
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The Park City Ice Arena is expected to temporarily close later in 2021 to allow crews to replace the ice surface and perform other maintenance work, one of a series of projects City Hall plans to outline at an upcoming open house. It will be an in-person event.