By Mike Linn: CNJ staff writer
Clovis Community College officials are inviting students to view a movie on Monday that contradicts Fahrenheit 9/11, the anti-Bush film shown Thursday that garnered numerous calls from students, teachers and community members who thought the viewing was in poor taste.
FahrenHYPE 9/11, which challenges filmmaker Michael Moore’s anti-Bush documentary, will be shown at 12:15 p.m. Monday at the school’s Town Hall.
CCC President Beverlee McClure said at a press conference Friday the school in no way endorsed a public viewing of Moore’s film. She said the concept of showing the movie in a class setting is appropriate.
“What we regret is that the showing was taken out of the classroom context and placed in a public setting,” McClure said.
CCC instructors received an e-mail on Thursday from Shelly Flygare, Campus Life and Student Leadership coordinator, welcoming them to bring their classes to the viewing.
“Everyone is invited and instructors are welcome to bring their classes,” the e-mail read.
There were also fliers posted on campus, although McClure said college officials haven’t figured out who put them up.
The viewing was initially supposed to be for one of English instructor Paul Nagy’s classes, but was later sponsored by the CCC student government as part of its Thursday Concert Series.
When Interpersonal Communications Instructor Ron Biddle received the e-mail inviting him to attend he was immediately offended the film would be shown in a public setting at a taxpayer-funded institution.
“This would be like me wearing a Bush button in one of my classes. You know how well that would go over? That possibly would be suicide,” Biddle said.
Biddle said college officials decided to show the rebuttal to Moore’s film after hearing complaints from students.
Connie Jackson, a student at CCC, is not one of Nagy’s students but was one of about 20 students not in his class who attended Friday’s showing. She said she plans to attend its opposing view on Monday.
“I think it’s important, especially with this election, to look at both … sides of an issue,” she wrote in an e-mail to the Clovis News Journal. “I don’t think it would be fair to dismiss (FahrenHYPE 9/11) as nothing more than Republican propaganda, any more than it would be OK for someone to dismiss Moore’s film as Democratic propaganda.”
She said since no student was required to watch the film — Nagy gave his students an option — she doesn’t understand why people were offended by the showing.
“This incident should instead be seen as an excellent opportunity for students (voters) to view both sides of the story,” she wrote in the e-mail. “I sincerely hope that the college does not apologize for any wrongdoing in this matter, as there is nothing to apologize for.”