NEW YORK (Oct. 25)
The Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) last night voted 16-7 in what was described as an “advisory opinion” recommending that the Student Budget Committee retain in its allocations to Wesleyan University student groups the $2,000 requested by a Black student organization for an appearance of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
A final vote by the Student Budget Committee is expected on October 31. The WSA action followed two days of voting on a student referendum that rejected the budget allocations for 84 student groups at the Middletown, Conn., university. The referendum was a vote on the entire student budget, not specifically the Farrakhan allocation, although the referendum was initiated because of the funds requested for a Farrakhan appearance.
“While each member of the Wesleyan Student Assembly voted for or against the funding request for individual or personal reasons, a common theme throughout the discussion ws the need for the Assembly to protect the rights of minorities, as is consistent with the Assembly’s judicial responsibilities,” the WSA said in a statement released this morning.
Continuing, it said: “The Assembly was forced to waive the rights of individual students and student groups and the expression of majority opinion. Our final decision was a difficult one. The Assembly’s action is not intended to disregard or offend a majority of students voting in the recent referendum.”
Ujaama, the Black student organization at Wesleyan, is expected to issue a statement on the controversy after the October 31 vote by the Student Budget Committee. Ujaama last night again requested the Committee to adopt a budget including funding for Farrakhan. Ujaama has yet to issue a formal invitation to the Nation of Islam leader.
According to a university spokesman, the Student Committee was deadlocked on the issue and, in turn, sought advisory opinion from its parent organization, the WSA.
FBI PROBING THREATENING PHONE CALLS
Meanwhile, the FBI is continuing to investigate threatening phone calls that have been made to university officials and students at Wesleyan. Bobby Wayne Clark, director of public information and publications at Wesleyan, said the calls began on October 10 when the controversy began, and while they are not currently as numerous, they do continue to be received.
“We are concerned and deeply troubled by threats to members of the student body and members of the administration,” Clark said. “We are concerned by tensions it brings to the student body.”