OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma university cancelled a planned speech by the founder of a Kentucky museum dedicated to creationism after the student body president said he got pushback on the event.
University of Central Oklahoma student body President Stockton Duvall said Thursday that he stopped contract negotiations with Creation Museum founder Ken Ham after he was “bullied” during a meeting about the March 5 event.
Information about Ham’s appearance was “leaked” before a contract was signed, Duvall said. Members of a group affiliated with UCO’s Women’s Research Center and BGLTQ+ Student Center opposed Ham’s appearance and questioned the planned expenditure of student funds to cover it.
“It was the fact that it was two faculty and 10 students against one in that room,” Duvall said. “I feel that’s just one of those things where they chose to use that to their advantage.”
But student Makenna Mittelstet said she and others met with Duvall to voice concerns about transparency in the negotiating process to their elected leader. She said some were “emotional” and bothered by Ham’s comments about women and LGBTQ people, but that no one was bullied.
“Some of the center workers were concerned about their safety and the kind of reputation this is going to bring to our campus,” said Mittelstet, a junior. “But no bullying occurred at all. No one invoked violence on him. No one threatened him.”
UCO President Don Betz said in a statement that the school values the constitutional right to free speech. The university in Edmond, about 15 miles north of Oklahoma City, also said it advises but does not direct student government activity.
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