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College Cancels Political Exhibit

By Anthea Passmore

Buffalo, NY – Buffalo State College reversed its decision to host a national traveling Memorial.

"Eyes Wide Open" is a poignant representation of National Guard Members who have lost their lives in Iraq.

The College administration informed organizers the memorial was too political and could not be displayed on campus.

"Eyes Wide Open," the memorial to the National Guard, consists of pairs of combat boots each tagged with the names and ages, rank, and home states of fallen United States soldiers.

With each military death another pair of boots is added to the display. A 24 foot wall bears the names of over 10,000 Iraqi Civilians and details of their deaths.

A pile of hundreds of shoes, a variety of sizes, is a minimal representation of the loss of Iraqi lives.

Joshua Coppings, representing Buffalo Students for Peace, said the College wanted to stay away from representing political issues.

"They believe that this event is going to represent the campus, and that the campus can not be associated with political issues," said Coppings.

In refusing to host this memorial, Buffalo State College may have opened an even bigger political can of worms.

Cathleen McQuillen from the American Friends Service Committee said the College is attempting to censor student political expression.

"This is a public institution, paid for by tax dollars, so it's very important that under a system of democracy and freedom of speech, and freedom of expression that we don't have our public institutions squashing the efforts by the students, which is very exciting to see students come forward and ay we want to be a voice," said McQuillin.

Buffalo State College said in a statement it is following State University of New York Policy regarding the use of campus facilities for political purposes.

The memorial, which currently consists of 262 pair of boots, has been moved. The display can be see at Niagara Square Tuesday and at Lafayette Square on Wednesday.