Oct 102002
Authors: Willow Welter

Two separate groups have established fundraisers designed to discourage members of Westboro Baptist Church from protesting at the Homecoming football game.

The anti-gay Westboro group, led by Fred Phelps, plans to picket at the Oct. 12 football game between CSU and the University of Wyoming. The group’s objective is to “celebrate” the death of Matthew Shepard, a student murdered in 1998 by two men who disagreed with his sexual orientation.

CSU’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Student Organization, as well as a group of CSU alumni, have devised two different donation plans to counteract the Westboro group’s protest. The groups are suggesting that students, organizations and businesses donate money for every minute Phelps’ group protests.

GLBT has suggested that people interested in countering the anti-gay group can pledge a flat dollar amount or a specific monetary amount per minute while Westboro protests at the game. The fundraiser, coordinated by both GLBT and the Lambda Community Center, will donate all money raised to the GLBT student community office and efforts.

“Our goal with the fundraiser is to turn something negative into something positive,” said Dave Savitsky, a staff member at GLBT student services.

The other fundraising group, three alumni who have designed a campaign called “Rams vs. Hate,” have requested that anyone interested in helping donate a dollar toward the Matthew Shepard Foundation for every minute that Westboro protests. The Rams vs. Hate campaign is not associated with GLBT’s efforts, but has a similar idea.

Stacey Andrews, who coordinated the Rams vs. Hate campaign along with two other alumni, J.D. McCartney and Rachel Thompson, said her group has similar goals to what GLBT expressed.

“The idea is to make sure Phelps doesn’t come, and if he does, to minimize his actions,” Andrews said. “We want to turn the hate and negativity (Phelps) is garnering and turn it into something positive.”

Students, organizations or businesses hoping to pledge money to GLBT should contact the GLBT office, or visit its website at www.colostate.edu/depts/glbtss.

People hoping to donate money to the Matthew Shepard Foundation can find out more by e-mailing the Rams vs. Hate coordinators at www.ramsvshate@hotmail.com.

-Edited by Becky Waddingham, Colleen Buhrer and Shandra Jordan

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