Aug. 23, 2005 – A college in the New York State University system last week denied two local anti-war groups and their national associates the use of school property for a demonstration highlighting the sacrifice members of the National Guard have made in the two-year-old war on Iraq. The decision came last week, days before the exhibit was to be set-up on campus.
Earlier this month, the Buffalo State College chapter of Students for Peace and the Buffalo War Resisters League announced that they were working with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and several other groups to bring the "Eyes Wide Open" display to the city. It was to have taken place on the lawn of the schoolâ€™s art center today and tomorrow.
The memorial, which features combat boots representing fallen National Guard members, has been traveling the country for over a year.
Thursday, administration officials with the state-run college informed Students for Peace that the exhibit could not take place on campus, Students for Peace spokesperson Joshua Coppings told the NewStandard.
In a letter provided to TNS and dated August 18, Melanie Roman of the Buffalo State College Student Events Management office stated that a request to host the event was denied by the schoolâ€™s vice president for finance and management due to the political nature of the memorial.
Friday, the college announced it would play host to a reunion for students, alumni, faculty and others who are or have served in the armed forces. This is the first-ever event of its kind for the school, according to the statement announcing the gathering.
Following the schoolâ€™s decision, the "Eyes Wide Open" exhibit and related protest events will instead be held in downtown Buffalo, according to organizers. Today, the memorial will be held in a square adjacent to Buffalo City Hall, and tomorrow it will move further north to Lafayette Square, where many of the cityâ€™s anti-war communityâ€™s activities take place.