'Make gays straight' Web site is finally removed at MSU

Due to an oversight, private ministry continued to use university taxpayer-funded server nearly a year later

By Todd A. Heywood

EAST LANSING -

An administrative oversight has kept a controversial Web site on Michigan State University servers until this past Monday. The site is a fundraising and informational Web site for Corduroy Stone Ministries. The ministry is affiliated with Exodus International, a program designed to make homosexuals straight.

"Since we no longer sell accounts to off-campus entities, I believe we have every right to 'expire' the account if we wish," wrote Tom Davis, director of academic computing and network services at MSU, in an e-mail to MSU spokesman Terry Denbow. The e-mail was released by Denbow, who originally said the site had been removed.

When contacted by Between The Lines last Friday about the site remaining on MSU servers, Denbow said it was not. Monday, however, tech staff at the MSU informed him otherwise.

In response to Davis' e-mail, David Gift, vice provost for libraries, computing and technology, responded, "Here's the most relevant e-mail from our prior discussion of the cstone-referring site. Let's take it down."

According to Davis' e-mail, the site was purchased Dec. 8, 1997 and has been operational since. The Web site came to light in June of 2007, when BTL discovered it linked on a Web site advertised by a plane-banner flown over the Motor City Pride event in Ferndale. In a story published June 14, Mike Jones, a retired MSU employee and a self-identified "ex-gay," said he had purchased the site. He refused further comment at the time.

In that edition of BTL, administration sources had promised to remove the site. Communications released by Denbow show that Gift, who would have overseen that, thought the issue had been resolved last June.

"I'm deeply concerned about this oversight. I support the university moving as quickly as possible to close down the Corduroy Stone Web site," said Brent Bilodeau, director of the MSU LBGT Resource Center, in June of 2007. "Its presence is unacceptable. The site is not consistent with our technology acceptable use policy. It also promotes a practice related to LBGT identity development that is not credible and inappropriate for use at MSU."

Bilodeau was not in East Lansing Monday, but reached by phone, he reiterated his past statement. He also expressed relief the administration was taking action to remedy the oversight. At presstime, Denbow told BTL the site had been removed from the MSU servers.

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