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Moore is out of Utah's sight — but still not out of mind

OREM — All that's left of Michael Moore at Utah Valley State College are his books, his DVDs, a lawsuit — and rumors.

Stories of Moore demanding diva treatment while at the college Wednesday — one grapevine tale said Moore deliberately delayed his speech until the college give him a baseball cap — started churning immediately after the sold-out event.

Fact or fiction? Definitely not true, says Derek Hall, the college's spokesman.

Moore didn't ask for much in a contract he signed with UVSC. His visit was part of the "Fahrenheit 9/11" director's "Slacker Uprising Tour" — a tour launched to encourage young adults to vote — for Democratic Sen. John Kerry, in particular — in the 2004 election.

Moore's only contract stipulation: UVSC was required to provide "a fruit plate and a case of cold water," Hall said. And the cap? A gift from UVSC's student government.

Although 24 hours isn't much hindsight, Hall said Thursday the state school is already assessing the lessons learned from the past six weeks of frenzied debate, which catapulted the former technical college into a national spotlight usually focused on major universities.

The furor over Moore's scheduled speech — and $40,000 speaking fee — was a worry for UVSC officials. They feared problems would erupt between the crowd and protesters.

Their worries were for naught.

Fewer than 10 protesters were removed from the McKay Events Center, and a package, which turned out to be an oddly wrapped bundle of papers, provided moments of alarm for police, but nothing major marred Moore's animated address, Hall said.

And after his raucously loud speech, Moore headed to Iowa for another leg of his tour.

Moore's speech is over — but there is still Moore to be had in Utah Valley.

A lawsuit suit filed this week by an Orem resident and a UVSC student still must be decided. Phil Clegg, a UVSC student adviser, was served with court papers Thursday.

The suit contends UVSC student leaders violated school rules when they agreed to pay Moore's $40,000 speaking fee plus some $10,000 in travel costs.

"There are a lot students who won't forget about this," said Dan Garcia, the student who filed thesuit with Kay Anderson. "It's not a fight against Michael Moore. It's a fight asking, 'Is the student government spending our money wisely?' "

Clegg declined to comment on the case, but an attorney with the state Attorney General's Office, which represents UVSC, said he will move for a dismissal.

"We'll just let a judge decide on the merits of the case," said David Jones, UVSC's attorney. "It's pretty much a case based on censorship."

Hall expects the controversy to fizzle out over the weekend.

And any lingering resentment will hopefully be dispelled by newspaper ads debuting Newspaper ads debut today as part of the school's ongoing marketing effort to promote the college's academics.

"We've been in the news for six weeks, and it's all been Michael Moore," Hall said. "We wanted to take advantage of the opportunity we have right now and remind people of the things we do each day for 24,000 students — we help them kick off their careers."


E-mail: lwarner@desnews.com