Ex-gay website using taxpayer funded server

By Todd A. Heywood

Capitol Correspondent

EAST LANSING-

The website for an ex-gay ministry is under scrutiny by officials at Michigan State University.

The site, msu.edu/user/~cstone, came to the attention of Between The Lines when staffers visited the ex-gay website advertised by Gary Glenn and the American Family Association. The ministry in question, Corduroy Stone, is based in Lansing and is affiliated with Exodus International.

The website is hosted on MSU servers because Corduroy co-director Mike Jones, himself an ex-gay, is a retiree of MSU. As an employee and/or retiree, individuals are entitled to email accounts and web space for life. The caveat is that the space is for personal use only.

Corduroy's site is clearly the site of a non-profit and does solicit donations.

"I'm deeply concerned about this oversight. I support the university moving as quickly as possible to close down the Corduroy Stone website," said Brent Bilodeau, director of the MSU LBGT Resource Center. "It's 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."

Jones told BTL that he had no comment on the question of the use of the site, and directed those questions to MSU administration officials.

He did tell BTL that many years ago, MSU offered individual employees a chance to purchase additional web space on the servers and Corduroy Stone did just that. It is for this reason that Corduroy Stone has an MSU.edu email address.

Administration officials confirm Jones' story is accurate. The University, sources say, sold web space on the MSU servers in the early 90s, when server space was not as readily available as it is today. The University has since ended the practice.

Officials in the MSU administration said they have been looking at the issue of web hosting as a result of inquiries from BTL. A public statement was expected soon.

One administration source, on the condition of anonymity, told BTL the University is planning to take the website down.

"Many of us have seen the damage that can be done to people by organizations like Exodus International and Corduroy Stone. Supporting these operations with any resources paid for by taxpayers - any resources at all - is irresponsible and quite frankly, stupid," said Jeffrey Montgomery, executive director of Triangle Foundation.

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