Apache supporters criticize telescope

by Kari Petrie

A group of Apache tribe supporters met Wednesday at Morrill Hall to reiterate its discontent with the University’s decision to participate in the Mount Graham telescope project.

Six of the approximately 15 attendees spoke to University representatives in front of University President Bob Bruininks’ office.

Bruininks was unavailable to meet with the group, University officials said.

The Board of Regents voted in October 2002 to enter the project. University officials have said the telescope, still under construction, will be the largest and most powerful in the world.

Tribe members view the mountain as sacred.

Last month, the San Carlos Apache Tribal Council rejected a program proposal, which the University submitted with the University of Arizona and the University of Virginia. The proposal offered $120,000 worth of programs, including a summer camp, for Apache children.

Tribe supporters said Wednesday the programs were a bribe and deceitful. They said the University is hiding behind an argument of academic freedom.

University Relations Vice President Sandra Gardebring said they would pass the comments on to Bruininks and respond to concerns within 10 days.