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Professor’s Suit Over Refused Grant Angers Legislator Idaho State Teacher Claims Bias Doomed Study Of Gays

Thu., Sept. 18, 1997, midnight

The chairman of a legislative budget-writing committee is irked by an Idaho State University professor’s suit over the state Board of Education’s refusal to fund his study of gay communities in the Northwest.

Sen. Atwell Parry, R-Melba, head of the Senate Finance Committee, Tuesday said he does not believe it is proper for someone to sue the government because it decided against awarding him money.

“If that’s what they are going to do, let’s not have a HERC,” he said, referring to the board’s Higher Education Research Council. “Let’s give it to everybody.”

Idaho State history professor Peter Boag has every right to sue the board, Parry said.

“But morally I don’t think he should,” he said. “If we are going to have these bodies to make these decisions, I think people should abide with them.”

In the suit against the board, Boag asked a federal judge to order the regents to approve a $30,000 grant and award him unspecified compensation.

“The issue has nothing to do with giving anybody who wants money money,” Boag said Tuesday. “The issue has to do with fairness.”

He said his grant proposal qualified for council funding, but the board denied it because it disagreed with his viewpoint.

Board members claimed his study did not have a commercial application in Idaho when they rejected it in April.

Parry has said the board made a good decision, although it could face a tough time maintaining its $2.1 million council appropriation next year in the wake of this flap.

Boag, however, claims the board ignored the criteria it applied in approving other research grants because it feared the political fallout from a project about homosexuality.

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