Judy Shepard, who was scheduled to speak at in the Student Center ballrooms Wednesday night, was forced to postpone her SIUC debut because of illness.

By Gus Bode

Shepard’s son, Matthew, was murdered during an anti-gay hate crime in October 1998. Her anticipated arrival on campus has produced a buzz on campus and attracted numerous protestors.

Mike Lawrence, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, which helped sponsor her visit, said Shepard became sick with a stomach illness while in an airport in Minneapolis and was unable to continue with her scheduled events.

While some may wonder if she was driven away by the protestors, Lawrence is quick to say that is not the case. She lost her son seven years ago, he said, and she has kept going.


“I would hope people would not make more out of this than it is,” he said. “I’m not surprised there’s that speculation, but it’s silly.”

Paulette Curkin, adviser to the Saluki Rainbow Network, said Shepard’s speech will be postponed until she is feeling better and when it can work with everyone’s schedules.

She said while there has not been a new date set, it would be nice to have her come speak in the spring when the Saluki Rainbow Network celebrates its 35th anniversary.

Considering the high student anticipation, Carl Ervin, coordinator of Student Development, said the cancellation is a major disappointment.

“But we’re looking forward to her eventual arrival on campus,” Ervin said.

Leah Reinert, director of Saluki Rainbow Network, was one of the people responsible for getting Shepard to speak at SIUC.

“I’m really bummed,” Reinert said. “I was excited about the lecture, but these things happen.”


Reporter Laura Teegarden can be reached at [email protected]