An outspoken conservative student at Boise State University is irate that the school has not adamantly come-out against a threat made on his life.
The Network of College Conservatives (NCC) has learned, via a student complaint, of a death threat made against Brandon Stoker, president of the College Republicans and student senator at Boise State University. The threat, written anonymously on a bathroom stall in the school library, read:
“Brandon Stoker needs to be shot.”
“Yeah, and bill his family for the bullet!!!”
Stoker said he immediately informed a member of the library staff. He requested the words be “promptly removed” from the stall and filed a complaint with campus security. But the threat has remained on the wall for weeks! In fact, Stoker says he made three complaints to library employees over a four-week period before the words were finally painted over.
Stock is also offended that Boise State University has yet to publicly denounce the hate speech written against him.
“Interestingly, in March of 2005, when a gay student leader received a death threat, which, admittedly, was more serious and threatening in nature, the administration and the university were QUICK to condemn the act. Public relations campaigns were launched preaching tolerance and support for the gay community. Yet, when conservatives are victimized by similar treatment, the administration is silent,” says Stoker.
According to the NCC’s research, after last year’s death threat, a news story was printed in the student newspaper, the Arbiter, a letter to the editor was written by University President Bob Kustra decrying the act, and a diversity rally was held on campus.
However, Stoker’s event has received very little public attention. The editorial board of the student newspaper ran an article on Monday addressing the recent threat, but Stoker says it appeared on page 4 or 5 of the publication. The university has yet to release a public statement regarding the matter. And, Stoker is unaware of any diversity rallies being planned to address, what seems to be, a persistent problem at the school.
The NCC contacted Frank Zang, a spokesman for Boise State University, who confirmed that last year a “general campus correspondence” was sent out regarding the death threat made against the gay student. As for the latest incident, Zang verified campus security received a call from Stoker after a friend of his saw “some graffiti” in a bathroom stall. Zang said that Stoker filed a report over the phone and “basically conveyed that … he did not want to be a victim and did not want to make an issue of it.”
Stoker was shocked when the NCC informed him of the spokesman’s comments. The president of the College Republicans then provided the NCC with an e-mail he sent to the Arbiter and copied to several school administrators on Feb. 25, 2006.
Upon reviewing the e-mail, the NCC can confirm that Stoker repeatedly stated there was cause for concern. He wrote within the letter:
“Neither my wife nor I have received additional threats of violence, though I take this one quite seriously.”
“…I am sincerely concerned about my safety and the safety of my family.”
“Again, I take this threat seriously.”
“I think this issue deserves some treatment.”
“This treatment is insufferable and unacceptable. It is an issue we intend to address in the coming weeks.”
After reading the entire e-mail, the N.C.C. is surprised that school officials would downplay and ignore Stoker’s concerns.
“Beyond that, I don’t feel like I, the victim of this threat, have the responsibility of exhorting the administration into action in my defense! …It seems like an obvious responsibility of any administration sincerely concerned about the safety of students. Other than an editorial on page 4 or 5 of the newspaper, students have not heard any other official comment in condemnation of the threat. As far as the student body is concerned, the administration is, at best, indifferent to this type of behavior. There has been no open condemnation of death threats or acts of intimidation,” says Stoker.
Stoker also mentioned that campus security informed him there was little to go on from the threat written on the bathroom wall.
Although Boise State University has not released any public statement regarding the death threat (as of 6 p.m. EST. Friday), Zang told the NCC on Thursday night in an incomplete voicemail message, “…Certainly we deplore the actions of the person or persons who wrote this graffiti and certainly encourage all of our … community to recommit to the principles of tolerance.” Zang also said such an act strengthens the school’s “resolve to create an environment where individuals can pursue their endeavors without intimidation or harassment.”
Multiple attempts to reach Zang on Friday were unsuccessful.
It goes without saying that Boise State University should be concerned over this incident as would any school where a student’s life is threatened. But for the person going through such a traumatic event, every possible measure should be taken to address the issue and comfort the victim.
Without question, Boise State University took the appropriate steps in consoling the student who was threatened because of his sexual orientation. Homosexual or heterosexual — a death threat is a serious matter. So, why doesn’t the university take the same precautions with this most recent threat? At the very least, it might help ease Stoker’s mind and reassure his safety. Stocker should not even have to question whether the school is downplaying this event due to his outspoken conservatism.