The administration at the University of Idaho, College of Law, is dealing with a spate of hate inspired incidents. The news coming out from Idaho is all fairly grotesque; federal authorities have been alerted to the potentially dangerous problems on campus.
In an email to all Idaho law students, associate dean Elizabeth Brandt explains that the problems started in August:
I am writing to give you the details of a series of events that have occurred in the law building since last August.
The first incident occurred shortly before school started in August. At that time, students discovered that someone had gouged out the eyes of a student in a photo posted on the ACLU bulletin board next to the elevator on the ground floor near the café. The person whose picture was defaced is an LGBT rights and ACLU activist. At the time, we believed that this might be a prank, but that it also might be malicious. Dean Albertson-Ploucha and I sent an email at the time letting you know that items on the ACLU bulletin board had been defaced, cautioning that such conduct was unprofessional, threatening and potentially illegal, and encouraging support for the diverse law school community.
As we understand it, there is no evidence that the tasteless acts were committed by Idaho law students.
But sadly, whoever is frightening the community didn’t stop in August …
The cowards menacing Idaho College of Law are not all that creative:
About three weeks ago, straight pins were stuck into the eyes of two other students (both ACLU activist, and one also an LGBT rights activist) in photographs on the same bulletin board. Given the similarity of the two events, we believed they may be linked. Dean Burnet, Dean Albertson-Ploucha and I met with the ACLU and outLaw leaders. Dean Burnett sent a strongly worded email to the entire law school community. In addition, the ACLU and outLaw students received permission for the lobby display advocating a supportive and inclusive community at the law school. Finally, students began working with the Diversity Committee and the Climate Committee to plan a College wide diversity training in the fall semester 2010.
On Tuesday morning, five 8.5×11 computer printed flyers were posted on three bulletin boards in the building – the outLaw board across from Room 108, The ACLU board next to the elevator near the café and the general bulletin board in the stairwell leading from the café. These posters expressed threats toward gays and lesbians including quoting individuals advocating violence against gays and lesbians. In addition the posters portrayed these views as those of the LDS Church and other Christians including Catholics, and implied that that the root of anti-gay sentiment and violence around the world could be found in the actions of the LDS Church. No similar flyers have been reported in any other location on campus. In light of the location of most of the postings the timing (just a week after the dean’s email), the flyers seem to be linked to the prior incidents of defacement.
This doesn’t sound to me like the kind of thing “diversity training” is supposed to handle. We’re not talking about somebody who “tried to be clever” and ended up sounding like John Mayer. We’re talking about assholes threatening to stab out people’s eyes. If these are Idaho law students committing these acts, then it seems like the only people who need diversity training are the people in Idaho’s admission’s office. They need to do a better job screening out the deranged from their applicant pool.
If the people are from outside the law school community, then Idaho needs to learn a little something about campus security. According to associate Dean Brandt, the administration is on it:
In response to the last incident, Campus Risk Management was alerted. Through risk management, local law enforcement was also alerted. A disclosure under the federal Clery Act (requiring disclosure of possible hate crimes to the campus community) was made on Thursday through Risk Management. We also have been working with the UI Human Rights Enforcement Officer and the UI Office of Diversity and Community. On Tuesday student leaders met with me, [Redacted] to discuss the situation. I also met with students on Wednesday to update them on our response.
We will work to ensure that, after break, Dean Burnett and/or other faculty will meet with all students. We are still working out the logistics of how to accomplish these meetings. During spring break Ryan Bertalotto of the Risk Management office and Dave Lehmitz of the Moscow Police will be conducting a security audit of our building and will make recommendations to us to improve safety in the building. Finally, we will continue with renewed urgency to plan a school-wide diversity training for next fall. We are planning Safe Zone training for faculty and staff after spring break and will work with the SBA leaders to make such training available for students also. …
In the meantime, please be conscious of security. Do not prop doors open after hours. Alert the office is you observe anything out of the ordinary during regular school hours. If you observe anything unusual after hours or see anyone defacing items on any bulletin board in the building, please alert campus police by calling 911. And remember – our care and support for each other are the best security we can have.
You really hope that the people who are doing this are random, toothless yokels who dragged their knuckles all the way to the College of Law looking for fresh road kill and water. If the perpetrators are actual law students, I think Idaho has a moral obligation to try to find these people — before they leave school with a J.D. and clean character and fitness marks.
Stay safe, Idaho friends.