Welcome to Boise, Idaho. The students at Boise …

Welcome to Boise, Idaho.

The students at Boise State recently elected a new student body president; he is a white, privileged, Mormon man who is overtly racist and xenophobic (Idaho is so Mormon that without their vote no one can win an election at the school or at any local or state level). My first interaction with him was last semester when he attended one of the Martin Luther King planning committee meetings because he thought the holiday should be omitted in order to make room for Veteran’s Day (our school does not grant students the day off for this holiday). The group was surprisingly willing to listen to his comments (likely because at first he couched his rhetoric in King-speak, stating that he quite admired King). After a number of compromises his true colors came through. When his view was not accommodated, he chose to go to the State Board of Education to see if they would support his goal. He did this without informing anyone at the institution.

Two weeks ago the ASBSU President created the first draft of the student body budget; in the process of creating this he decided that the Women’s Center, the (Multiethnic) Center (people voted to remove the modifier 3 years ago), and the International Programs Office should lose $4,000 each from their budget. He informed his advisor in the student union as well as the directors of each center/program(s). We worked really hard to get the word out so that people would speak out against this at the next student senate meeting. The President got wind of this and put the funding back into the budget; as late as midnight the night before he had not put it back in, something he informed the previous President who is a student of mine (and one of the best, most ethical students I’ve ever taught). At the meeting tons of people spoke–students, staff, faculty. I spoke about two primary issues. The first was a criticism that he removed the special funding for international students who need emergency access to an attorney who specializes in immigration. The second related to the underhanded way in which this man operated (as well as many of the new student senators who ran on his ticket). He asked for an example and I provided the one I gave you above. Rather than deal with this issue, he chose to accuse me (as if I would not be proud of this) of stating at the above-mentioned MLK meeting that a white person would not be an appropriate MLK speaker. I responded that I indeed said that. This owning of that claim led to a violent email, which I received later that night:


Date: Thu, 15 Apr 2004 19:33:21 -0600

Dear Ms. Newman,

I would like to introduce myself. I work teaching English as a

second language. I volunteer with the Agency for New Americans, a refugee

resettlement agency here in Boise. I have travelled to the middle east

(not military). My major is International Politics and I intend to get a

masters in Middle Eastern Studies. My best friends are of diverse

backgrounds. If any person would dare call me racist, I could vouch that

at least twenty people would defend me that I am not with an oath. I also

happen to be white. Basically I am saying this. Your comments in the

senate were of a racist nature and unless you publicly apologize for

these statements, I will do my best to assure that justice is served and

you will have the punishments fit for any person being proven to make

public statements of a racist nature. Racism against the white race is

equal to racism against any other. Racism is Racism. You should consider

yourself fortunate that I am giving you this warning. -ASBSU Senator


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