The messages got increasingly menacing: “Die Fags” followed by “you will die soon Faggots” and then, on Jan. 30, scrawled on the wall of a ladies room in Montclair State’s student center, “Fags will die on 2/7.” MSU’s gay community has endured similar threats before, but in the era of Virginia Tech, no one can laugh off a death threat on a college campus.
Classes will go on today at Montclair State, despite the menace in the air — with its full 40-strong campus police force on alert and additional officers from towns in Essex and Passaic Counties. Meanwhile, a Day of Unity rally will take place in front of the student center, from noon to 4 p.m., which MSU President Student Cole will attend, and everyone on campus is urged to wear purple in solidarity with the gay community.
In addition to the beefed up police presence on campus today, MSU is offering an escort service for “any student who feels uneasy walking alone.”
“We’ve all been very upset about it,” said Liz Arrington, president of Players, the student theater group. “A lot of people’s parents have been freaking out.”
Yesterday, a gathering of students showed up for a “let’s chalk about love” event to counter the hate-flled graffiti with messages of love. Karen Pennington, VP for Student Life, called the threats “an act of cowardice.”