Montclair State Stares Down Death Threats Today

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.”

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  1. (Were there these types of overt, scrawled death threats before the Virginia Tech shootings? I didn’t remember that…)

    In the age of over-reacting, I’m not surprised when Administrators take extra caution. What harm is it? Well, like bomb threats, these types of threats come in waves, as kids see a reaction- more want to do it.

    Still, I hate that in balancing these “threats” Administrators seem to always err on the side of extreme caution. Though really, I can’t blame them.

    And if well-minded folks in the MSU community come together to reaffirm their commitment to diversity and others, well, then I guess some good can come of this.

  2. This is rubbish, unacceptable. What I’d love to see is students pouring out of the classrooms onto the lawns in support of lesbians, gays and everybody else under this rubric, and put these punks in their place. It’s a nice afternoon for a spontaneous demonstration.

  3. All the press and fuss is probably the intended effect. The “reaction” is what feeds the kinds of narcissists who make such threats. The best response would be to quietly increase security and purposely ignore the threats – so as not to empower them.

  4. Tempest in a teapot. Any visitor to a public rest room can read this sort of thing, and it’s converse as well. The cynic in me says you can rule out the possibility of ploy to gain attention.

  5. What upsets me most about this is that these ignorant threats exist on a college campus in 2012. And, these are supposed to be “educated” people.

  6. “What upsets me most about this is that these ignorant threats exist on a college campus in 2012.”

    Was bathroom stall graffiti more elevated in your day, MM?

    It all seems overblown to me.

  7. Also, there’s a difference between plain old graffiti and actual threats. “Die faggots” sounds like a threat to me.

  8. “It all seems overblown to me.”

    —what a shock.

    I guess back in your day, ROC, folks posted death threats with SPECIFIC DATES mentioned in them all the time. That is, of course, nonsense.

    How callous and unthinking.

  9. As a gay person living in Montclair I don’t think it’s overblown. I found it frightening and disturbing. And as a parent of a high school senior who is off to school next year, I find it equally disturbing on that level as well.

  10. Graffiti wasn’t much more elevated in my youth, ROC.

    I distinctly recall “Gas the Jews” spray painted on the street in my Queens childhood, circa 1965.

    This was in front of a newly built apartment building “nestled” into an older white working class neighborhood.

    Many Jews had just moved into that new building. Hence the content of the graffiti.

    This “die faggots” graffiti sounds fairly similar.

  11. While I’m somewhat sympathetic to the tendency towards caution when stuff like this occurs, I also much suspect that some of the posts above are just typically over-emotional Baristanet posts, an example of the pecular tendency of Montclair folks to, well, overrate themselves and their town.

    I mean, come on, gang, it’s not as if the Daltons are riding onto Montclair State’s campus to take Susan Cole down. Nor will there be busloads of Klansmen aching to make a “point.”

    Instead, more likely the graffiti is the product of one pathetic nutjob. This is not to say that one such loser can’t cause some real trouble, such as that loon tried to do in Rutherford recently, but really, to feel so, uh, “threatened” as to require a police escort? This is 2012 and the Nuremberg laws were not in fact passed here just the other day.

    Also, the Rutherford nutter was so behind the times and the moral eight ball that he went about on his appointed rounds via bicycle. Overreacting to crazoes is exactly what such crazoes revel and wallow in, and Baristanet is only helping along with the hysteria. I sometimes think, too, that people who cringe overmuch at graffiti such as that reported on have simply never walked through some truly rough neighborhoods. (I’d like to say I expected more than this from you, Spiro T. but no, I never truly do.) Especially those, say, seen in neighborhoods which harbor either English or Scottish Premier League teams’ soccer stadiums in the UK.

  12. In situations like these, I always like to err on the side of caution. It’s been shown, time and time again, that these things can escalate, even it is IS just one “nutter.” There is no shortage of anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti-black “nutters.” It’s like that children’s game, Whack-a-Mole” where you smack down one mole only to have another appear in its place.

    Who knows if it’s just one nut job or if it’s someone with an agenda in mind? The answer is, we don’t know. Maybe this is a lone wolf with a grudge against gays, maybe it’s a dangerous sort with an entire manifesto hidden away in a drawer with his gun. Again, I like erring on the side of caution.

  13. I see nothing in the article about a “police escort”. I see mention of increased police presence, which is totally appropriate. I also see mention of MSU providing “escorts” — most likely fellow students, as is the case with the escort services most major colleges and universities already provide for female (or male) students who traverse campuses late at night and request such protection.

    When one fails to read carefully, one can come up with all sorts of “facts” to support a ridiculous position. Such was the case, as always, above.

    And generally, you’re safer in the rough English or Scottish neighbourhood than you would be in the stadium.

  14. I would have loved to have read your post in 1965, cathar, had we all been able to post on-line back then.
    No doubt, you would have once again, as you did here, taken the liberty of minimizing the sick graffiti I recalled and then seized the opportunity to spin wildly, and pan the new residents of Queens as those who would “overrate themselves”.
    You are, on occasion, beneath contempt, despite your literacy.

  15. “I don’t think it’s hysterical to have a police presence on campus in light of recent threats.”

    I don’t either. I said as much. Your style of rhetoric is often intellectually dishonest MM. You purposely misstate (and radicalize) the positions of others to make your argument sound more reasonable. You might consider running for office.

  16. How interesting.

    ROC links MM’s quote with “hysterics”, then complains that HIS position is being “radicalized” and that it is SHE who is intellectually dishonest.

    That is a Newtonian, as in Gingrich, stretch indeed.

  17. ME: ”Again, I like erring on the side of caution.”

    ROC: Caution is one thing, hysterics another.

    You brought up the word first.

  18. My point, MM was that your position (extra police) exactly like my stated position is “caution”.

    “Chalk in’s” and rallies, posters, signs, “parent’s freaking out” and now (as reported snipers on the roof) is, in my opinion “hysterics”.

    I never equated hysterics with increased police presence. In fact, I specifically said otherwise.

  19. Don’t play into the overly sensitive gay as victim stereotype. There is no anti homosexual marauder on the loose. Take a deep breath and relax. How is a potential victim going to be identified as gay in the first place? Is MSU some hotbed of alternative lifestyles? We’re talking about a college campus, not the Greenwich Village Halloween parade here. The more I think about it, the more likely it seems that this was an attention grabbing prank perpetrated by the group themselves, or some loser with a case of arrested development. Either way, man-up!

  20. Having seen a fair number of the administrators at Montclair State, croiagusanam, I think it was a modest, eminently reasonable assumption that those nervous nellies on campus who’d actually request “escort service” (as if they were bound for Murmansk in WWII alongside fast corvettes) would also then prefer policemen (provided they can at least walk semi-upright and have opposable thumbs).

    Or did you volunteer your own merc-like services today? Perhaps in tandem with Spiro T? (Provided you could both out down whatever it is you usually hold in your respective hands to get you through the day/)

  21. And you, Spiro, are, as ever, an absolute self-righteous phony.

    Nor does graffiti posted in Queens in 1965 by loonies make for a nest of fugitive SS veterans hiding out in your old neighborhhod. Despite your desperate attempts to make it sound so. (This isn’t even the first time you’ve brought this recollection up on this site, come to think of it.)

    In any case, aren’t you the least bit ashamed to compare the graffiti you recall, whatever its actual provenance, to today’s absolute non-event at Montclair State? That seems to me to be truly contemptible on your part, as well as it being your usual sad attempt at ingratiation.

  22. Its safe to say, cathar, that your assumptions are seldom if ever “reasonable”. I know that you aren’t all that “into” actual reading, but I’m certain that if it was “police escorts” it would have been written as “police escorts”.

    I’m also curious as to what “you could out down” means? Is it some sort of garbled attempt to imply inebriation? Or just your usual rubbish?

  23. Your style of rhetoric is often intellectually dishonest
    You brought up the word first.
    truly contemptible on your part, as well as it being your usual sad attempt at ingratiation.
    Or just your usual rubbish?

    When I’m lying on my death bed, hooked up to machines, tubes running up my nose and into my veins, I’m going to look into the archives and read this happy reunion, and think to myself: ahhhh, life was good then.

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