MONTCLAIR, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Authorities at Montclair State University are investigating threatening messages targeting homosexuals on the campus.
Last Thursday, one slur was scrawled at the school’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center. The next day, a death threat note passed under the LGBT office door. Then this past Monday, more hatred appeared in the form of writing on a women’s bathroom wall.
The message said that on Feb. 7, homosexuals “will die.”
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“This is real now. This is not just a statement. This is a threat,” Andres Lara of the LGBT Center told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg.
“It kind of, like, pisses me off,” said “Eric,” a freshman at the school. “It makes me angry, because I don’t feel like anybody should feel threatened in this environment.”
Montclair State president Susan Cole sent a message to the student body following the hateful messages.
“These actions are grossly unacceptable in our community and a clear violation of university policies as well as the basic tents of human decency,” Cole wrote.
As CBS 2’s Sean Hennessey found out Wednesday, the outrage is everywhere, and growing.
“I definitely don’t like it. I know a lot of gay people,” student Mike Meerovich said.
“It’s definitely surprising that something like this would happen in this school,” Cesar Archila said.
“It’s ignorance, man,” Carlan Edwards said.
It is ignorance that has sent a chill across campus.
“More terrified at first and now I’m enraged that someone would actually go to that extent,” Jackie Loder said.
“It’s sort of disturbing,” the LGBT’s Anna Montenegro added.
Other LGBT members said, unfortunately, they aren’t too surprised.
“Hate doesn’t have a location; it’s everywhere. People are prejudiced all over,” Chris Perez said.
This public display of prejudice is now being investigated by campus police.
“The university’s reaction is we’re appalled by this. This is not who we are as an institution. It’s not what we stand for,” said Dr. Karen Pennington, Montclair State’s VP of student development.
Pennington said the 18,000-member student body is a microcosm for society.
“We’re bigger than some of the towns that many of our students come from, so for some students that’s fearful. It’s difficult to learn new things and find a new way,” Dr. Pennington said.
The school said it has some leads and that whoever is responsible won’t be on campus much longer.
“They should also expect that their transcripts will reflect that they were expelled from the university,” Dr. Pennington said.
This campus of higher learning is out to teach a lesson in what tolerance is all about.
Anyone with any information about the messages is asked to call Montclair State University police at (973) 655-5222. You can call a confidential tip line at (973) 655-8477.
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