Administrators, Students Say Enrollment Of 18,000 Will Not Stand For Prejudice

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.”

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

“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.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …

Comments (11)
  1. eileen says:

    We are talking of a death threat on a college campus here, folks. No room for “political” discussion of LGBT prescence on campus; why aren’t the reports focused more on an apparent threat of violence? Aren’t their cameras on campus that would detect who put the note under the door? College campuses have been the scene of horrible violence; as a parent of MSU senior, I need to know more of the security on campus? why is the VP of student development threatening school expulsion? Someone is threatening violence against a protected group IN THE NAME OF ALLAH! This is “hate speech” strongly indicating the possibility of a hate crime. It does not sound to me that MSU is taking this seriously enough at all. Does anyone really think that this is at the level of “school expulsion” as a consequence? “Hate speech” is a federal crime! I need to look into this situation more; I hope the media will also.

    1. Alex Horwitz says:

      Actually, the police stated on Feb 1st, during a campus meeting to discuss the crimes, that the culprit(s) will be caught, and will be going to jail when caught.

      I’m a gay student at MSU, so I thought I’d just give you the heads up.

      1. eileen says:

        Alex, I am very glad that there was a peaceful show of solidarity yesterday. But I just do not understand why the culprit is still on campus.

        There were two incidents of graffiti “hate speech” last night; indicative that students did not yet learn the seriousness of this words of hatred directed toward a protected group.

        I do thank you for your response.

  2. Dan says:

    How disgusting that this still happens, you’d think being homosexual was a new thing.

  3. AuntTootzToldMe says:

    And you’re from the backwoods, right? Grow up and get a life!!!

  4. Lirin says:

    Have you ever had threats like that directed towards you because of your identity? I doubt you’d b e saying that everyone needs to ‘calm down’ if you had been. It’s a hateful thing to do, and it’s not funny. It’s perpetuating violence and prejudice against people because they fall in love with others in a way that is considered outside a ‘norm’ that heterosexist society expects everyone to fall into.

    It’s not funny, if it’s really someone goofing off, they have a sick sense of humor and need a good lesson in what prejudice and hate crimes are, and I think you need to put yourself in the shoes of the group being targeted with these messages more. Homophobic violence and bullying someone based on sexual orientation are both running rampant in society; it is a legit concern when notes like these are left because of that.

    1. Lirin says:

      Sorry, this was directed @normal, by the way.

  5. Janine Zielaznicki says:

    As a Montclair State Alumnus, I can say things like this have been happening for a while now, but not quite to this extent. To anyone who was there a few years ago, do you remember the “lunch tray bomb threat” scare that led to snipers being on the roof of University Hall and armed officers patrolling campus? It doesn’t matter how empty a threat may be, once you make a threat you HAVE to take it seriously because for all the times it may NOT be serious, all it takes is one time for people to get hurt or worse. It’s a shame that people still have to live in fear just because of who they are…we’re all different and we may not all agree with each other, but that doesn’t mean any of us have the right to dictate whether or not someone should live because they don’t follow our own personal beliefs. Stop the hate!

  6. normal says:

    Probably just someone goofing off. College students aren’t that much older than ones in HS and act just as immature most of the time. If I had seen it, I would had laughed and tried to erase it so nobody gets unnecessarily up in arms like for someone that didn’t get one millimeter of his body properly screened.

    Bottom line is that graffiti artists, gays, liberals, and media all need to calm down with this nonsense.

    1. normal says:

      **properly screened earlier today at Newark Airport should read

      1. Waqas Quiet Storm Malik says:

        @normal when someone starts discriminating against sexual preference, gender, race, religion, etc., then that action is not protected under ‘freedom of speech.’ i’m supportive of street art, but i’m almost certain these anti-gay slurs were NOT done by an artist. and it isn’t something to ignore or to “calm down about.” what if these slurs were about you, and written on/inside your house? would you ignore these repeated offenses? would you wait until someone comes along to literally attack you?

        these slurs are also offensive to the entire student body, since people will get the impression that all montclair state students act like this. most college students are 18 or older, and thus are legal adults that are not allowed the excuse of being “immature.” these slurs were purposely made to offend and foreshadow possible violence in the future, and you considering them as just “little nuisances” is uncalled for. you’re a better candidate of being immature for failure to recognize the repercussions of these hate-crimes. perhaps you should be the one to grow-up.

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