Thursday, November 30, 2006

Boise, Boy Do

[posted by Callimachus]

Eugene Volokh tracks a drearily familiar story: The campus conservative gadfly (named Sawmiller in this case) and the "progressive" student majority herd's attempt to gag and hog-tie him.

But something odd jumped out at me from near the bottom of the text of the "Boise Weekly" article on it:

Later in the same week, a new unauthorized poster--this time, from an anonymous source--was posted around campus. On this poster, under the title "Abuse of Power," were two pictures. One showed Adolf Hitler, with the quotes "dirty Jews" and "His ideology cost 6 million lives." The other showed Sawmiller in his military fatigues, with the quotes, "Dirty illegal alien," and, "What will his ideology cost our students at Boise State?"

(Sawmiller had been quoted as using the term "dirty illegal aliens" in his April Arbiter editorial, although the opinion editor admitted in a correction that a staff member had added the term "dirty" independent of the author.) ...

Emphasis added. What? Who edits like that? And moreover, why? And did the "Boise Weekly" even think to ask whether this was a case of sabotage?

Volokh, naturally, focuses on the part of the article that is relevant to his post. But the opening anecdote of the "Boise Weekly" piece also is a bit of a jaw-dropper, in terms of "questions a real journalist might ask, but you don't."

When a Boise State student reported on November 9 that he had been assaulted on campus by a group of men shouting anti-gay epithets, the campus responded in short order. Within five days, student groups and administrators assembled a well-attended rally titled "No Oppression Tolerated--N.O.T. on our campus," with speakers from both the student body and the administration condemning the attack.

When police announced two weeks later that the same student had confessed to fabricating the attack, students campus-wide might have been relieved that such an event had, well, not happened on their campus.

But at the end of what has been a turbulent month for the Boise State community, some students say their concerns over campus safety haven't decreased at all. The Boise Police Department is still investigating the matter.

But in the meantime, students say such a thing could definitely happen at Idaho's largest university.

"I wasn't surprised to hear that an attack occurred, even if it didn't actually occur," said Woody Howard, chairman of Boise State's Bisexuals, Gays, Lesbians and Allies for Diversity (BGLAD) club. "This situation has gotten out of hand, and there is a hostile environment being created for everybody."

Emphasis added. Yep. There's trouble in Boise.