Breaking silence, Little calls anti-diversity postcard ‘distasteful’

Breaking two days of silence, Gov. Brad Little on Wednesday condemned a mailer that criticized diversity programs at Boise State University — lampooning new Boise State president Marlene Tromp and members of Little’s State Board of Education.

Little’s statement was tucked into an e-newsletter sent out late Wednesday afternoon — underneath items touting Idaho rules reform and the state’s constitutionally mandated balanced budget, and just above an item encouraging students to apply for internships in the governor’s office.

Here’s what Little had to say, in full:

“I am usually reluctant to acknowledge exclusionary, inflammatory displays of opinion. That said, the political cartoon depicted on the out-of-state postcard mailed to Idaho officials, along with the language on the postcard, is distasteful and belittles the volunteers and workers who dedicate their time to advancing opportunities for Idaho students. I do not condone the postcard, but free speech is a tenet of a democratic republic.”

The anonymous postcards, sent from Spokane, Wash., call Boise State diversity programs a “clown world” that condone “scholarships for illegal aliens” and foster an “alt-gender-cult center for LBGTQ creep clowns.” A drawing on the postcard depicts Tromp and State Board members in clown costumes and makeup.

Legislative Democrats urged Little to condemn the mailing, and they weren’t alone. On Monday, former Boise State president Bob Kustra also urged Little to defend campus diversity and inclusion programs.

As recently as Tuesday, Little’s staff said the governor was out of state on business this week, and was unavailable to comment on the Boise State controversy.

Idaho Education News requested comment Wednesday — for the third time this week. Idaho Education News received no direct response, but within about two hours, Little’s office sent out the e-newsletter containing his statement on the mailer.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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