Who is Boise State’s mystery accuser? Boise State isn’t saying

On March 15, a community leader contacted Boise State University, claiming to have seen video evidence of a student being harassed during a diversity class.

An outside investigative report released Monday exonerated Boise State — but did not identify the non-student behind the complaint. On Tuesday, the university said it will not identify the complainant.

“The complaining party referenced in the report is a respected member of the community who reported their concerns under the condition of anonymity during a personal conversation,” associate general counsel Texie Montoya said in an email to Idaho Education News. “At the university, we take all reports seriously and respect the privacy of those coming forward with reports.”

Idaho Education News on Monday filed a public records request, seeking the March 15 complaint and any correspondence between the university and the complainant.

The March 15 complaint was not made in writing, Montoya told Idaho Education News.

The confidential verbal complaint had considerable political impact.

The explosive claim — that a student had been forced to apologize for being white, or for enjoying white privilege — came just as the Legislature was mired in a debate over social justice programs on campus. Lawmakers eventually cut $1.5 million from Boise State’s budget, and passed an anti-indoctrination law covering higher education and K-12.

And despite the lack of a written complaint, Boise State temporarily suspended its University Foundations 200 diversity class. Later, the course’s 1,300 students were allowed to resume their studies online, while the Boise law firm Hawley Troxell investigated the complaint.

Hawley Troxell’s report protected the complainant’s confidentiality — but cast some doubt over his credibility:

“After several failed attempts, Hawley Troxell was able to interview the Complainant. The Complainant spoke openly about concerns that BSU is indoctrinating students. The Complainant reported being aware of multiple inappropriate interactions between BSU instructors and students. However, the Complainant declined to identify any student and declined to describe in any detail what he has seen or heard from students other than that it was ‘really inappropriate.’ The Complainant stated that he did not have possession of the video he had seen and declined to provide any information on how it could be obtained.”

Hawley Troxell investigators said they could find no evidence backing up the complaint.

 

About 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 KIVI 6 On Your Side; "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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