October 26, 2022
Dear Gonzaga Community:
Yesterday evening, I was made aware that several spray-painted signs, one bearing the name of “Patriot Front US” were today posted to “The Wall” -- the long, low-lying concrete structure located to the northwest of Crosby Center, upon which student groups frequently paint various announcements. “The Wall” has been a place of significance for generations of Gonzaga students; to see this message affixed to it is hurtful to all in our community, and especially to historically underrepresented and marginalized individuals on our campus. The Patriot Front is known to be a white supremacist organization whose messages and actions are a deeply offensive affront to the diverse cultures, races, ethnicities, and identities that call the United States “home.”
Patriot Front members have engaged in a range of tactics, from posting flyers and stickers on college campuses promoting their organization, to alleged incidents of vandalism – all with the intent of intimidating, harassing, and victimizing people who identify as Black, Indigenous, Latino/Latina/Latine, Asian, Asian-American, Pacific Islander, and all people of color; those who are LGBTQ+, as well as those who disagree with their racist ideology. One of the spray-painted signs used the term “conquered” with respect to the United States: a clear affront to our indigenous community members, whose unceded lands are the place upon which Gonzaga University currently is situated. The Patriot Front has also been linked with anti-Semitism – prejudice against Jewish people, who are a vital and fundamental part of our university community.
First, I would like to acknowledge that the mere presence of such signs and messages on Gonzaga’s campus is deeply offensive. My thanks to those students who reached out to various offices and resources to report this hateful act. I can affirm that the University is investigating this incident and will continue to work to identify those involved with the painting of the signs. If anyone has any information related to this incident, including when the hateful marks were first witnessed, please contact Campus Security and Public Safety (CSPS) at (509) 313-2222. It should be noted that this incident was reported by CSPS to the Command Desk of the Spokane Police Department, as well as the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI (JTTF). We will provide an update on this investigation in a week’s time, if not before. I also want to encourage anyone who has been negatively affected to seek support from any of the campus resources listed below.
Second, this act is another reminder that racism pervades our entire society, and that continuing the work of ensuring that people of all identities, races, ethnicities, and cultures or cultural origins are worthy of honor, respect, equitable treatment, and inclusion in every aspect of their lived experiences is critical. We cannot be complacent in our commitment; we cannot assume that stamping out racism – or any other act or expression of prejudice, be it based on race, ethnicity, sex, faith or religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, ability, age, or veteran status – is someone else’s responsibility. We are all responsible, each of us, every day. We have the power to influence the community of which we are a part, and the future we all will live in.
To this end, I have been in contact with our GSBA President, Miguel Acosta Loza. Together with other student leaders and members of the GU community, we will work to create a campus-based opportunity for people to come together, stand in opposition to this hate-motivated incident, support those in our community who are most impacted by the events of today, and work as a campus community to positively confront and educate against the societal racism that gives rise to hateful acts.
Gonzaga has long been a part of regional efforts to combat hate and work to support justice. I affirm once again that Gonzaga University stands in solidarity with all those who oppose hate, who oppose prejudice, who oppose racism – and confirm Gonzaga’s commitment to working proactively and constructively to create a culture and society where the dignity of each and every individual is treasured, honored, and respected; and the words “equity,” “inclusivity,” and “belonging” are truly hallmarks of our way of proceeding.
Unity Multicultural Education Center (UMEC)
Lincoln LGBTQ+ Resource Center
Office of Inclusive Excellence
Center for Cura Personalis
Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Health and Counseling Services
Monday – Wednesday and Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday, 10:45 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Office of Mission and Ministry
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
If you have any immediate needs, please contact the 24/7/365 resources listed below.
Licensed mental health clinicians are available 24 hours and can schedule counseling appointments if you have ongoing mental health needs.
First Call for Help:
Phone 509-838-4428 for assistance. This 24-hour resource is available to provide a supportive listener, immediate help for individuals in crisis, and connection to community resources.
For 24-hour assistance, please contact Campus Security at 509-313-2222. Campus Security will direct you to the Student Affairs on-call professional.
An online wellness toolbox is available with various resources, including a section on grief: https://www.gonzaga.edu/student-life/health-well-being/health-counseling-services/resources/well-being-resources/wellness-toolbox.
Thayne M. McCulloh, D. Phil