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Frustrated Montana State parents say university could have done more in response to recent death threats

Posted at 5:12 PM, Mar 31, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-03 11:39:24-04

Parents gathered at MSU to voice their frustration with the university response to recent death threats at a meeting Thursday night.

“Nobody is feeling safe at the schools right now and that’s sad,” said Fatima Lucas.

Fatima’s son was one of the students who testified at a recent Board of Regents meeting about the threats.

“I had to learn about this threat not through MSU, not through any organization, but through a friend more than a week after the threat was sent to the university,” said Fatima’s son. “My safety was at risk for over a week without me even knowing.”

In February, the QSA club at MSU received two emails: one containing a threat on Feb. 16, and another containing what the University says is reprehensible language" on Feb. 23. According to the university… the first threat was ultimately deemed not credible…. The other is still under investigation.

“It just takes one threat and not even a threat, just one person to create the chaos we keep seeing in this world,” said Fatima.

Now parents like Fatima are taking matters into their own hands, worried and concerned over the university’s lack of communication, asking:

“What are we doing to protect these students who are all afraid?” said Fatima.

At the meeting, university officials responded to parent concerns.

“Safety is MSU’s number one value and we work every single day,” said Dean of Students Matt Caires.

Vice President of University Communications Tracy Ellig said, “We provided outreach to these students in this community that we had relationships with."

But still, parents say they think there is more the university could have done to ease students’ minds. One student who received threats reportedly fled her home state of Montana, fearful the threats may become a reality.

“I wish they would’ve come right out and said, ‘This is us protecting the community and we hear you, we see you, and you’re not alone’,” said Fatima.

Although the university can’t always guarantee safety, Caires said, “What we can do is continue to improve what we’re doing."