BSU prof uses university email to encourage support for group that wants to defund police, end capitalism

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A Boise State University assistant professor used her publicly-funded email account and access to students’ contact information to raise funds for a group that seeks to end capitalism and defund police nationwide. 

The assistant professor, Les Hutchinson Campos, also offered students tips for protesting without getting caught or injured. She promised additional help to students if they asked.

“I’m just an email away. And, if you want to talk on the phone or video chat about what’s going on, please email me. I have an open schedule to talk with you,” Hutchinson Campos wrote in a June 11 email. “You all may also use my decades of experience and knowledge of protest and anti-racist organizing should you need it.”

Hutchinson Campos, who teaches in BSU’s English department, emailed an unknown number of students to raise funds for The Movement for Black Lives. MBL, founded in 2014, is a left-wing group that favors a single reform idea in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white police officer: End policing in the United States.

“We need to start by making the premise clear: Police do not keep us safe,” the group explains on its website. “By talking about defunding the police, we are talking about building a future where safety actually exists.” 

In a recent Medium post, the group explains its demand for immediate action, rather than incremental reforms: 

Elected officials would love a quick proposal that gives them an easy out. Police unions and racist conservative policies have a stranglehold on elected officials, dimming their will to end this crisis.

The group also boasts of its mission to end capitalism, which it sees as harmful to people of color. “We believe and understand that Black people will never achieve liberation under the current global racialized capitalist system,” the group’s website says. 

In her message, Hutchinson Campos offered students 12 tips for protesting the Floyd killing and police brutality. Among her suggestions:  

Cover your face so that you cannot be ID’d by cameras. We all should be wearing masks anyway. Bring an extra in case the one you’re wearing becomes poisonous due to tear gas or pepper spray.

Try your best to not get arrested. Stay away from those groups of white supremacists infiltrating the protests to destroy property. This is happening in several major cities and is being documented by Republican and Democrat political leaders alike in these states.

Keep a lookout for street medics who will be able to take care of you if you get injured or tear-gassed.

Bring with you a bottle of milk or milk of magnesia along with water to dilute it in case you do get tear-gassed or pepper-sprayed. DO NOT ONLY USE WATER AS IT DOES NOT STOP THE STING OF THE CHEMICALS.

Beyond the protest suggestions, Hutchinson Campos also listed resources for those affected by what she calls systemic racism. She also offered advice for white people who want to get involved. 

“Secondly, call out family members, friends, and other loved ones on their racism and anti-Blackness,” Hutchinson Campos. “This is the single, most initial [sic] thing you can do.”

Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, deems Hutchinson Campos’s email as a misuse of public resources.

“We grieve for the victims of racism,” Hoffman explained. “We grieve for the victims of police violence. But government resources should never be deployed to promote a political agenda or turn our institutions into a fundraising arm of anti-capitalists or rioters. The professor’s decision to encourage students to support the downfall of our entire economic system is not what BSU is supposed to be about.”

IFF wrote Greg Hahn, BSU’s associate vice president for communications and marketing, for comment about Hutchinson Campos’s message to students. He has not yet responded.