Members of the Boise State Afro-Black Student Alliance say decorations on their float for Saturday’s homecoming parade — a tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement — were damaged or taken sometime before the “best float” vote that afternoon.
Boise State President Bob Kustra condemned the vandalism in an early Sunday press release.
Now, the university seeks the public’s help with its investigation.
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“The Boise State University Department of Public Safety is actively investigating the situation and asks anyone with information that could help with the investigation to please call (208) 426-6911,” said a Tuesday statement from BSU.
N’nandii Alexander, president of the Afro-Black Student Alliance, said Monday that she and fellow club members were still hurting after the vandalism.
“To be honest, it’s still laying a little heavy,” she said. “But honestly I’m just happy that so many people are trying to figure out our side of the story.”
This was the first time the club was taking part in Boise State’s homecoming parade. Alexander expected backlash, but was still surprised that their float was torn apart. It was hard to still use the float in the parade, she said.
“It was really hard for me. If it wasn’t for my club members, I personally wouldn’t have put my float out in the parade,” she said. But, “just because they try to silence us doesn’t mean we’ll shut up.”
Her club had decorated the float with streamers, rich colors, and balloons that featured the names of black people who were shot by police or died in police custody. A sign on the float that said “Black Lives Matter” was taken off the float.
Though the experience was dispiriting, Alexander said she and her group felt relief when Kustra sent out his 1 a.m. Sunday statement remonstrating the vandals and supporting her group.
“I personally thought it was so amazing,” she said. “I’m just hoping that this will lead to more action.”
The Boise Police Department said they are not investigating the incident at this time.
In their Tuesday press release, Boise State emphasized their support of a diverse culture and thoughtful discourse. The university will partner with the student organization to “identify opportunities to advance dialogue, confront bias and foster a more inclusive campus community,” according to the release.