- Harrison Berry
- Demonstrators protested the Boise State Nationalists outside the Albertsons Library at Boise State University.
"I find this nationalist group to be super disturbing," said one of the protestors, who asked to remain anonymous after she was approached during the demonstration by people she said asked "provocative and personal" questions.
BSN dropped like a boulder on Boise State campus in late January. Flyers for the group taped to campus doorways and windows contained inflammatory language, including references to "male emasculation" and "degeneracy."
While many of the concepts identified on the flier, like globalization, Marxism and male identity, are frequently discussed at Boise State, "degeneracy" relates specifically to National Socialist theories of race, eugenics and art.
The group received voluminous response, much of it negative, and it issued a mass email deriding the media for misrepresenting it and promising to respond to interested people individually regarding its first meeting, which was at Albertsons Library this afternoon. When the BSN meeting convened—five people attended—the group was met by the Division of Student Affairs, which offered to serve as a mediator between BSN and other groups. Henry Brown, the student leader of the group, flatly denied BSN has any ties to Nazism, racism, sexism or the so-called alt-right.
"We are American patriots," Brown said. "You say 'nationalism' and people immediately jump on the Nazi train."
The use of "degeneracy" on the flyers, he said, was in reference to sexual promiscuity, and drug and alcohol abuse. Another meeting attendee, who asked to remain anonymous, said a degenerate is "someone who acts less than human." He also said he was perplexed why anyone would "hate on America," and worried "people are Balkanizing," referring to severe political divisions in the United States.
Brown said the meeting was held in order to define the group's mission statement and objectives to interested parties. BSN's platform has a few planks: It's anti-immigration—Brown said he is concerned about the introduction of Sharia into the United States, and worried Muslim refugees "don't mesh well with American culture." BSN is also pro-LGBT rights.
As for the strong reaction to the group within the Boise State community, Brown said he expected some resistance to the group.
"I intended backlash," Brown said. "I wasn't expecting as much backlash."