Death threats made against faculty members


Keith Montes

Former DVC and Oregon University Student allegedly sent threatening emails to DVC and OU faculty. (Alex McDougal / Emerald Media Group)

Keith Montes

Former DVC student Zachary Jacob Moitoza faces a federal charge for allegedly making death threats with hateful, racist remarks toward DVC and University of Oregon professors.

FBI Special Agent Timothy W. Suttles drafted an affidavit and filed it in Oregon’s Federal District Court. The document was obtained by the Inquirer through the public access government website:

The affidavit detailed several paragraphs of the emails allegedly sent by Moitoza.

Moitoza transmitted the threats through an alias email address to two DVC professors, and one professor from the Oregon, according to the affidavit.

As per the affidavit, an email was sent to a DVC professor on May 9, 2012 which stated, “You are 90 percent white and 10 percent Indian, which makes you Indian… I own a PTR-91 .308 caliber semi automatic rifle with a 20 bullet clip… I could easily pick you off from 800 M… I am coming for you.”

Professor Laurence Fischer was one of the two DVC faculty who received threatening emails and was willing to speak to the Inquirer about the alleged incident.

Fischer wished for, “people to know, so that if something happens to them which seems threatening and menacing that they don’t feel they brought it upon themselves.”

Fisher continued by encouraging anyone threatened to, “seek help among their colleagues and the administration, that they insist upon it, perhaps more than I did, that they get whatever level of protection they need.”

When asked about Moitoza as a student, Fisher said, “He presented himself in my critical thinking class as being conservative in his politics, but reasonably so… But nothing I saw eight or ten years ago would have said ‘there is somebody we should watch.’”

A University of Oregon professor who also received threats was mentioned in the affidavit and wished to remain anonymous.

The Oregon professor was purportedly sent an email where Moitoza discussed the cost of college education versus its usefulness, allegedly stating, “Our economy is collapsing due to the fact that we are now 25 percent mestizo, castizo, Moor, black and Indian,” according to the affidavit.

The additional DVC faculty member who was allegedly threatened requested to remain anonymous and it was the decision of The Inquirer to respect the wishes of the alleged crime victim.

Moitoza said in an interview with agent Suttles that he intended to frighten the professors with the emails according to the affidavit.

DVC President Peter Garcia said, “We take threats seriously and typically, if it’s a viable threat, we use both police services and student discipline as a way to pursue them. The safety of our students, safety of faculty is always paramount in our minds and so if there is anything that resembles a verbal or physical threat we mobilize both sides of the house…”

Garcia said about the mental health services available on campus, “There are some opportunities for inter-personal and crisis intervention counseling and then we do also house a case worker from county mental health on campus who collaborates … on occasion in situations where we believe we need a stronger mental health perspective.”

Cultural anthropology professor Lenore Gallin shared her concern about students which have presented mental health issues to her. “I have to refer them to county agencies…many times, they won’t go take that extra step and so that’s of concern and we’re not given a lot of help about how to recognize or deal with troubled students,” Galin explained.

Mathematics professor Peter Willet said, “… I think a lot of times the campus doesn’t really have the resources to deal with people who come into their world and have needs that aren’t something we’re used to meeting on a regular basis.”

Cultural anthropology major Deanna Nathan said, about the alleged threats, “I think that there is zero excuse for it…I think people should be able to have guns but there is no reason the general public should have semi-automatic rifles…”

Moitoza attended DVC in 2003 and 2005 according to The Contra Costa Times. He graduated from the Oregon in 2007 with a B.S. in political science according to a statement made by University of Oregon spokesperson Julie Brown as reported by The Daily Emerald.

Aeronautical engineering major Kevin Surban was shocked to hear of the reports of alleged threats.

“I couldn’t even believe that this is actually happening…It makes me pretty sad…It doesn’t make any sense,” Surban said.