A man who hopes to fight what he said is a pattern in the U.S of discrimination against people of European descent will challenge the current North Idaho College Board of Trustees vice chairman for a seat on the board in November.
Stan Hess, 61, filed his declaration of candidacy Wednesday morning, making himself and vice chairman Denny Hague the only candidates who have filed for the seat thus far. The filing deadline is Aug. 31.
“It’s all about the European American human rights movement,” Hess said in an interview at his home in Hayden.
If elected to the board, he plans to push for the implementations of a European American studies program at the college and for the declaration of the month of October as “European American Heritage Month,” he said. He’d also like to get rid of the intercollegiate athletics program and replace it with an intramural one to save money, and to change policies so that the college president is elected by the people rather than appointed by the board and have trustees serve just two-year terms instead of the current six-year terms.
On the Web site of the European-American Unity and Rights Organization – widely regarded by civil rights groups as a white supremacist association – Hess is listed as the Idaho contact, but he said he severed ties with the group about a year ago. Started by Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, Hess said the group’s ties to the KKK concerned him and that he found it difficult to work within a large organization. He served as president of the organization’s California chapter prior to moving to North Idaho in 2003.
He said he has started his own group here – the European-American Human Rights Task Force. Still in its organizational stage, Hess said the group has members, but they want to keep their membership secret because they still work in the community.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group that tracks white supremacist organizations and their members, considers Hess to be one of the 100 most prolific white supremacists in the country.
“He’s a big man in hate; there’s no question,” said Heidi Beirich, the center’s spokeswoman. “People should know that.”
Hess said he doesn’t consider himself racist and said he has broken friendships with people who use racial slurs. He believes all people are equal but thinks European Americans have been getting the short shrift.
“If American Indians have sovereignty and reservations, we Europeans should have tribal status, too,” he said.
Hess described himself as an “old anti-war activist” who opposes all military interventions by the United States and thinks the Sept. 11 attacks were orchestrated by a rogue faction of the federal government.
He said it’s long past time for “people that don’t have power, like European Americans,” to “go to the campus and demand that our heritage be taught.”
Hague said he welcomes the challenge of a contested race.
“I guess it’s always good to have an opponent,” he said. “It’s up to the citizens of the community. They should have a choice of who they would like to have, have the responsibility.”
Hess is no stranger to NIC, having attended a board meeting in June touting a video that he claimed proves that Europeans inhabited America long before Indians and expressing concern that NIC was becoming an “American Indian-centric” college.
He also interrupted a speech NIC President Michael Burke gave at a Gonzaga University human rights event in 2003, objecting to Burke’s use of the phrase “people of color.”
“I was ethnically cleansed from California,” Hess said at the time. “Whites today face the most extensive and intensive racial discrimination in American history.”
Hess said he hopes the “European American platform” he’s basing his campaign on will inspire others with similar ideologies to run for office. He plans to run for Congress someday.
The Board of Trustees election is Nov. 7.
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