Father of the man who says he was assaulted at a UND fraternity has a message to share; he says he’s disappointed in the community. Dan Gisvold tells us his son has been harassed for years for being gay, and that type of behavior needs to stop. “It’s a lot bigger issue than people realize,” he says, explaining that hate crimes happen more than people want to admit.
Formal activities are on hold at Lambda Chi Alpha in Grand Forks after police began investigating an attack last weekend. “There are people out there that found him in the bushes with his clothes off, he was stripped of his clothes, he did have marks on his body. They whipped him with a belt, and he said they kicked him too, and I don’t think people believe it,” says Dan Gisvold.
He wants to thank the people he says helped his son by bringing him some sweat pants and a tee-shirt to wear. “The majority of people in this world I think are decent people, and thank God there were some people who were willing to step up and help him, because no one at that fraternity, that party who was willing to help him,” says Gisvold.
Gisvold says he and his son are not blaming the fraternity, saying not all frats are homophobic. “He wrote a message on Facebook saying I don’t blame the fraternity system at UND, it’s not their problem, it’s these individuals who attacked me it’s their problem. Not everyone in that fraternity is homophonic, I know that, everyone knows that. You know, use some common sense.”
For those out there shocked after hearing allegations of a hate crime, Gisvold says that’s the problem. “It happens everywhere,” he says. “Unless you’re in my position or other parent’s position that have a son or daughter that’s a gay or lesbian you don’t really get it, they want to be treated the same.” Gisvold says this is not just about his son, “It doesn’t matter if you are gay, straight, black, or white, it’s wrong.”
The family is planning on pressing charges, and hoping to charge those responsible with a hate crime. “What do I want to see happen? I am a parent, you don’t want to know what I want to see happen to them.” Says Gisvold. “And I think any parent in the same situation probably wouldn’t share what they want to see happen to these kids, well they are not kids, they are adults.”
Valley News Team's Nicole Johnson spoke with Gisvold on camera today, tune in tonight on Valley News Live @ 5 & 6 to hear of what he has to say.