Dankprofessor’s Weblog

A weblog examining sexual politics in higher education and beyond.

UNM student/professor couple murdered

The New Mexico Daily Lobo has reported that UNM English professor Hector Torres  and his girlfriend Stephanie Gray, A UNM grad student in Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, were found dead Monday in his home near campus.

Ralph Montoya, the female victim’s ex-boyfriend, is charged with two counts of murder. He is booked in Metropolitan Detention Court on a $250,000 cash-only bail.
According to the warrant issued by APD, Montoya walked into the downtown office of attorney Lauren Oliveros on Monday and confessed to killing two people on Sunday. He told Oliveros the two bodies could be found at the residence of the male victim.

When police arrived at the residence, at noon, they saw two bodies lying on the floor from the outside window. Upon entering, officers saw the male victim laying face down in a pool of blood with a gun aimed at his head.

According to the report, it appeared to the officers that the gun was placed there by another person to make it look like the victim committed suicide.
Officers reported that the female victim was found face up in a pool of blood, but no visible wounds were found on her body. The male victim is 54 years old, and his girlfriend is 43, according to the report.

In response to the murders, the UNM administeration issued the following statement-

 “The UNM community has been diminished by the untimely deaths of two of our own. Professor Hector Torres will be remembered as a scholar of great passion, dedication and kindness. Graduate student Stefania Gray was a scholar of great promise. Both were wonderful individuals and we join their families and many friends in great sadness.”

Professor Torres was on faculty in the UNM Department of English since 1986. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico, raised in El Paso, Texas and, with the benefit of the GI Bill, earned all his degrees, including a doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, he was teaching a course on Chicano Culture, a theory course and was directing an independent study.

He regularly teaches courses in literary and critical theory, postmodernism and contemporary Chicana and Chicano literary discourse and film, English syntax and discourse analysis, as well as courses on writing about film. His research and scholarship focused on contemporary, postmodern Chicana and Chicano literary discourse and film, literary and critical theory.

In a 2007 interview he said, “I think being a Spanish speaker who learned English in school drove my interest in linguistics, language and literature.”

In 2007, with UNM Press he published, “Conversations with Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Writers.” The impetus for the books was in his study of social linguistics – or the relationship between language and society. “The language of literature is language of reflection rather than language through interaction, but the social linguistic approach still interests me,” he said in a 2007 interview.

Stefania Gray was a graduate student in comparative literature in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. She was working with Raji Vallury, assistant professor in French, on her thesis, “Dreams of Andalusia: Women, Gender, Memory and Nation.” She was to defend the day after spring break.

Vallury remembers her as “vibrant, beautiful and strong.” She was a heritage Spanish speaker who earned her undergraduate degree and then went out to the workforce where she was a flight attendant. She came back to school and was the first woman in her family to do post-graduate study. She was already planning to pursue a doctoral degree, Vallury said.

The dankprofessor must note that in the aforementioed statement the UNM administration  does not mention that there was a relationship between the murdered student and murdered professor.  Maybe such a mention would be out of order in this statement.  But I do know this- that in universities throughout the United States, including UNM, student prof couples function in a hostile environment which has been created as a result of a persistent rhetoric which functions to dehumanize such couples.   Universities have given a license to just about  everyone to demean and degrade student professor couples.  And therefore it is not a shocking statement that for the mentally distraught  this cultural framework may function as a LICENSE TO KILL.

March 9, 2010 - Posted by | higher education, sex, student professor dating, Uncategorized, University of New Mexico, violence

1 Comment »

  1. Ralph Montoya should go to jail for life; this was first degree double murder! I give him credit for reporting the crimes to his attorney. Jealousy should never reach the point of a license to kill. He should have been thankful for the time she did spend with him. After all, he wasn’t married to her; even if he had been, a cooler head should have prevailed.

    Comment by Donald Visconti | April 5, 2010 | Reply


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