U-M student injured in anti-gay attack

By | 2007-03-22T09:00:00-04:00 March 22nd, 2007|News|

ANN ARBOR – Ann Arbor police are looking for information related to an attack against a 23-year-old University of Michigan student that occurred March 10.
According to the Ann Arbor News, the student “suffered a chipped tooth, possible broken nose and bloody lip” in the attack. A group of men approached him and began making anti-gay comments as he stood waiting to hail a cab and “when a cab pulled up, one of the men grabbed him by the back of the head and smashed his face into the window,” the News reported. Police have identified the incident as a hate crime.
The News identified the assailant as “an Asian Indian, 25 years old, average height and weight, clean shaven, dark spiked hair and wearing an olive button-down shirt and jeans.” Readers with information should call the Ann Arbor Police tip line at 734-996-3199.
Jackie Simpson, director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender Affairs at the University of Michigan, said that the office has offered the student assistance, but was not releasing his name per his request.
The Office first learned of the incident from the March 12 Ann Arbor News story.
“When we saw the article the Office of the Dean of Students made contact with the student,” Simpson said.
On March 14 an email addressing the incident was sent out to the campus community and signed by Simpson and Sue Eklund, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs.
The email read, in part, “We wanted to express our deep concern and sadness about this unprovoked attack on a member of the university community. We realize that such events have a chilling and frightening impact on the LGBT and Ally Communities. It is important for all of us to reaffirm that this kind of behavior is unacceptable at the University of Michigan. In addition, we want you to know that we have been in contact with our student and want to reassure the community that this situation has our full attention.”
“We have offered the fact that we’re here [to the student],” said Simpson. “The decision about whether he accesses our office for advocacy is in his hands and at this point he has decided not to use our office.”
Simpson added, “He knows what spaces are available to him.”
Hate crimes are not a common occurrence in Ann Arbor, said Simpson. However, she added, “Sometimes they get reported, sometimes they don’t get reported.”
According to the University’s Web site, “In 2004 (the most recent year for which we have reported statistics), the Ann Arbor campus had one assault with race prejudice reported to the Department of Public Safety, and 11 bias-related incidents (occurring on campus or in Ann Arbor) reported to the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Affairs. However, in the past, the University has not had a comprehensive mechanism for reporting bias-related incidents that do not constitute crimes.”

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