Vanderbilt student and friend attacked in alleged anti-gay hate crime

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Vanderbilt’s student online news service, InsideVandy.com, is reporting that a student and his companion were recently attacked on campus in what InsideVandy.com is describing as an anti-gay hate crime.

The story (available here) says “that the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity and the juvenile court system have begun their investigation of an alleged anti-gay hate crime that occurred on campus.” The story is baed on reports obtained over the weekend filed by Vanderbilt University Police Department with Metro Nashville Police Department Central Records Division.

The incident occurred on Sept. 9 as the undergraduate student and his friend, a recent graduate of Vanderbilt’s Divinity School, were ordering food at Vanderbilt’s Carmichael Towers West Quiznos.

The men told police that their affectionate behavior drew anti-gay comments and slurs from a 17-year-old Vanderbilt undergraduate and a non-student guest.

InsideVandy.com reports that the recent divinity school graduate walked over to the suspects and asked if there was a problem,  according to the Vanderbilt University Police Department incident report.”

The suspects became argumentative and told the alumnus to “get out of (their) face,” said the report.

InsideVandy.com quotes Vanderbilt’s Dean of Students Mark Bandas, as saying that “when the couple left Towers West they were accosted by the two suspects in what “appeared to be a premeditated, unprovoked attack.”

The police report narrative does not mention the anti-gay language used in Quiznos, but it does indicate suspicion of a hate crime according to the InsideVandy story.

Surveillance images captured the entire attack and led to the identification of the undergraduate suspect.

According to the VUPD report, “The suspects began to strike (the graduate) in the head with their fists. The suspects struck (him) four or five times.”

The victim suffered minor swelling to the left cheek and lip, according to the report.

Bandas told InsideVandy.com that  “Vanderbilt has no tolerance for intolerance. An assault like this one is an attack on the fundamental norms and values that constitute our community.”

InsideVandy.com reports that Bandas told them that the assaulted victim has pressed charges, and the student suspect, because of his age, was served a juvenile misdemeanor citation with a court date for assault. The over-18, non-student suspect was charged with assault and issued an arrest warrant. The non-student suspect has not been apprehended and may have fled the state.

The student suspect will face university disciplinary charges and punishments from reprimand up to and including expulsion, Bandas said.