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Police investigate possible hate crime at Towson University
TOWSON, Md. —
Baltimore County police are investigating a possible hate crime involving Towson University students.
Police said two Jewish students were attacked early Sunday morning while walking to a house off-campus on the unit block of Aigburth Road.
“Two suspects began making anti-Semitic statements to the two victims,” said Officer Jennifer Peach, of the Baltimore Police Department.
Police said the suspects are Towson University students who followed the victims to a front yard and got into a fight.
“They punched one student in the face. The other victim ran away and called 911, and then came back and tried to break up the fight. He was also assaulted,” Peach said. “When officers arrived, they saw one suspect was on top of one victim and a third person and the second victim were attempting to break up this incident.”
The victims believed the entire altercation occurred because they were Jewish, officials said.
Towson referred the incident to its Office of Student Conduct and Office of Inclusion and Equity since the incident was reported as an assault and hate-bias incident.
The school said it takes all reports seriously and does not tolerate acts of hatred and bias.
“I think it’s crazy this kind of thing is going on. It’s unfortunate that people feel the need to do things like that. Heartbreaking,” said student Jamie Hoagland.
“It’s not welcome anywhere, especially on a campus like this. The fact this can still happen in today’s world is absolutely ridiculous,” said student Josh Wein.
“As a student here, I know it exists, but I’ve never been exposed to any type of antisemitism,” said student Nitai Zecharya.
He thinks the entire situation needs a full investigation to determine everything that happened.
“Its something that never should have happened in the first place. It’s wrong on both ends. At the same time, these issues sometimes escalate and people look for reasons to go after each other and justify their actions,” Zecharya said.
Police said this is an alleged second-degree assault and the victims will have to go to a court commissioner to file charges. They have a year and a day to make that decision.
Towson University President Kim Schatzel released the following statement via email Tuesday morning to the TU community:
Dear Towson University Community:
I am reaching out to inform you of a truly deplorable incident that occurred off-campus between members of our own Towson University community.
On Sunday morning, Baltimore County police notified the Towson University Police Department of an off-campus call reported as an assault and hate-bias incident between TU students. TUPD immediately reached out to the students involved and, as the reporting of the incident included anti-Semitic words and actions, informed the Office of Student Conduct and the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity so they could begin a full and ongoing investigation.
Towson University does not tolerate acts of hatred, bias, racism or discrimination of any kind on our campus or by members of the TU community. All reports of hate-bias are taken seriously and are thoroughly investigated. Any student found responsible for such conduct is subject to sanctions including suspension and expulsion from the university.
We have contacted the victims in this case and are lending our full support to them, their families and members of the community.
Hateful conduct is inexcusable and will not be tolerated at Towson University. Our community has worked relentlessly to achieve a more diverse and inclusive campus that supports every member to thrive, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or levels of ableness. I am appalled that the off-campus incident occurred between members of our own community, and wish to provide my deepest assurances that these events will be treated with the utmost urgency by me and the Towson University administration.
Anyone who is impacted by this incident, or who needs support, may contact the Counseling Center
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