Speechless

10 04 2009

I just received this email forward from Tufts students about a bias incident at Tufts, immediately followed by two safety alerts from the Tufts police about unrelated incidents.  

Interesting that the police email detailed two incidents that did not seem to involve Tufts students as perpetrators.  These attacks were reported within hours from the time of the attack (both happened last night).  However, the bias attack involving members of our student body occurred early Thursday morning, and was not included in the email.

Another thing that was not in the police email:  a friend of mine also witnessed an attack by Hillside Apartments yesterday.  An older man was seen beating up a younger man, but when the police found the perpetrator, he claimed that they had just been “rough-housing.”  Since the victim had not come forward to report the crime, the perpetrator was let go.

Here’s the text of the email about the bias attack.

Dear Tufts Community,

Please forward this to everyone. Please also post this blurb to every article published on the online Daily, under the name of something like “News that Hasn’t Been Reported Yet” or “What about this News?” in all of the comments sections.

Thank you

There was a bias incident involving members of the Korean Students Association (KSA) that took place in the early morning hours on Thursday, April 9, in Lewis Hall Lounge, while the club members were practicing for their culture show.

Thirteen members of the KSA were preparing for their culture show at approximately 1:45AM. A white freshman male living in Lewis Hall approached five male members who were practicing their dance. He had been drinking at a bar prior to arriving at Lewis Hall. He insisted several times that the KSA members teach him the moves to their dance and was repeatedly asked to stop. Despite this request, he continued to molest the dancers, imitating the dance moves and declaring, “This is the gayest shit I’ve ever done.” The KSA members then asked him to leave, to which he responded, “Fuck you. Fuck you, I could take all of you. I’ll kill you all.” He then threatened to get his fraternity brothers to help him retaliate. At this point, he began to physically harass the dancers, spitting at one member and shoving another one of the guys. An altercation ensued during which the freshman ripped two shirts and inflicted minor cuts to a member’s forehead. In order to restrain him, the KSA members pinned him to the floor and put him into a headlock, at which point the freshman mentioned that he could not breathe and the person holding him down immediately let go.

At this moment, the freshman’s friend and his girlfriend, who watched from the side, stepped in to take him away. When he got up, he started cursing “Fuck you, fuck you” and spitting at the dancers again. As he was being dragged away, he shouted, “Fuck you all, you fucking chinks, go back to China! Go back to your fucking country, you don’t belong in this country.” His friends took him to the bathroom, where he could be heard repeatedly shouting, “If I see them again, I will fuck them all.”

The fight was reported to an RA, who wrote and sent in a bias incident report.  According to the RA, submitted within the report was testimony from his girlfriend supporting the fact that her boyfriend initiated the altercation. Thirteen people, members and friends of KSA, were present during the fight. In the aftermath of the dispute, members were shocked and saddened that such racism and hostility could be found at our school. It is the collective wish of KSA and affiliated students, both of Asian and non-Asian heritage, that this event come to the attention of our community in order to shed light on discrimination among our peers and our ongoing fight for cultural understanding.

The Korean Students Association greatly appreciates the support that the community has shown. This particular incident affected members of KSA, but anyone could have been a victim of this bigotry. Please take the time to show your support by joining this Facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=70037281395 . To share your thoughts on the matter, please contact administrators and keep an ongoing discussion about how we can move forward from here.

As always, we are extremely passionate about issues regarding race and culture in our community. If you want to join our cause in promoting cultural understanding and feel that you have a great idea for the future direction of our community, we strongly encourage you to raise this issue with your dean. For those who feel the need to talk to a professional regarding this racial attack, Tufts offers free counseling sessions. Please spread the word! Social injustice is a fundamental yet taboo issue. It is imperative that we confront these problems.

I really don’t even know what to say about this.  Completely unacceptable.  I am outraged.

**Update**  Here’s the email from the dean that I’m sure everyone just received.

To Members of the AS&E Community:

The Office of the Dean of Students is currently investigating reports of an incident that took place early yesterday morning, Thursday, April 9, 2009, in one of the residence halls, apparently involving a physical altercation and racial epithets among students. Many differing accounts of this incident are circulating within the university community. While we cannot comment on an incident that is currently under active investigation, we want the community to know that we take seriously our responsibility to pursue this incident and to ensure a safe and supportive environment on campus for all our students. We will report on the investigation when we are able to do so. While the investigative process goes forward, we and our colleagues in the administration are also reaching out to community members who have been affected by what they have experienced or heard about.

Bruce Reitman
Dean of Students

Finally, the administration acknowledges that the incident was reported with a short, vague, non-accusatory email.  Please, this was a racist attack, not an “incident” “apparently involving a physical altercation and racial epithets among students.”


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8 responses

10 04 2009
angryblkfeminist

I also couldn’t help but realize that the Tufts admin would e-mail fairly quickly about a bias incident (even though that was the most useless e-mail ever), but NEVER about a student being sexually assaulted by another student. It’s so annoying that Tufts just selects what to inform the students. Very frustrating.

10 04 2009
feminist1

Yeah, for real. They pick and choose. Also, I’m wondering if they only emailed about this attack because of the pressure they were getting from students. I wonder what the response would have been if the mass forwards hadn’t circulated the community about this.

10 04 2009
feministfeera

If I hadn’t received an email about the bias incident from the Women’s Center, I would have absolutely no idea what the admin email was even referring to. Definitely a useless email.

10 04 2009
angryblkfeminist

That’s very true. I bet they were afraid the local media would get a wind of this and then they would have looked REALLY bad if they didn’t address the community at all about this. Once again, the administration only acting to save its own ass rather than taking the concerns of students into consideration.

10 04 2009
queerofcolor

Quick thought: Here is a violent attack coming from a white male in a heterosexual relationship, yet people think that having centers at Tufts for students which attempt to provide a safe environment for still-attacked races/ethnicities, gender(s), and sexual orientations are akin to discrimination against straights/whites/males…

10 04 2009
feminist2

The impression I got from reading the report of the bias incident is that the girlfriend and the friend just stood around doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING until their friend was headlocked and said that he couldn’t breathe. This is disgusting, how can you stand around and let your friend/boyfriend do this? So you just sit back and watch the show while he goes around verbally and physically assaulting people and only pull him away when HE gets hurt?

I am interested to see what the fraternity will do about this. Obviously they are implicated in this as well since he is a fraternity pledge. Hopefully they will do the right thing.

11 04 2009
Jezzabel

Why is nobody calling this what it is: a hate crime?

13 04 2009
Michael

Why didn’t TUPD broadcast it in a Safety Alert? Perhaps because it was never reported to TUPD.

Why did the dean have so little to say in his Friday e-mail? Perhaps because the university can’t rush to judgment.

Based on what has been reported so far, it’s more likely than not that the KSA side is correct. But imagine an exchange like this:
1. Dean says on Thursday “there’s been a racially motivated attack”
2. Further investigation yields conflicting evidence, or even evidence that makes that statement invalid
3. Freshman sues the school for making him a de facto persona non grata by being judge/jury/executioner before the investigation even started, biasing the school against him without concrete evidence

Caution is frustrating, especially when one side knows or strongly believes it’s right. I hope the deans move with all deliberate speed on this. But the administration can’t report guilt before guilt has been established, and TUPD can’t report on incidents outside its purview.

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