Several hundred University of Virginia
students and community members turned out Thursday to protest a
recent anti-gay attack on the university grounds, reports the
Charlottesville-based weekly C-Ville.
School leaders and students spoke out
against hate crimes at the event organized by Queer and Allied
Activism (QUAL) and held outside the McIntire Amphitheater.
“We hope that you call out hatred
wherever you see it in your life. It's not just enough to attend
vigils like this,” Seth Kaye, president of QUAL, told the crowd,
many of whom were holding white candles donated by the UVa Student
The event was prompted by the April 4
attack on an unidentified male student and a friend by five young
Police allege the pair were jumped
walking home from a friend's house around 3:30AM outside the
university's Scott Stadium by five white males between the ages of 16
The men snatched a cell phone being
used by one of the men to call for help and smashed it as they yelled
anti-gay slurs. The two attempted to escape but the pack chased down
the UVa student and hit him in the back of the head. The
eighteen-year-old student was treated at the university's medical
center for minor injuries.
University leaders called the attack an
instance of gay bashing.
“Based upon the facts as we currently
know them, we believe this to be a bias-motivated crime, in that the
perceived sexual orientation of the two victims appears to have
motivated the assault,” wrote UVa Associate Vice President and Dean
of Students Allen W. Groves in a statement.
Virginia does not include sexual
orientation in its hate-crime law.
Also speaking at the event was
Associate Vice President and Dean of Student Life Allen Graves, who
told the crowd that hate crimes “strike at the most cherished
values of society.”
“If I am assaulted solely because of
who I am, then I come to fear I will never be safe, for how can I
change who I am?” Groves told the crowd.