8 Horrific Hate Crimes Committed on a College Campus

Hate crimes conjure up gale forces of controversy in pretty much every setting. Some say hate and discourtesy motivate most crimes, so there’s no need to make distinctions between motivations. Others find this mindset entirely too broad and believe a hate crime should be considered anywhere discrimination against sexuality, race, ethnicity and/or disability plays a significant role in deciding who gets targeted. Just about the only thing everyone agrees upon (except conspiracy theorists, of course) is the fact that many perpetrators do actually select victims on biased, -ism-oriented bases, they just argue over the exact definition. And legalities, of course.

Everyone can jump at each other’s throats all day, but it doesn’t change the fact that, right now, the American government recognizes hate crimes, and punishes those found guilty of them harsher. As long as criminals get convicted under such terms, articles such as this will keep sprouting up. Regardless of one’s opinions on the justice components, that doesn’t change the fact that some horrible people still laser-guide their hate towards minority demographics. Seeing as how 11.4% of hate crimes happen on college campuses, students must absolutely receive a thorough education regarding their causes and prevention.

Because so few campus-based hate crimes end up reported, either for victim privacy or “” more cynically “” PR reasons, not all of the ones listed here are necessarily the most egregious examples. Nor are they to be read as ranked in any way, shape or form. These terrifying stories represent available information and provide a somber, provocative glimpse at the many faces human cruelty skulks behind. Because crime exists on a violence spectrum, the following examples try and cover a broad severity range as well. Hopefully someone will find the information useful and do his or her part to promote equality, tolerance and understanding in college and beyond.

  1. Invasion of privacy leads to Rutgers freshman suicide

    Eighteen-year-old Tyler Clementi, a promising violinist and Rutgers University freshman, committed suicide after his roommate Dharun Ravi and friend Molly Wei live streamed his intimate moments with another man online. Both perpetrators, who shared such personal moments via webcam at least twice, ended up slapped with invasion of privacy charges, with Wei on two counts and Ravi on four. Clementi’s tragic jump off the George Washington Bridge shed light on the plight facing LGBTQIA teens, where their marginalized sexuality and sexual identity falls victim to unjust bullying and torment. Egregious offenses which sometimes lead to the recipient’s eventual suicide, not to mention heightened depression and anxiety rates.

  2. California State University, Chico’s student body president gets stabbed

    While not technically on campus, the neighborhood in which this nauseating crime occurred took place just outside, where most inhabitants attend California State University, Chico. Student body president Joseph Igbineweka ignored horrific racial slurs, only to end up stabbed when the criminals realized they weren’t irritating him. The popular, Nigerian-born young man survived the four wounds to his chest, arm, neck and stomach. What qualifies this grisly, unjust violence as a hate crime is the presence of racist speech: it gives the awful people who perpetuated it a qualifying motivation. It wasn’t a crime that happened to be committed against a minority, but a crime committed because the victim was a minority.

  3. Guilford College football players beat up three Palestinian students

    Despite this Greensboro, NC-based college’s more open, liberal atmosphere, three Palestinian students (two from the school itself, one from North Carolina State University) ended up cruelly beaten by anywhere between five and fifteen football players outside their dorm. Although they initially decided to forego medical treatment and pressing charges, the trio eventually sought both; considering injuries included nerve damage and concussions, it’s a good thing they changed their minds. The FBI launched an investigation to determine whether or not race and religion motivated the assaults, and conflicting reports regarding the criminals’ use of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim comments swarm about the internet. Organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League, however, label the Guilford College incident a clear-cut hate crime.

  4. Two University of Wisconsin-Whitewater women assaulted because of their sexuality

    Both Lauren Meyer and an unidentified female University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student experienced anti-gay slurs and physical assaults for purely discriminatory, hateful reasons. The former listened to two men insult her for sporting a “Legalize Gay” t-shirt and her lesbianism, with one going so far as to throw (and land) a punch. Both shoving and slurs factored into the second, anonymous attack, allegedly perpetrated by a white male. Students, faculty and administrators alike found this trend absolutely sickening, especially since many actively promote diversity, tolerance and equality on campus. Others fear an overarching climate of LGBTQIA- and racially-motivated (see below) hate crimes will deter applicants from many different demographics.

  5. Cornell student stalked and assaulted in race-based crime

    As an anonymous Cornell student biked along campus roads, four peers pulled up in a vehicle, followed him and began spitting out hateful anti-Asian rhetoric. They continued pursuing him and slurring, with two eventually exiting the car and assaulting the victim. He didn’t require overnight hospital care for his injuries, though the incident necessitated medical treatment. Once again, what makes this crime “hate” rather than a “simple” assault is the presence of racially discriminatory remarks. Such language strongly implies their violent motivation revolved around the victim’s Asian heritage, no other factor.

  6. Gay Swarthmore students beaten by local teens

    After exchanging affection on Swarthmore College’s Mertz Field, a student and his visiting friend found themselves kicked, stomped and punched by at least one female and four male teens. Since the real motivation behind such a nasty assault remains obscured, whether or not it can be classified a hate crime remains a giant dangling question mark. It may have been a matter of the two men refusing to purchase alcohol for the underage hooligans, which would not qualify the attacks as motivated by homophobia “” and therefore not a hate crime. Dean Liz Braun, however, believes the teens brutalized her student and his companion because of their sexuality, and uses their victimization to illustrate why colleges and universities must continuously promote tolerance and equality.

  7. Racist vandalism epidemic at University of Wisconsin-Platteville

    Minority students at University of Wisconsin-Platteville discovered their homes, cars, dorms and other properties vandalized, with 25 incidents occurring in the Fall 2010 semester alone. Usually involving racist graffiti, African-American students comprised the majority of victims, and the Black Student Union building itself ended up damaged as well. Students believe such egregious hatred reflect an unaddressed undercurrent of racial intolerance at the school; recipients especially expressed disgust at how cavalierly authority figures regarded their respective situations.

  8. Racist car vandalism at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

    It’s not just the LGBTQIA community suffering because some University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students can’t wrap their brains around the fact that non-white, non-cisgendered and non-heterosexual people exist. Three dorm-dwelling African-American students woke up one morning to discover their cars had been slashed, and guilty parties spray-painted “KKK” on hoods and doors. Such disconcerting incidents occurred mere hours after Lauren Meyer’s assault, though in all likelihood there exists no relationship between them.

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