Student verbally harassed and pushed down a hill in ethnic intimidation incident

Monday, November 14, 2016 - 4:59pm

Saturday night between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m., a student was approached near South University Avenue and Washtenaw Avenue by two men who yelled at her for being in America. They then referenced her religion and pushed her down a hill, according to the University of Michigan Division of Public Safety and Security.

A University crime alert sent out to students and faculty in an email Monday classified the incident as ethnic intimidation and urged students to look assertive and be aware of their surroundings.

 When contacted Monday, University Police Department spokesperson Diane Brown had no additional information to provide and said the incident was being investigated by Ann Arbor Police Department. No additional information from AAPD was immediately available.

 This is the third reported incident of this nature on campus in the wake of last week’s presidential election. Friday, a female student was forced to remove her hijab and threatened she would be set on fire if she did not comply. In a second incident over the weekend, a student left his apartment to go to class and came home to a swastika drawn on his apartment door.  

 The Rock was also discovered painted with “Fuck America” and “Kill them All” over drawings of the Republican and Democratic Party logos last week.

 Ethnic intimidation, which is a felony offense and often refered to as a hate crime, is defined by Michigan law as “specific intent to intimidate or harass another person because of that person’s race, color, religion, gender or national origin, and does any of the following:  causes physical contact with another person; or damages, destroys or defaces any real or personal property of another person.” 

 Multiple administrators across campus, as well as students, condemned the first incident on Friday through messages and events over the weekend and urged students to support one another.

 Students gathered Saturday to protest the incident and express solidarity with students who have experienced anything similar.

 On Sunday, President Mark Schlissel wrote an email to the student body condemning hate crimes and hate speech. He also outlined resources for students who have experienced incidents such as these.

 University spokesperson Rick Fitzgerald said the investigation is ongoing, and refered back to the email Schlissel sent out Sunday.

 “Emotions are high all across the political spectrum. We hope all members of our community can agree that we must not stand silent while facing expressions of bigotry, discrimination or hate that have become part of our national political discourse,” the email read. “Only by speaking out against personal attacks, hate and threats can we move on to have the discussions that will be necessary for our campus and our nation to reach its full potential.”