Monday, May 20, 2024

Seven suspects identified in hate crime, aggravated assault at MSU Library

April 15, 2024
The MSU Library, pictured on Sept. 30, 2016.
The MSU Library, pictured on Sept. 30, 2016.

A group of seven suspects assaulted two victims based on sexual orientation bias at the Michigan State University Main Library, according an email MSU police sent out to students and faculty on April 15.

The hate crime occurred at the Michigan State University Library at 5:45 p.m. and was reported to MSU police at 5:50 p.m. 

The email stated that the suspects were "intentionally selecting the victim(s) because of the perpetrator’s sexual orientation bias."

MSU Spokesperson Emily Guerrant said that safety is a priority for MSU; MSU police believes that there is no ongoing threat to campus. She said this incident has been reported to the Office of Institutional Equity office. 

"We don't want any type of violence happening on our campus," Guerrant said. "We want we want anyone who's on our campus to feel safe while they're here, whether that's because they're a student, or because they're a visitor on campus using the library. It’s important people feel safe at MSU." 

MSU police said "if you see something, say something."

The MSU Gender and Sexuality Campus Center posted a letter on Instagram from Senior Vice President for Student Life and Engagement Vennie Gore on April 16, stating that the victims were followed by five suspects who appeared to be "high school age," and that they followed them to the third-floor main library study area. 

"This case has been classified as a hate crime because the five young men made comments to the two MSU students regarding their sexual orientation as the altercation (assault) ensued," Gore said. "This time to be supportive of all our students. As allies any support you can provide will be greatly appreciated."

The letter said the GSCC and Office of Cultural and Academic Transitions to provide support for our LGBTQIA2S+ community and Black students who "may feel most directly impacted by this situation." 

MSUPD spokesperson Dana Whyte said MSU DPPS is working to confirm the identities of the suspects and that both victims were physically harmed and sustained facial injuries. 

"MSU DPPS works to proactively prevent crime on campus in order to create a safe environment for our Spartan community," Whyte said. We would like to emphasize that crimes are never the fault of a victim (and) additional information will be shared once it is available."

Later, Gore, alongside Chief Safety Officer Doug Monette released an email statement to the MSU community and said MSU DPPS is partnering with law enforcement partners to investigate the crime. 

"We recognize the impact this incident has had on our campus community, particularly among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and/or queer, intersex, asexual and two-spirit Spartans and allies, as well as our Black/African American community," the email said. "MSU stands with our LGBTQIA2S+ and Black Spartans and sends a clear message that violence is unacceptable."

Gore and Monette said they are working with student organizations and holding meetings with campus leaders and stakeholders. They also said they sent the message "quickly," to give students transparency on what happens on campus.

"It’s more important than ever to acknowledge and support one another," the statement said. "Your voice matters, and we are here to support you."

Professional staff will be available at the Student Services building in room 302 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. For mental health crisis support students should reach out to the MSU Counseling and Psychiatric Services.

This is a developing story. Stay with The State News for updates

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