A rally at the University of Virginia's rotunda called on university administrators to take action to stop another hate crime from happening on campus. This comes in response to a suspected anti-gay attack in October.
Students organized Tuesday afternoon's rally on Facebook. They're demanding that the university community stand up to hatred and bigotry in order to create a place that welcomes diversity.
About 150 people gathered on the street-side steps of the rotunda for the rally to end hate crimes at UVA. They chanted "What do we want? A community of trust." Student groups - including the Queer Student Union - put on the rally in response to an attack that happened the night of November 15. A student reported he was hit in the face while walking near Brooks Hall.
Police say the victim's perceived sexual orientation motivated his attacker.
"In the past we've responded passively with vigils, holding candles, and swearing this would never happen again. This time we wanted to take a more active approach to rally in the daylight," said Wo Chan of the Queer Student Union.
Robert Kell, UVA fourth-year student and friend of the victim said, "This is a collaborative project in order to get more conversation and dialogue started about hate crimes, about being a minority no matter what that label is for you at UVA."
The rally's organizers say they plan to meet in the days ahead to discuss the next steps to create a more accepting atmosphere at the university.
Charlottesville Police have not made an arrest for the assault.
University Police have released the following statement:
"We feel strongly that there were witnesses to the incident that have not yet contacted us. We urge them to contact Inv. Christ Root at 434-924-7166. As always, anyone with information should contact the University Police Department at 434-924-7166 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's possible the person responsible talked to others about the incident, after the fact or that there were others with the suspect who witnessed it directly. We would very much like to hear from them. If they are concerned about anonymity, we can work with them to protect their identity. It's not too late."
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