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Attack on two Swarthmore College students a possible gay bashing

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
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A Swarthmore College student and his male friend were attacked by a group of teens in a over the weekend, and a college official cautioned the assault may have been spurred by homophobia.

The attack occurred on Mertz Field on the Delaware County campus, Elizabeth Braun, dean of students, wrote to the college community Tuesday. Neither the student nor his friend was identified.

The student reported that he and his friend were punched and knocked to the ground, and then were repeatedly kicked and stomped by at least five boys and one girl, Braun said.

“Our student has also shared that he and his friend were being affectionate with one another when they were approached by the high-school-age students,” Braun said.

“While it still isn’t clear what prompted the assault on our student and his friend, it does appear that homophobia could have been a factor in the attack,” she said.

The incident occurred shortly after midnight early Sunday morning.

According to Swarthmore Borough Police Chief Brian Craig, the group — described as high school students — asked the two men to buy them alcohol. They were attacked upon refusing their request.

Rafael Zapata, Assistant Dean and Director of the Intercultural Center, said it was “a reasonable conclusion” that homophobia probably played a significant role in the violence, “in light of the context.”

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