TOWSON, Md. (WMAR) - On any given day, you'll find Towson University students spilling off campus towards their homes, but in the wee hours of the morning Sunday, two Jewish fraternity brothers were followed by a pair of fellow students who first attacked them with words and then followed it up with their fists.
"They're being followed by two additional boys who are making anti-Semitic statements towards them,” said Officer Jennifer Peach with the Baltimore County Police Department, “They follow them to the house. They follow them on to the lawn of the house where an altercation proceeds. The victim is struck in the face by one of the suspects."
Before police could break up the fight, the same men who allegedly had used the “F” bomb and other slurs had struck another victim as well.
"Our captain now, today, is going to speak with the victims about it further... further talk to them about how to proceed with charges if they so desire,” said Peach, “It is entirely up to them, because it is Second Degree Assault."
Howard Libit of the Baltimore Jewish Council says he is encouraged by the university's reaction to the incident.
"They are immediately starting a student disciplinary process. They're treating it very seriously,” said Libit, “I know the Jewish leadership on campus has heard from the president. Her staff has reached out to me as well. They want to take this really seriously and I think that's an important message to send to the Jewish community on campus and to the broader Jewish community."
The former Baltimore Hebrew University merged with Towson University almost a decade ago, and Jewish leaders say it has a well-earned and deserved reputation as being a welcoming and diverse community.
In the absence of any other reports of anti-Semitism, many are calling this an isolated incident.
Towson President Kim Schatzel released the following statement on Tuesday morning to the school community:
Dear Towson University Community:
I am reaching out to inform you of a truly deplorable incident that occurred off-campus between members of our own Towson University community.
On Sunday morning, Baltimore County police notified the Towson University Police Department of an off-campus call reported as an assault and hate-bias incident between TU students. TUPD immediately reached out to the students involved and, as the reporting of the incident included anti-Semitic words and actions, informed the Office of Student Conduct and the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity so they could begin a full and ongoing investigation.
Towson University does not tolerate acts of hatred, bias, racism or discrimination of any kind on our campus or by members of the TU community. All reports of hate-bias are taken seriously and are thoroughly investigated. Any student found responsible for such conduct is subject to sanctions including suspension and expulsion from the university.
We have contacted the victims in this case and are lending our full support to them, their families and members of the community.
Hateful conduct is inexcusable and will not be tolerated at Towson University. Our community has worked relentlessly to achieve a more diverse and inclusive campus that supports every member to thrive, regardless of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or levels of ableness. I am appalled that the off-campus incident occurred between members of our own community, and wish to provide my deepest assurances that these events will be treated with the utmost urgency by me and the Towson University administration.
Towson University issued a statement on Monday on the incident saying that they do not tolerate acts of hatred, bias, racism or discrimination.
Baltimore County police notified Towson University Police Department of an off-campus incident involving TU students early Sunday morning, April 29, 2018. The incident has been referred to the Office of Student Conduct and the Office of Inclusion and Institutional Equity to launch a full investigation on the basis that the incident was reported as both assault as well as hate-bias. All reports are taken seriously and thoroughly investigated. Any student found responsible for prohibited conduct according to the Towson University Code of Student Conduct is subject to sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion from the university. Towson University does not tolerate acts of hatred and bias, racism or discrimination of any kind on our campus or by members of the TU community. We have contacted the victims in this case and are lending our full support to them, their families as well as members of the community. Towson University remains committed to diversity, inclusivity, and fostering an environment that enables all members of our community to thrive, succeed and achieve their potential.