Saturday, January 31, 2015

Temple probing anti-Semitic attack on student

Temple University is investigating after a student reportedly attacked and made anti-Semitic remarks to another student at an event welcoming students to campus. 

The university said in a statement that the incident happened Wednesday afternoon on the main campus. 

"The attack is alleged to have included physical violence and anti-Semitic statements and racial slurs," the statement said. The university didn't describe the incident further, but accounts from the parties involved say it occurred during a dispute at a student activities fair.

The victim told TruthRevolt.org that the attack happened after he approached a table for Students for Justice in Palestine, a pro-Palestinian group, on Polett Walk. The group was participating in Temple Fest, an outdoor festival to help new students learn about student organizations, campus services and other vendors.

He exchanged words with students at the table, "and then this kid just rocks me in the face as hard as he can," Daniel Vessal told the publication. "My glasses flew off. After a two-second blur I had no clue what had happened."

Temple officials said campus police responded quickly and identified the students involved. The victim declined immediate medical treatment, according to the university, but Vessal said he later sought medical attention for a headache and neck stiffness.

SJP said in a statement that the student who committed the assault was an acquaintance of group members, but not part of the organization. The group's statement refuted allegations that anti-Semitic slurs were used, but condemned the physical assault.

The group called the incident "unnecessary and deplorable" and said it "does not represent the principles of our organization. However, it was in no way an incident motivated by anti-Semitic sentiment."

Temple officials confirmed both the victim and perpetrator in the alleged incident are undergraduate students.

Both a police investigation and campus disciplinary proceedings are ongoing, university officials said this morning.

University officials are reaching out to leaders of Temple's Jewish and pro-Palestinian communities to discuss the attack, the school said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Temple's campus safety services at 215-204-1234.


Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or ebabay@philly.com. Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or BreakingNewsDesk@philly.com. Follow @phillynews on Twitter.

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