Attack on Gay Student Prompts Rally at Chapel Hill

March 2, 2005

Hundreds of students held a rally at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Tuesday night to protest an attack last week on a gay student.

The student was walking along a main street near the campus early Friday morning.

According to police and press reports, the student was attacked by six or seven men who first used slurs about the student being gay and then attacked him, hitting and kicking him in the face and upper body. Police officers subsequently found the student, and he had broken bones from the attack.

The student didn't recognize his attackers, but reportedly described them as being around 20 years old.

David Ruskey, a senior at Chapel Hill and a member of the board of the university's gay student group, said that gay students at the campus were stunned. "The initial reaction is shock and disbelief. In my four years here, I've found Chapel Hill to be an open and accepting place."

Ruskey said that he hopes that the attackers don't turn out to be college students.

He praised several university administrators -- including James Moeser, the chancellor -- for attending the rally and speaking out against the attack.

But Ruskey said that one reason gay students were so upset is that the area where the attack took place always has lots of people going by. "It would be near impossible for someone not to have seen this taking place," he said.

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