‘I didn’t feel like I was being singled out’: Students at the University of Michigan say they were attacked because of their political beliefs
In the midst of a national debate over free speech, one of the students who says he was targeted by a racist mob at the university library has told his story.
The students, all students at the Michigan State University, told the Associated Press that the attacks began when they were taking their exams on the evening of June 18.
The attacks happened at the college’s library after students in their early 20s were given free entry to the campus library to read for free.
The group of students is being represented by the ACLU, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Lawyers Guild.
The ACLU has launched a national campaign, “I Don’t Feel Like Being Stood Down,” and is asking people to sign a petition that they can donate.
In a statement, MSU spokesman Jim Hagerty said that the university has a zero-tolerance policy on racial and gender discrimination and that MSU is committed to improving its processes for resolving incidents of bias.”MSU is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all students,” Hagery said.
“We strive to create an environment that fosters a positive learning environment for everyone, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, age, or any other protected class or characteristic.”
The NAACP, ACLU, and other civil rights organizations also have been campaigning for the release of the university’s police report, but no one has publicly revealed its contents.
A spokesman for the university told ABC News the university had no comment on the allegations.
A spokesperson for the NAACP told ABCNews.com that it has “full confidence” in the university and will cooperate fully with law enforcement agencies and any investigation.
“It’s disappointing that the Michigan Republican Party is still trying to blame this on Black Lives Matter or other groups,” said Jonathan Pollard, executive director of the Michigan Democratic Party.
“It’s the same old GOP political game of blame, blaming, and trying to delegitimize anyone who disagrees with them.
It’s really sad.
It shows just how much more toxic this election cycle has become.”
In the aftermath of the attacks, MSUS has said it is taking steps to ensure that students feel comfortable and welcome in the library.
A new policy has been put in place that bans any students from entering the library until their exam results are received.
The school has also announced that students who have received their final exam grades and have been released from the lockdown will be permitted to go to class, while those who have not yet received their grades will be allowed to stay at home until their exams are received, according to a news release.
The university said it has hired a security consultant and hired a community liaison who will assist in the implementation of the policy.
Hagerty told ABCNEWS.com he believes the students’ story, and others like it, are “very credible” and the school’s actions are “in line with our standard procedures.”
But in a statement on the university website, Hagert said the school is not condoning any of the actions taken by students who were attacked.
“The safety and well-being of our community is our top priority, and we will continue to take steps to improve our procedures and policies to make our library and campus safer,” Hagers statement said.
“We are committed to making sure our students feel safe in our library, and will work with the University to address any concerns.”
Follow NBC Asian America on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.