TCU Daily Skiff Thursday, March 25, 2004
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Attacks prompt hall meeting
SGA and ISA presidents convened to promote awareness after two students were assaulted at Eagle Mountain Lake.


By John Anderson and Julia Mae Jorgensen
Staff Reporters


Two students were assaulted last weekend while camping at Eagle Mountain Lake in an attack that may have been racially motivated, university officials said.

Five TCU students, two traditional and three international, were camping next to a group of young adults they had befriended, said Mike Russel, associate dean of Campus Life. In the course of the night, however, Russel said “something went south.”

“These five students who thought they were friendly with these people were attacked,” Russel said.

Russel said the students were targeted because they are minorities and international students that attend TCU. Russel said the suspects knew they were TCU international students from earlier conversations.

“I am very sad that anyone got hurt and I am concerned about the well-being of the students,” Russel said. “We have responded to the students that were hurt and we hope that they feel our support.”Two men were hurt in the process of getting the sole woman of the group to safety inside a car, Russel said.

Marlin Gusman, 19, and Rajvikram Singh Deo, 20, sustained physical injuries during the assault, according to a Tarrant County Sherriff Department incident report.Singh Deo said he received facial fractures from the attack and that his group of friends was outnumbered in the fight.

“It started off as a social gathering and de-escalated into violence within a few seconds,” Singh Deo said.

In response to the incident, Jay Zeidman, Student Government Association president and Ugur Sener, International Student Association president, held a town hall meeting Wednesday night to discuss the issue.

“After some recent events and the growing global tension, it is vital that we strive to work closer with one another,” Zeidman said in an e-mail to student leaders, “and we hope this meeting will be the beginning of that relationship.”

At the meeting Russel explained to the audience that the events that occurred early Saturday morning at an unnamed campground at Eagle Mountain Lake.Zeidman facilitated the meeting with Sener; Russel; Carol Thompson, chairwoman of the sociology, criminal justice and anthropology departments; and John Singleton, director of International Student Services.

Thompson said that things have changed in a negative way since Sept. 11 and people now live in a culture of fear.

“I think we have to take action quickly,” Thompson said.

Sener said not just Americans but also international students should be educated in diversity.

“I hope people learned a few things about what it is like to be a minority on this campus,” Sener said of the meeting.

Panelists proposed a mentor program to help international students adjust to life in America.

“The second you step off a plane there would be someone there committed to making your experiencer easier,” Zeidman said.

Susan Quaye, a sophomore psychology major, said a meeting like Wednesday’s was long overdue.

“It is better that we have it now than never,” Quaye said. “It was good to open topics that are hard to talk about, we need less talk and more action.”
Karly Campbell/Staff Photographer
Sophomore physics major Clement Ogujior spoke in favor of a mentorship program for international students. to help foster a more welcoming environment at TCU.
 
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