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Police identify 7 suspects in alleged anti-LGBTQ assault on two Michigan State students

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Police announced Tuesday that they identified seven suspects in connection to an alleged assault on two college students that took place at their school’s main library the day before.

Michigan State University Police said in a statement that the suspects targeted the two victims on Monday potentially for bias against the victims’ sexual orientation. They added that none of the suspects were affiliated with the university and that they will be requesting prosecutors to press charges once an investigation is complete.

“It is important to recognize that crimes are never the fault of a victim,” the statement reads. “Anyone who believes they have been discriminated against or harassed is encouraged to report the incident(s) to the MSU Office of Institutional Equity.”

Doug Monette, MSU’s interim vice president and chief safety officer, and Vennie Gore, the senior vice president for the school’s student life and engagement department, addressed students and faculty in a separate statement on Tuesday.

Michigan State University entrance sign (Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Monette and Gore noted that the incident occurred during the university’s LGBTQ Pride Month, “underscoring its significance.” The pair added that the alleged altercation was based on the students’ “racial identities” in addition to their sexualities.

“Discrimination or harassment, including hate crimes, based on protected identities can have a significant impact,” they said. “We want everyone to know that they deserve to feel safe and respected.”

Neither the university nor MSU Police immediately responded to requests for further comment.

If only anti-LGBTQ bias were at play, Michigan’s Attorney General Dana Nessel noted, it is not possible for prosecutors to charge the suspects with a hate crime. Existing Michigan state law does not prohibit intimidation, harassment, threats or harm based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

“It’s not an included class, under the Ethnic Intimidation Act,” she said, addressing reporters at an unrelated news conference on Tuesday. It would be, under the proposed laws in both the House and the Senate. I have encouraged the Legislature to move forward on that, and this might be an example of why it’s so important to do so.”

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