Authorities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are investigating an assault on campus last week as a hate crime.
"As a university community, we condemn this act of violence," said UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp in a statement on Alert Carolina, the campus website that disseminates safety-related information to students, faculty and staff. "Our Department of Public Safety will bring the strongest possible charges against the attacker."
The attack, which was reported to police April 5, occurred on the foot bridge between Craige Residence Hall and the intersection of Ridge Road and Manning Drive. Police said the student was treated for burns at the student health center. The student, freshman Quinn Matney, told police a person he recognized but did not know pressed a hot piece of metal to his left wrist, scalding it and doing tendon damage.
The burn left an imprint that looks something like a figure 8.
Police have no suspects yet, Chief Jeff McCracken said Tuesday. Matney said he stopped to speak to another acquaintance just prior to the attack, but didn't know that person by name, either, McCracken said.
Thorp said in the statement that the aggravated assault "appears to have been motivated by the sexual orientation of a male student."
Thorp said the university intends to report the assault as a hate crime to the federal government.
"Everyone in our community has the right to a safe, inclusive and welcome living and learning environment," Thorp said. "And all of us have a responsibility to stand against acts of violence, harassment, bullying and intimidation and to treat each other with civility and respect."
Outside of a bare bones incident report on hand at the police station, the attack was not made public by the university until Monday, a week later. That lag time has bothered some members of the gay community at UNC-CH.
"It's troubling when the only way we find out about a hate crime on campus is by word of mouth," said Jeff DeLuca, a sophomore and co-president of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Straight Alliance.