Campus Hate Crime

GW student charged after allegedly beating straight student while using anti-gay slurs

by Will O'Bryan
Published on March 11, 2011, 1:59pm | Comments

A George Washington University senior has been charged with a hate crime for an assault on a fellow student early Sunday, March 6, according to the independent student newspaper, The GW Hatchet, which reported the news March 10.

Ross Richardson, the student charged March 7 in D.C. Superior Court, allegedly beat another student at the campus Ivory Tower student residences while calling him a ''fucking fag.'' The Hatchet did not name the victim, per the paper's policy, but did quote him as saying: ''I'm extremely surprised that at such a progressive school such a hate crime would happen. I'm even more surprised that it would happen to a straight, white male.''

The university released a statement late yesterday, March 10, advising that the assault should not be taken as evidence of a homophobic climate on campus.

''This incident is upsetting and unacceptable to our community,'' wrote Michelle Sherrad, the university's director of media relations, in part. ''The university does not condone violence of any kind. … We want to assure you that this incident does not pose an ongoing threat to the GW community, nor is it a reflection of our values.''

Indeed, the university has a reputation for being very welcoming of LGBT students, offering both a university-funded LGBT Resource Center and an independent LGBT student group, Allied in Pride.

As Marika Lee, events chair at Allied in Pride, offered in a March 11 e-mail to Metro Weekly: ''I don't think in any way that this incident is indicative of the climate at GW towards LGBTQ students. GW is a very welcoming school and provides a warm atmosphere for LGBT students, in my opinion.''