|Resting on his bed in his Newark home with a broken leg, Rancel Valdez describes the assault at an off-campus party near the University of Delaware Friday night which could lead to hate crime charges, according to Newark Police Department.|
Newark, Del., police are investigating an assault reported at a University of Delaware fraternity party held off-campus at about 6 p.m. April 13.
A group of men approached Rancel Valdez, a former student who is Hispanic and openly gay. One man made a homophobic remark, and a fight broke out, according to Delaware Online.
Valdez told NBC10 that the attack was unprompted. “They were just being rude, telling me to leave, calling me names,” Valdez said. “I didn’t even look their way or nothing. They all just came to me.”
Valdez was hospitalized for a leg fracture. The injury will come at some cost to Valdez, as he won’t be able to work for a month and does not have health insurance, according to an online fund-raising page set up by a friend. The page had raised over $2,000 as of Sunday.
The investigation could result in hate crime charges if police find that the attack was related to Valdez's sexuality, Newark police told Delaware Online. Witnesses told police that the attackers used degrading language, said Sergeant Gerald Bryda, a spokesperson for the Newark Police Department.
SpeQtrum, an organization for LGBTQ students of color at Delaware, called the assault a hate crime in a statement published on Twitter Thursday. The organization urged the university to address "the toxic culture on campus" by making changes including training members of Greek life on assault, homophobia, transphobia, sexism and white supremacy and creating a resource center for LGBTQ students.
"You are not alone in this world; we are here together, even if you haven't connected with us yet, we stand with you," the statement said.
The college has been "monitoring the situation throughout the week, and representatives of the university are speaking with all involved," Andrea Boyle, university spokesperson, said in an interview Sunday.
Delaware president Dennis Assanis sent an email to the campus community last week denouncing the attack.
“This kind of reprehensible behavior is not tolerated at the University of Delaware. We will take all appropriate measures in the student conduct process to ensure any offenders are held accountable for their actions,” Assanis wrote.