Graduate Student Assaulted in Queens, Targeted For Sexuality

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Graduate Student Assaulted in Queens, Targeted For Sexuality

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By Laura Sanicola 

Last Thursday, a graduate student was the victim of an apparent hate crime near his apartment in Jamaica, Queens. Jacob Traugott, GAS ‘17, was walking to get a slice of pizza when a group of men in a car slowed down next to him, yelled “faggot,” threw a rock at his face and sped off, according to a post he wrote on Facebook that night.

“I just went home. I did not want to get to the pizzeria to cry. This is New York. I am shaken. My face will heal,” the student wrote in the original post.

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A screenshot of Traugott’s post. (Courtesy of Facebook)

Traugott posted about the incident on Facebook, where it went viral and received more than 33 thousand likes and shares. Screenshots of the post have also been shared on Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, 4chan and Instagram. Facebook removed the post on Nov. 12 for unspecified reasons before reinstating it on Tuesday. “It had been shared thousands of times and people had started sending me waves of support and also a deluge of hatred,” Traugott told The Fordham Ram.

Traugott filed a police report at around 1 a.m. Friday morning and NYPD said they would to increase surveillance in his area.

Public Safety reached out Traugott the next morning and told him about resources on campus.

Public Safety released the following statement to The Fordham Ram:

“On November 11, Fordham Public Safety was notified that a male student was the victim of a likely assault in the Borough of Queens: a Public Safety investigator contacted the student immediately and offered him the department’s and the University’s assistance.
The student reported to the Public Safety Investigator that he had notified the NYPD of the incident. The student said that at approximately 1:18 a.m. on November 11, while he was walking on the street in Queens, a black automobile occupied by two people pulled up to him. The driver was a male white who made a disparaging sexual remark and threw a rock at the student, which struck him in his left eye.
Fordham’s Division of Student Affairs immediately assigned an Administrative Support Person to the student to ensure his wellbeing, and to offer him the appropriate University resources following the assault. The NYPD investigation is ongoing.”

Traugott said that not everyone online believed that he was attacked.

“People who [sic]thought I deserved it for my sexuality or who threatened to do worse or even thought it was makeup or that I hurt myself,” Traugott said.

The student is not expected to suffer any lasting physical injuries to his face.

Hate crimes against members of the LGBT community have increased five percent in 2015, according to the latest FBI report released Tuesday. Approximately 18 percent of all incidents recorded in the report were motivated by sexual orientation.

Traugott has asked his Facebook friends who wanted to help to donate to The Trevor Project, a national 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth.

“Donate it in your name. Donate it in my name. Either way, it does much more good and a more practical way to push back against powerlessness and bigotry,” he wrote.

Cameron Gallagher, FCRH ‘17 and a member of Fordham’s PRIDE alliance, said that the LGBTQ+ organization was frightened and disturbed when they heard of the incident.

“While it is disappointing for such violence to have occurred in our city, known historically as a haven for LGBTQ+ people, unfortunately physical manifestations of hate are not uncommon these days,” he said. “It is truly sad to see a fellow Ram targeted, but these stories are not new to our community. Jake Traugott thankfully received tons of support, and we applaud his bravery in speaking up about his incident. We hope that people of love will support one another and organize for radical change…we hope that both the current and alumni Fordham communities will help to achieve those goals and also use PRIDE as a resource.”