Police Wednesday were continuing to investigate a reported assault targeting a female University of La Verne student described by friends as an outspoken diversity advocate who has been outspoken against discrimination and has targeted by past threats.
La Verne police said they were investigating the alleged attack as a battery and had not categorized it as a possible hate crime, although the Hispanic woman has reported being targeted by threats in the past.
Police said those threats, some of which were made on social media, were still under investigation.
A La Verne police lieutenant told KTLA the woman is the same person who found a smoking backpack inside her vehicle in a dormitory parking lot on March 1. That incident prompted a cancellation of afternoon classes at the university. Campus officials issued an alert that day saying the targeted student had “previously reported receiving race-based threats of violence via social media.”
The woman was found injured around 2:40 p.m. Tuesday in a campus dormitory stairwell by a person leaving the building, police said. The woman told responding officers she had been physically assaulted by a male suspect wearing a ski mask.
Police said paramedics were called to the scene but the woman declined further medical treatment.
Friends of the woman told reporters she is actively involved in various campus social issues and they fear the attack may have been prompted by her activism against prejudice and discrimination.
The woman had a “bag placed over her head,” one friend of the victim told KNX Newsradio. “They meant to do something to her.”
It was unclear if more than one assailant was involved.
Spring semester final exams are underway at the school.
Anyone with information about the assault was asked to call the La Verne Police Department at 909-596-1913.
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