Student journalist Destinie Mogg-Barkalow, of Bridgewater State University, Massachusetts, claims that she was punched in the face by another student over an article she wrote in support of gay marriage.
Mogg-Barkalow told police that she was walking in a campus parking lot shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday when she was approached by a tall man and a shorter woman with red hair who appeared to be fellow students.
The two asked Mogg-Barkalow, who was wearing a Comment sweatshirt at the time, if she wrote for the newspaper and if she wrote the pro-gay marriage editorial, campus police said.
When she said yes, the woman punched her in the face, leaving a bruise, university spokesman Bryan Baldwin said.Mogg-Barkalow told campus police she was stunned and walked back to The Comment office where other members of the staff called for help.”
She seemed in shock,” the editor of the student newspaper, Mary Polleys said Saturday. “She was telling us how it happened, and that’s when she started crying.”
The article, called “Prop 8 Generates More Hate”, is a response to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision issued earlier this month that upheld a district court ruling striking down California’s voter enacted ban on same-sex marriage. In the article, Mogg-Barkalow wrote:
I would never want my rights to be forgotten just so people could walk all over me. If you believe legalizing gay marriage is unconstitutional, I think it is time you moved to another country. If you think it is wrong because of procreation, think again. Not even all straight couples have children. When it comes down to it, all I can say is leave us alone. Why are people so concerned about my soul and not their own? If same-sex couples are going to hell, at least I would be in peace and could finally stop worrying about hypocritical judgment.
Mogg-Barkalow, who identifies as a lesbian, has received the full support of Comment staff and the University as a whole.
BSU President Dana Mohler-Faria released an email to the campus on Friday, which expressed his anger toward the incident.
“Let there be no doubt whatsoever that this University has zero tolerance for any such actions that impede or curtail the right of the members of our campus community to express themselves freely,” he said in the email.
The campus has responded to the assault swiftly, through Facebook, Twitter and email. Many professors as well as students have voiced their contempt for the individuals.
The latter article also notes a personal response from the paper’s faculty advisor Dave Copland in which he says he is “devestated” and adds, “In 20 years as a journalist I’ve been sued and threatened, but no one has ever gone as far as physically attacking me like that.”
Students have organized a Tuesday event in support of Mogg-Barkalow that they have dubbed a “March Against Hate.” A broad spectrum of groups, including BSU Occupy, Social Justice League, Pride Center Ambassadors, Student Diversity Council, and AWARE, are said to be involved in the event.
Police have yet to release details about the two suspects, however various reports suggest that the police are pursuing the possibility this attack constitutes a hate crime.