Authorities investigating hit-and-run of Arab Muslim student at Stanford as hate crime

In this April 9, 2019 photo, Hoover Tower is shown at rear on the campus at Stanford University in Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Hoover Tower on the campus of Stanford University. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

An Arab Muslim student at Stanford University was struck by a driver in a hit-and-run collision that the California Highway Patrol is investigating as a hate crime, according to the university.

The student was walking on campus about 2 p.m. Friday when the driver made eye contact before accelerating and striking the student, according to a news release from the university’s Department of Public Safety. The driver shouted, “F— you people,” as he sped away, the release said. The student’s injuries are not life-threatening.

Stanford’s president, Richard Saller, sent a message to the community condemning the violence.

“We are profoundly disturbed to hear this report of potentially hate-based physical violence on our campus. Violence on our campus is unacceptable,” he said. “Hate-based violence is morally reprehensible, and we condemn it in the strongest terms.”

The driver remains at large, authorities said. The victim described him as "a white male in his mid-20s, with short dirty-blond hair and a short beard, wearing a gray shirt and round framed eyeglasses."

The vehicle was described as a black Toyota 4Runner, model 2015 or newer, with a tire mounted on the back with a Toyota logo in the center of the wheel. The victim said it had a white California license plate with the letters M and J, with M possibly the first letter and J in the middle.

Campuses across the country have been pushed to confront anti-Arab racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism in the wake of Hamas' Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel, in which militants killed 1,400 Israelis and took about 220 people hostage.

Relentless attacks by Israel in the Gaza Strip in the weeks since have killed more than 9,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry.

Earlier this month, Stanford Provost Jenny Martinez spoke to the university's faculty senate, detailing concerns from Palestinian American and Muslim community members who fear for their safety and who have described “troubling incidents and interactions rooted in Islamophobia.” She also relayed that Jewish and Israeli students have reported feeling fearful on campus, “feeling that they are targets of hate because of their identity.”

The Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee has said it has heard from students across the country, including California, who have faced threats on campuses since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas.

Abed Ayoub, the group’s national executive director, said his staff has also heard from students who are facing expulsion or losing job opportunities for expressing their beliefs. Others are having their social media posts monitored and are threatened with violence.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.