UNF investigates hate crime involving transgender student

JACKONVILLE, Fla. -- Police at the University of North Florida say they're investigating the first reported hate crime on campus. It involves a transgender student.

According to a police report obtained by First Coast News, the victim was in a men's restroom in the Social Sciences building. That's when the suspect is thought to have gone in, verbally assaulted, then tried to touch the victim inappropriately.

"We certainly hope this is the first and last time we ever see something like that," said Sharon Ashton, Vice President of Public Relations at UNF.

While police work to find whoever is responsible, one group on campus is reaching out to the victim, and everyone on campus. Kaitlin Legg, program coordinator for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center on campus, said she's working to help the victim, and educate the campus.

"We want to help the victim feel closure and gain healing and be able to move forward and feel empowered," she said.

Legg said there's lots of confusion over what being transgender is. That's why she's working to answer questions so another incident doesn't happen.

"Not knowing and confusion about who transgender people are is a common thing," she said.

UNF Police Chief C.W Strudel said the case is suspended since they have very little to work with. Strudel said all the department has is the victim's statement and a description of the suspect. Ashton said whoever is responsible needs to be caught.

"We need to catch the person that did this and hold them responsible because this is not something that should be occurring," she said.

In the meantime, Legg said there are ways for others with questions to reach out.

Below are numbers students can go to with questions, or if they need help, provided to students by UNF:

UNF Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center - (904) 620-4720
UNF Counseling Center - (904) 620-2602
UNF Women's Center - (904) 620-2528
UNF Women's Center 24-Hour Crisis Hotline (also offers victim advocacy services) - (904) 620-1010


To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment