A letter from Dean of Students Anna Gonzalez, issued at 3:45 a.m., said Portland police are investigating the assault as a “bias crime.”
“One of our students was physically assaulted in the estate gardens, near the reflecting pool,” Gonzalez said. “Our student was treated on scene by medical personnel, is now physically safe, and is being supported on campus.”
Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson confirmed to OPB that the victim is a 26-year-old, non-American black male. The victim told police his attackers were three white students.
“The victim told police the suspects used racial epithets before assaulting him,” Simpson said. “The victim fought back and was able to get away and go to his residence on campus.”
Police say the student reported the assault at 12:49 a.m., around three hours after he said it happened. Simpson said it’s not unusual for there to be a delay in reporting these types of crimes.
“What we find a lot of times is people who are victims of a bias crime need to seek the companionship of friends or family before reporting it,” Simpson said.
He said victims typically need time to process what happened.
“We have no reason to believe it did not occur despite the delay in reporting,” Simpson said. “That is not a concern of ours.”
The student later told the Oregonian that he reported the incident immediately to campus police, and he’s not sure how detectives came to believe there was a delay.
Simpson said he could not confirm the identity of the student, or the types of injuries because it is an ongoing investigation.
The attack comes after threats were made online against black students at Lewis and Clark earlier this week. Those threats were posted anonymously on the app Yik Yak.
Police said they are investigating both the assault and the social media posts.