An Arab Muslim student at Stanford University was targeted by an allegedly pro-Israel student on Friday, Nov. 3, in what is being investigated as a potential hate crime. Shortly before 2 p.m., the Arab student was crossing the street near the student residences at Campus Drive and Ayrshire Farm Lane when he was hit by a car and the driver sped off while yelling, "F--- you and your people."
Officials reported that the student sustained non-life-threatening injuries and is currently still hospitalized.
According to a statement from the victim after the incident, the driver made eye contact with him before accelerating.
"As soon as he hit me, as my body was turning around, the driver yelled, 'f--- you and your people,'" the student said.
Upon locking eyes, the victim identified the individual as someone who has taken to filming pro-Palestine activists on campus, a newly widespread tactic employed to intimidate and dox students.
The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-20s, with short dirty-blond hair, round framed eyeglasses and a short beard.
The car is described as a black Toyota 4Runner, model year 2015 or newer, with an exposed tire mounted to the rear center and a Toyota logo in the center of the wheel. The white California license plate had the letters M and J, with M possibly being the first letter and J in the middle, the student told police.
University police were alerted of the hit-and-run shortly after, but did not issue a campus-wide alert informing the student body of the violent crime until 10:30 p.m.
A statement from Stanford Students for Justice in Palestine demanded that the university take immediate action.
"The university must deploy its resources to determine who the perpetrator was, support the survivor of this attack (and others) with specialized resources, care, and any and all resources they need at their request, and release a statement condemning the violent Islamophobic and anti-Arab hate crimes in particular and with that language that have occurred on campus," the students wrote.
"At present, Stanford University is complicit in the white supremacist violence Arab and Muslim students have faced on campus. To the university administration, we say unequivocally: shame on you. Your silence is enabling violent Islamophobic and anti-Arab hate crimes on our campus and the genocide of the Palestinian people."
Stanford President Richard Saller and Provost Jenny Martinez said in a statement issued Friday that they were "profoundly disturbed" to hear of the incident.
"Violence on our campus is unacceptable," they said in the statement. "Hate-based violence is morally reprehensible, and we condemn it in the strongest terms. We want to express our deep concern for the student who was injured, and for all affected by this incident."
Stanford Hillel also issued a statement the day after the hit-and-run saying they were "deeply concerned" and that the responsible party should be held accountable for their actions.
"It is imperative that the university ensure that all minority populations are protected, and that there is zero tolerance for hateful speech, actions and violence," the statement reads.
The hit-and-run comes amid mounting criticism of the university's refusal to address an ongoing sit-in protest by student activists who demand the school denounce Israel's invasion of Gaza, and provide additional support to Palestinian students.
The students have been camping out in Stanford's White Plaza since Oct. 20 and have no plans of stopping. Among the demands are for the university to offer counseling and academic accommodations for students impacted by the genocide in Palestine, along with access to free legal aid for those experiencing harassment.
According to the Department of Public Safety, "Stanford is continuing to work to provide a safe and secure campus environment in the context of heightened tensions related to the events in Israel and Gaza. This includes additional security that has been deployed at key locations on campus."
The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said it strongly condemned the targeting of the student.
"This shocking incident comes as a stark reminder of the rising climate of Islamophobia and anti-Palestinian hate that has been escalating since Oct. 7," CAIR-SFBA Executive Director Zahra Billoo said in a statement Saturday.
Oct. 7 was the date of an attack by Hamas fighters that killed more than 1,400 Israelis, touching off Israeli retaliation that has killed and injured thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.
Billoo said Arab and Muslim students have sought the university's assistance in the last several weeks and remain concerned about the "inadequate response that has left them vulnerable."
The California Highway Patrol, which has jurisdiction over injury collisions on the Stanford campus, is currently investigating the hit-and-run as a potential hate crime.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact CHP at 650-779-2700 or Stanford public safety at 650-329-2413.