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Vandalism at UCLA's gay center labeled a hate crime

Vandalism at UCLA's gay center labeled a hate crime

Vandals have broken windows and stolen items from a resource center for gay students at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the incidents are being investigated as hate crimes, authorities said. A large chunk of concrete was hurled through a library window at the UCLA Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Resource Center on Sunday night, said Nancy Greenstein, a spokeswoman for the campus police department. The following night, vandals broke windows in several rooms of the center and stole two rainbow flags--symbols of the gay community--that had decorated windows. The group occupies several rooms in the student activities center. It was not immediately clear who may have been responsible for the attacks, but police suspect they may be hate crimes, Greenstein said. "These incidents are reprehensible," UCLA chancellor Albert Carnesale said in a statement. He said the university has zero tolerance for such acts, which are "an assault on our entire campus community." Classes are not scheduled to start at the 35,000-student campus for two weeks. Center director Ronni Sanlo said the attack was the first in the center's 10-year history. "It's really a shame," Sanlo said. "I have so much compassion for people with internalized homophobia but not for people who are destructive." Police statistics show there were 10 bias-motivated incidents at UCLA in 2003, including four cases relating to the victims' sexual orientation. Greenstein said those cases involved slurs or derogatory e-mails rather than physical attacks.

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