A Lawrence student was attacked between Avenue Jewelers and Colman on his way back to campus from downtown Appleton in the early morning Sunday, Nov. 1. The openly gay student, who was wearing a dress and carrying baby dolls for Halloween, was possibly targeted for the implications of his outfit. According to the student, he and a group of friends left the Halloween party at the co-op house to go to Topper’s Pizza at around 2:30 a.m. On their way back to campus, the assaulted student separated from the others on the corner of Durkee Street and College Avenue because he lives in Colman. At the time, he was still in his costume dress and holding props and dolls. In between Avenue Jewelers and Colman, the student was attacked by a group of four middle-aged men who were drunk and wearing masks. The group of men at first giggled among themselves. The men then started to shove the student around, asking, “Why are you wearing a dress?” and “Are you a fag?” The student got hit in the back and in the face. When the student started yelling for help, the men ran away laughing. The student did not realize how quickly the incident would escalate. “At first I thought they were just being d-bags, but then they hit me,” he said. The attack happened just off campus, and Lawrence Security was not contacted. The student reported the incident to the police Monday, and it is pending investigation. The student had a conversation with Amy Uecke, associate dean of students for Campus Life, about the incident and was directed to contact the Appleton Police Department. Lawrence Security was also notified. Uecke explained that if the incident involved people from off campus and did not occur on campus property, the police are responsible for dealing with the incident. However, if an incident were to occur on campus or were to be instigated by a Lawrence student, the campus policy for harassment would also apply, in addition to federal and local policies on hate crimes. She pointed out that students are encouraged to ask security for an escort whenever they feel unsafe. By law, such behavior is considered a hate crime. According to Wisconsin law, the maximum punishment for a hate crime misdemeanor is a $10,000 fine and one year in the county jail. The attack occurred following signing of the Mathew Shepard Act by President Obama Oct. 28. This bill expands the definition of a hate crime to include gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability and gives the federal government authority to prosecute violent antigay crimes when local authorities do not. The Fox River Valley lies on the border between Wisconsin Congressional Districts 6 and 8, with Appleton just falling into District 8. The representatives from these districts were split on the bill, which passed 281 for and 146 against. Democrat Steve Kagen from District 8 voted for the bill, while Tom Petri, a Republican from District 6, encompassing the rest of the Fox River valley, voted against the bill.