University of Delaware students are expressing outrage at the school’s response to an alleged off-campus domestic violence attack in which a fellow student is accused of beating a woman, spraying her eyes with spray paint and choking her unconscious.
The attack started as a verbal argument Friday morning at an apartment on the 100 block of East Main Street, according to the Newark Police Department. Brandon Freyre, 20, is also accused of hitting the victim with blunt objects, threatening to kill her, locking her in the apartment and throwing her down a flight of stairs.
She was finally able to escape after being tossed down the stairs – nearly five hours after the assault – police said.
The alleged attack prompted protests, with students accusing the school of attempting to protect its reputation over the safety of their classmates because it did not initially issue a statement on the matter. Marchers shouted slogans like "Keep women safe" and held signs with messages including "Protect your students, not your reputation" and "Being a victim of violence shouldn't be a part of the 'college experience.'"
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The university finally issued a statement Tuesday, with Vice President of Student Life José-Luis Riera and Interim Chief Diversity Officer Fatimah Conley writing that Freyre has been “separated” from the school and that his fraternity has expelled him.
“We are writing to acknowledge the harm inflicted, denounce the violence reported, and call for our community to come together and advance our goals of a campus climate free of all violence, including gender-based violence and violence against women,” Riera and Conley said.
They also directed students toward the school’s Sexual Offense Support team, Center for Counseling and Student Development and the UD Helpline. Anyone experiencing or observing sexual misconduct, gender-based violence, domestic violence, discrimination or sexual harassment was also encouraged to report incidents to the Office of Equity and Inclusion.
Students, however, held another protest Wednesday evening.
Freyre is charged with assault, strangulation, kidnapping, terroristic threatening and criminal mischief. He was originally held on $38,100 cash bail, but online court records show he has since been bonded out.
The records did not list an attorney who could comment on Freyre’s behalf.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), visiting www.thehotline.org or texting LOVEIS to 22522.