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August 28, 2012

UPDATE: Michigan State University Student Beaten in Anti-Semitic Attack

Michigan State University Sophomore Zachary Tennen

In the early hours of Sunday, August 26th, Michigan State University Sophomore Zachary Tennen, 19, was beaten unconscious at a party, ClickOnItDetroit reports.

According to a piece in MSU’s The State News, Zach was approached by two college-aged men, who asked him if he was Jewish. When Zach answered their question in the affirmative, the men attacked him. Zach released a statement to the East Lansing Police Department in which he described the severity of the attack: When he awoke from his beating, his jaw was broken and his lips had been stapled shut.

Recounting the incident to Franklin, Michigan’s Local 4 reporter Roger Weber, Zack explained that his attackers "were making Nazi and Hitler symbols and they said they were part of the KKK.?

The Algemeiner reports that the men pointedly delivered the traditional Nazi salute and said “Heil Hitler? before launching their attack.

Almost more disturbing than the attack itself is Zach’s claim that approximately 20 other college-aged party-goers stood by and watched the scene unfold without interfering or contacting law enforcement. After regaining consciousness, Zach took a cab to the hospital, where he was treated for his injuries, and filed a police report.

Outraged, Zach and his parents plan to involve the Anti-Defamation League and the FBI in the case, and have been working with the university.

The Michigan State University’s Office of Student Affairs and Services has released a statement, saying:

Michigan State University's Student Affairs and Services office has reached out to the family of the student assaulted in East Lansing to provide the academic and other support the student needs. MSU will work with the student and his professors to ensure he can fulfill his academic requirements, as we would with any student in need. As the incident occurred off campus in East Lansing, all questions about the police investigation need to go the East Lansing Police Department.

No one has yet been charged with a crime.

UPDATE: On August 28th, Cindy Hughey, Executive Director of MSU Hillel, sent an e-mail update to Hillel's listserv:

Dear Friends of MSU Hillel,

As you are all aware, an incident occurred last Saturday night regarding one of our Jewish students being assaulted at a house party off campus. Reports and stories have been flying around and we have been trying our best to respond to the situation in an appropriate and responsible manner. At this point in time, the East Lansing Police do not believe that this terrible incident was in fact a hate crime. Witnesses have identified a suspect, who is not an MSU student and lives in the Detroit area. This suspect is being sought by the police for questioning. The FBI and ADL has also been involved. The story that the students mouth was stapled shut has been confirmed untrue by Sparrow Hospital.

There are many conflicting stories and we are trying our best to support Zach, our students and community during this difficult time. I believe the East Lansing Police Department and the MSU Administration has been very responsive to Zach and his family and I could not be more pleased. We hope to hear more about the investigation in the next few days.

Thank you for your continued support of Hillel and our Jewish community at The Michigan State University."

Posted by srm at August 28, 2012 01:29 PM


This is a disgrace. I hope the Jewish Community
will come together and fight this one. I hope
Zachary is able to identify those boys and they are made to pay. Thinking of this nice young
man and wishing him a speedy recovery.

Posted by: Selma Soss at August 30, 2012 04:27 PM

Jews, particularly American Jews, need to spend a lot more time learning to defend ourselves before we Tikkun Olam ourselves out of existence.


Posted by: Fred Remington at August 30, 2012 06:01 PM

The worst of it is that several college-age spectators failed to interfere or call for police assistance. Something is radically wrong with people who watch somebody being brutalized without acting.

Posted by: Abraham Walfish at August 31, 2012 11:14 AM

Its not unusual for onlookers not to get involved but its extremely odd how not even one of those twenty students didn't bother to raise the alarm or call an ambulance after those two Nazi thugs left. It leads to the suspicion they agreed with Zach's attackers.

Posted by: Rob Harris at September 1, 2012 02:22 PM

This is a very odd story. Self-identified Nazis hunting for Jews. It sounds like 1933 not 2012. If this incident turns out to be bogus I for one will not be surprised.

Posted by: Caren at September 3, 2012 11:42 PM

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