A University of Maryland student arrested last month in connection with an anti-Semitic incident was found guilty in Prince George's County District Court yesterday of assault and battery and carrying a deadly weapon on school property.
In a related action, Gov. Harry Hughes sent a letter yesterday to university president John Toll, urging the university to do more to prevent such incidents, saying he did not think sufficient attention was paid to the matter.
Roger L. Frisbee, a 19-year-old sophomore from Rockville, was found guilty of the attack. He was arrested by campus police at College Park after he approached a Jewish student in his dormitory, yelled "Heil, Hitler" and fired a BB gun five times, striking her in the leg.
The woman, whose mother is a survivor of the Holocaust, was slightly injured in the incident.
A short time later, an anonymously written newsletter appeared on campus. Filled with obscenities and racial and ethnic slurs, the mimeographed sheet named Frisbee "man of the month" for his "anti-Semitic Hitlerism."
Frisbee faces three years in prison and a $2,500 fine on the weapons charge. Additional, unspecified penalties can be imposed on the assault charge. Sentencing was set for August.
Frisbee has called the incident a "tragic misunderstanding." He said he did not know the woman was Jewish and was reacting to teasing references to him as a "young Nazi" because of his conservative views.
Last week, University of Maryland chancellor Robert Gluckstern issued a statement warning that acts of racial, political and religious violence will not be tolerated by the university and that individuals committing such acts are subject to "swift campus action."
But yesterday, Hughes sent a letter to Toll spelling out other proposals for change. Hughes requested that a new relationship between the campus security force and the university's human relations commission be established and that fraternity and sorority initiations be reviewed "to make certain such acts" aren't part of the rites and that the groups don't condone or permit them.
Campus victims of such incidents should have access to a member of the university administration, Hughes suggested, through a well-publicized telephone number. Additionally, a member of the university administration should be part of the governor's task force on violence and extremism. "Silence, indeed, can be interpreted as condoning these acts," Hughes said, adding later that he sent his proposals to Toll because "I did not think sufficient attention was given to this incident."