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Last Tuesday, third-year Education doctoral student Gregory Seaton walked into Campus Copy Center at 3907 Walnut Street to complete a routine, University-related order. Though the exact details of what transpired next remain in dispute, it is generally understood that Seaton, who is black, became embroiled in an argument with the son of the owner of the store, who is white. The two men would come to blows, with several other Campus Copy Center staffers eventually joining the fray on behalf of their employer. Seaton says that the violent incident boils down to racism on the part of the owner's son, Ron Shapiro, as well as a number of University Police officers who he says didn't respond to his charges of assault. Shapiro claims the incident was the result of an unfortunate misunderstanding between an angry customer and a stubborn store manager. Hundreds of Penn students, meanwhile -- almost all of whom learned of Gregory Seaton and his shocking story through a flurry of weekend e-mails from each of the involved parties -- are left asking questions: "What exactly happened at Campus Copy that day? Was Gregory Seaton the victim of racism? Did the University Police respond properly to the scene?" Almost a week after the incident, these questions still remain. But until a full, factual investigation is able to provide the answers, students and community members should not rush to judgement about any of the involved parties or their intentions. One undeniable truth, though, has already emerged from this unfortunate affair: a Penn student was involved in a violent altercation with another member of the community. That is where this community should be focusing its attention and concern in these first few days of investigation. Subsequent inquiries -- which must begin immediately -- may indeed uncover further facts about the case and the greater themes involved. But to make quick, general assumptions about anything else -- especially when the case still boils down to the word of one man versus another -- do nothing but muddle substantive discussions in baseless presumptions. That's not what Gregory Seaton needs right now. It's not what Ron Shapiro needs right now. And for a University attempting to sift through the fact and opinion that clouded this past weekend's discussions, it's certainly not what anybody needs to launch a productive, reliable and timely investigation.

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