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St. Paul police are investigating a possible hate crime after a Metropolitan State University employee reported being attacked on campus Wednesday afternoon by a man asking: “What are you doing in my country?”

Officers responded to the St Paul campus around 1:45 p.m. on a report of an assault. The victim, a male application developer for the school, told authorities that he was sitting on the steps outside New Main — a building that houses the president’s office and IT services — when a white man approached him from behind.

The man demanded to know where the victim was from and asked why he was in the United States. Then, police say, he struck the man on the left side of his face, knocking off his glasses.

The suspect reportedly fled on foot on 7th street and into Swede Hollow Park. He was gone by the time police arrived.

He is described as a white man in his 40s, approximately 5’6”-5’8” tall, with gray hair and wearing a white T-shirt and yellow pants.

A police report failed to disclose any information about the ethnicity of the victim. Responding officers said he had swelling on his face and suffered a small cut to his left eye.

In an e-mail to students, university officials deemed the incident a “racially motivated physical assault.”

Police spokesman Sgt. Mike Ernster said officers would have an increased presence around the university for the foreseeable future.