Nearly one-quarter of community college students who took part in a survey admitted to harassing people they thought were gay, a University of Washington researcher says.

The survey of nearly 500 students - said to be the first of its kind - was presented Sunday at the American Psychological Association convention. Previous studies had mostly focused on the victims of such crimes.The study by forensic psychologist Karen Franklin found that 24 percent of those surveyed admitted to anti-gay name calling.

"Indeed, assaults on gay men and lesbians were so socially acceptable that respondents often advocated or defended such behavior out loud in the classrooms, while I was administering my survey," Franklin wrote.