Three students attacked while walking on campus

By Beth Gilomen

In June, three University students were assaulted in the campus area. Though an e-mail from William Riley, interim vice chancellor for student affairs, originally stated that the incidents were not thought to be connected at the time, the conditions of two of the cases appear to suggest otherwise.

Within a 48 hour period from June 17 to June 18, two black male students were assaulted on University property. In both cases, the men were walking alone at night. Likewise, both men told the police they were attacked without provocation by several white males.

According to a police report, three 17-year-old boys were arrested on charges of aggravated battery and mob action after the victim of the June 18 attack identified them as his assailants. The victim told police that one of the boys had approached him where he was walking near the Henry Administration Building and drawn back a fist as if to strike the victim, who then ran, but tripped and fell. At that time, the three boys began punching and kicking the victim.

The second incident occurred under similar circumstances. The victim described to police that he was struck on the back of the head, possibly with a bottle, near the intersection of Sixth and Green streets, by one of several white males. He was knocked to the ground and the boys began kicking him in the face.

A second, campuswide e-mail from Riley indicated that persons had been arrested and charged in conjunction with both of these crimes. Sgt. Tony Brown of the University police said he believes Riley was referring to the same arrested individuals in both cases because he “believes the first two assaults may be related.”

“At this point, we don’t know if they are racially motivated, but the motive was clearly not robbery or a previous argument,” Riley said. “Neither victims said they heard any racial slurs during the attacks or anything else that would lead us to believe that was the motivation.”

One of the individuals arrested has been accepted to the University’s college of Engineering for the upcoming fall semester. Riley said the boy would be referred to University’s disciplinary system which will consider whether or not he will be permitted to attend the University.

Riley said the incidents serve as a reminder for students to be sensitive to their surroundings.

“During the summer, there are a lot less students on campus,” Riley said. “In all likelihood, at any given time there will be fewer people around. Students should always walk in safe areas, and with other people, or take the bus, just be careful.”