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Student Attacked Outside Random

By Douglas E. Heimburger
Staff RepoRter

Jonathan R. Blandford '98 was beaten last Saturday night on Massachusetts Avenue in front of Random Hall by a group of men.

According to witnesses and police reports, Blandford, a resident of Random, was crossing Massachusetts Avenue from the MIT Museum on his rollerblades at about midnight Saturday night when he was accosted by several men exiting the Cambridgeport Saloon, which is located next to Random Hall.

The men made disparaging comments to Blandford, said Random Hall President Rosanna W. S. Yuen '97, a witness to the event.

As the men passed Blandford, one of them knocked him off balance. Three of the individuals then began beating him in the back and face.

"I ran in and told [the desk worker] to call the Campus Police," Yuen said. She then returned back outside, where she attempted to intervene to stop the beating. The men "yelled, grabbed me, and pushed me out of the way," she said.

At that point, several residents of Random came out of the dormitory. The men saw the group and "strolled off," Yuen said.

Blandford was taken to Cambridge City Hospital, where he was treated for wounds to his face and back and released after precautionary X-rays were taken.

The three men were described as white males with short cropped blonde hair, approximately 24 years old, and 5 feet 9 inches tall. All suspects were wearing black jackets and white undershirts.

Other residents confronted

The group of men walked down Landsdowne Street next to the Necco factory on Massachusetts Avenue, where they verbally confronted another resident of Random. Benjamin M. Vandiver '00 and Karen B. Marcovici of Smith College were walking back to Random from Green Street when they encountered the group of men.

One of the men knocked Vandiver over as the group passed, he said. According to Vandiver, one of the men then asked, "Oh, did I knock you over?" Vandiver and Marcovici quickly left the scene after retrieving their belongings. The men did not make any attempts to further confront the two.

"At first glance, I didn't think they were drunk," Vandiver said.

After returning to Random, Vandiver and other residents traveled to Cambridge City Hospital to provide support for Blandford.

Residents express concern

Many residents of Random felt that the incident was an isolated event. "There's very little you can do about it," Vandiver said.

Sameer S. Gandhi '97, Random Hall desk captain, said that members of the dormitory had considered locking the front door of Random at an earlier hour in order to prevent incidents in front of the front desk. But Gandhi said that he "won't take any action unless it becomes a regular occurrence."

"Locking the door could have hurt them in this case," Vandiver said.

Several people expressed concerns about the fact that Random is adjacent to a saloon.

"Having a saloon next to a dorm is just plain dumb," said Random resident Eric B. Ford '99.

Yuen, however, disagreed. "Whether or not they came out of the saloon is irrelevant. It was well lit," she said. "It could have happened anywhere, anyplace. The fact that it happened outside of Random is just coincidence."

The Cambridge City Police is investigating the incident. They encourage individuals with information on the crime to call the Cambridge Police Detectives at 349-3212. Information can also be submitted via the Campus Police anonymous tip web page at http://web.mit.edu/cp/www.

Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin could not be reached for comment.