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Student, Employee Assaulted Over Columbus Day Weekend

By Zareena Hussain
Associate News Editor

Two assaults over Columbus Day Weekend on Institute grounds were telling reminders to students about the realities of living on an urban campus.

On Monday morning, a female student was the victim of an assault near 240 Albany St., the location for the Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcoholic Rehabilitation, stated a Campus Police crime bulletin issued Tuesday.

"The victim was approached by a lone white male who asked her for spare change and then grabbed her right shoulder and shook her before shoving her away," the bulletin said.

On Friday night, an employee was the victim of an assault on Ames Street near Building E15, said Campus Police Captain John E. Driscoll, who issued the bulletin.

"An employee was assaulted from behind and thrown to the ground as four suspects attempted to pull the knapsack off his back," the bulletin said. The victim was kicked by all suspects while he was on the ground.

Cruiser spots victim

Shortly after the assault took place on Albany Street, a Campus Police cruiser saw the victim in distress, Driscoll said.

The victim reported the suspect as a white male, approximately six feet tall, wearing a jean jacket, and heading down Albany Street.

Although the police cruiser came on the scene shortly after the incident, the officers were unable to apprehend the suspect.

The report of the incident on Ames Street on Friday night was reported to Campus Police the next day by the victim, Driscoll said.

The victim described the four suspects as young, two being black males, and one having a shaved head.

While these incidents both took place over the span of one weekend, this is no indication of a "crime wave," Driscoll said.

The most recent previous incident of violence on campus occurred earlier this year, in the basement of the Student Center a few days before Commencement.

A female student entered the women's bathroom in the basement of the Student Center when she was assaulted by a man hiding in one of the stalls. She was mugged and robbed of $300 in possessions. The mugger fled after another woman entered the bathroom.

Other past incidents include the beating of a student outside Random Hall last October and the shooting of a Northeastern University student outside Walker Memorial after a party held there, a year and a half ago.

Students still feel safe

The perception among students of the relative safety of the campus, in light of past incidents, remains largely unchanged.

"I've never felt endangered," said David F. Kurd '98.

"This is one of the safest campuses I've been on," said Edward K. Byon '00, comparing MIT to such colleges as the University of Texas and Northeastern University.

Others said that while MIT was in an urban setting, it provided a somewhat safer environment than the rest of the city.

"I definitely feel safer on campus," said Amy H. Leung '98, who lives off campus, "when I'm walking home, I do try to keep alert."

"It's a big city," said Donald D. Lucas G. "In any big city in the world, you're going to have safety as an issue."

To inform students, of the availability resources for crime prevention, the Campus Police publishes the Safety, Security, and Crime Prevention Handbook for MIT yearly. The handbook is also accessible from the Campus Police homepage at http://web.mit.edu/cp/www/.