While members of the Cornell community headed to such destinations as beaches, Europe, and their respective homes over spring break, a student became the University’s first victim of violent assault this year.
In the early hours of March 15, a 22-year-old male Cornell student was assaulted in Collegetown. According to the Cornell News Service (CNS), the victim was walking on Cascadilla Way to Eddy Gate Apartments when he was attacked by three young men, attempting to rob him.
CNS reports that the attackers surrounded the victim and began striking his head and face until he fell to the ground. After failing to steal his wallet, they fled the crime scene and abandoned the student.
According to the victim, all three assailants were white, in their early twenties, and around six feet tall.
After canvassing the surrounding Collegetown area, members of the Ithaca Police Department (IPD) failed to locate the assailants, but are now working with the Cornell University Police Deptartment (CUPD) on a continued investigation of the crime.
Following the attack, an e-mail was sent by CNS to all members of the Cornell community, providing information concerning incident and requesting additional information regarding the assault or assailants.
According to Linda Grace-Kobas, director of CNS, there is no report that the assailants sought to do anything but rob the victim, and authorities have no reason to believe that the crime was racially or sexually motivated. However, she also reported that the IPD and the CUPD have, since the crime, increased the patrols occurring in Collegetown and surrounding areas.
According to statistics posted on the CUPD website, off-campus locales (such as the Collegetown district) are the only areas in which aggravated assault encounters occurred between 1999 and 2001; no reported attacks occurred on campus or in any on-campus buildings during that time period.
Grace-Kobas suggests taking precaution before venturing out late at night or early in the morning.
“If you are out late at night, try not to be alone, [and] be aware of who is around you,” she advises.
In addition, Grace-Kobas advises members of the Cornell and Collegetown community to avoid isolated spaces late at night and early in the morning and suggests calling the police should anything suspicious occur during a late-night walk home.
The CUPD advocates taking advantage of the Blue Light Services that include campus telephones connecting directly to the CUPD, their night-time escort service, and the free bus service for Cornell students.
The CUPD and IPD urge anyone with additional information regarding the March 15 assault to relay all information to the IPD as soon as possible.
Archived article by Ellen Miller