Student mugged, injured

By Katy Nielsen

A Columbia student who was beaten with a baseball bat was one of five separate victims who were attacked, robbed and beaten, Sept. 28 and 29. While detectives determine if these incidents are related, Campus Safety and Security addresses the dangers of walking alone at night.

An unrelated sexual assault was reported at 3:00 a.m. on Sept. 28 in the University Center of Chicago, 525 S. State St.

Two incidents occurred at Harrison and State streets. The first took place on Sept. 28 at 5:15 p.m.

According to police reports, a 28-year-old woman waiting for a train on the Harrison Red Line platform was texting when an offender took her iPhone and fled with an accomplice.

The second occurrence at Harrison and State streets was at 4 a.m. on Sept. 29, when Nicholas Assardo, freshman film and video major, was returning home after walking his friend to the Harrison station, he said.

“[Assardo] did a wonderful thing by walking his friend to the Red Line station,” said Martha Meegan, director of Campus Safety and Security. “But then he was alone.”

On the corner of Harrison and State streets, moments after he had parted ways with his friend, four men surrounded Assardo, threw him over a low fence and attacked him with a bat for more than four minutes.

The offenders stole his wallet which included $50 and several IDs, according to the police report. The incident took place near his apartment at 2 E. 8th St.

“I always knew there were parts of this city that weren’t safe, but I thought the three block radius around my apartment would be fine,” Assardo said. “This changes things.”

In addition to Assardo’s incident, there were three more attacks possibly related on Sept. 29. One took place at 2:30 a.m. at 624 W. Adams St. when a man was held at gunpoint by an assailant who stole his cell phone, according to police reports.

Another occurred at 4:50 a.m. on the 2000 block of North Larrabee Street, when a man was attacked by four offenders, and according to police reports, all of his belongings were stolen.

The last incident was at 5:10 a.m. when a man was beaten by two men on the corner of Superior Street and Michigan Avenue, and his cell phone was taken. Meegan said Columbia is taking extra precautions now.

“We have increased our [on-campus] security patrols, put a special lookout around the [Chicago Transit Authority] stations and increased patrols late [at night],” she said.

Campus Safety and Security has added one vehicle and two Segways as part of the on-campus security patrol.

Students have been advised to walk in pairs at night.

A campus alert was issued on Sept. 30, and the investigation was turned over to the Chicago Police Department.

“I’m not willing to accept and acknowledge people have the same understanding of safety,” Meegan said. “It’s all of our jobs to educate everybody in this environment to stay in a state of awareness.”