2 more students allege NYU mishandled campus attacks

After reports of four students being assaulted on campus in February, two more victims have come forward to describe recent attacks that they say were mishandled by Campus Safety.


Ryan Walker

After four students were assaulted on campus this month, two more students have said they’ve been attacked. One was punched between Bleecker Street and Bond Street; the other was struck on the back near the West Fourth Street Starbucks.(Staff Photo by Ryan Walker)

Lauren Ashe, Senior Staff Writer

At least two more NYU students said they were victims of recent attacks on campus after Campus Safety confirmed in a Feb. 17 email that four students had been assaulted. The two students said the department is mishandling the string of assaults.

Campus Safety did not email the university community about the attacks until a day after SPS senior AJ Sun posted on Instagram that Campus Safety did not take his report seriously. The four victims mentioned in the email, including Sun, were struck on Feb. 7, Feb. 13 and Feb. 14. They each described the perpetrator as a male with blond hair and a light complexion. 

[Read more: Assaulted student says he was dismissed by NYU Campus Safety

One of the previously unreported victims — a Tisch junior who asked to remain anonymous — was punched by a man between Bleecker Street and Bond Street at 12:20 p.m. on Feb. 2. Following the incident, they were diagnosed with a concussion by the Student Health Center and reported the assault to Campus Safety. 

The student said that the officer wrote down the assault on a piece of scrap paper and instructed them not to file a report to the New York City Police Department — Campus Safety would report the situation instead. After seeing the Campus Safety email, they came to the conclusion that the department did not file a police report and had to report the incident themselves. The assault has not been added to the public Campus Safety crime log as of Feb. 24 — more than three weeks after it took place.

“It makes me scared because there is probably much more crime that the university never tells us about,” the Tisch junior wrote in an email to WSN. “Campus Safety can just pick and choose what they want to share with us. It made me belittle my own situation. I felt that I must have made too big of a deal of everything and pushed myself through classes, which worsened my concussion.”

The second student, a CAS senior, was walking by the Starbucks at Washington Square E. and W. Fourth St. around 5 p.m. on Feb. 14 when a man struck him in the back. The description of the perpetrator that he provided differed from those of the other victims. He said he did not report the attack to Campus Safety since he had assumed that the department would not pursue further action. 

“This was the first time I came under physical attack from another person since I had moved to NYU,” he wrote in an email to WSN. “Coupled with the news that a Korean American woman had been killed in Chinatown last Sunday, to be honest, I truly felt the presence of Asian hate for the first time.”

He does not believe that Campus Safety will implement any immediate changes to prevent further assaults, but asks that more officers be placed around campus.

In the Feb. 17 email, campus safety chief Fountain Walker said Campus Safety could not determine whether the attacks were committed by the same person or motivated by race — but acknowledged that two of the four victims are Asian. 

The victim of one of the incidents mentioned in the email, a Gallatin sophomore, was walking by herself at 9 p.m. on Feb. 13 on the sidewalk between Washington Place and Greene Street and was punched on her back by an assailant whom she described as a white man with blond hair. She said that the man ran away when she turned around.

“It was stressful enough to report the incident for the first time, and truly discouraging to learn that it would not have been known, much less acknowledged, unless [Sun] brought attention to his experience on social media,” the Gallatin sophomore wrote to WSN. No one can expect NYU to guard all of the sidewalks of such a decentralized campus, but the most dismissive part of this event was that three separate violent incidents right outside school buildings did not meet the qualifications necessitating a cautionary message.”

She reported the incident to a Campus Safety officer on the same night. After seeing Sun’s  social media posts days after the attack, she reached out to him, and he put her in contact with a department representative. She then learned that the officer never submitted the initial report — she said Campus Safety did not have any record of her report. The next day, a representative escorted her and Sun to a police station.

Campus Safety has not responded to a request for comment made after the initial reports.

Contact Lauren Ashe at [email protected].