New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Campus Safety responds to wave of assaults near Washington Square Park

The Department of Campus Safety said it “is aware of reports on social media” of women being assaulted in several New York City neighborhoods, including near NYU’s Washington Square campus.
Alisia Houghtaling
The email was sent out on March 27, 2024 from the Department of Campus Safety. (Graphic by Alisia Houghtaling)

Multiple women have shared stories online of being punched in neighborhoods throughout New York City, including areas near Washington Square Park and Union Square. NYU’s Department of Campus Safety issued a universitywide memo on Wednesday saying that its records “do not reflect having received any direct reports” involving university community members.

In the memo, Campus Safety said it is “aware of reports on social media” about the assaults, in which many individuals indicated “they were struck in the face or the head as they were looking at their phones.” The New York City Police Department arrested one man involved in one of these attacks on Wednesday, according to NBC News. The NYPD said it is currently investigating another incident, but that it is unclear whether the two are related.

“It’s definitely scary and worrying, because I don’t understand why exactly people would do that — it seems very random and not asked for,” Stern sophomore Sarah El Batji said.

On Monday, influencer Halley Kate spoke about her experience being punched in downtown Manhattan on TikTok. Kate’s post prompted over a dozen other women to share similar stories on the social media platform, including New School student Mikayla Toninato, who said she was punched in the face while walking on 14th Street and Fifth Avenue. Toninato said the incident left her with a “concussion, a black eye and a chipped tooth.” 

NYU has increased the presence of Campus Safety and NYPD officers on its campus following the introduction of the university’s 10 Point Plan, a list of safety and conduct guidelines aimed at increasing on-campus security.

CAS sophomore Talia Shamoun noted the high count of security around campus but said that she does not see officers as much at night and early in the morning.

“I feel like we’ve had a lot of things like this happen before, so it’s not that serious,” Shamoun said. “It’s those basic things that you’re supposed to be careful of. I don’t normally have my phone out, I try not to, but I heard about this and it makes you anxious.” 

Campus Safety and an NYU spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Contact Aashna Miharia at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Aashna Miharia
Aashna Miharia, Deputy News Editor
Aashna Miharia is a first-year studying journalism and public policy with a minor in business studies. She’s from the Boston area and a novelist, coffee enthusiast and lover of independent bookstores. You can usually find her listening to an audiobook while wandering around New York City or on Instagram @aashnamiharia.
Alisia Houghtaling
Alisia Houghtaling, Illustration Editor
Alisia Houghtaling is a first-year in Applied Psychology in Steinhardt and one of WSN's Illustration Editors. In her freetime, you can find Alisia drawing, painting, reading, eating pasta or autopilot walking around SOHO to window shop or stare into windows and say "I want to live there." You can find her on Instagram @_alisiart_ and send Italian restaurant recommendations or ridiculous real-estate listings in the city.

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