Target of slur held at knifepoint steps from Chapin on Saturday

Dalia Naamani-Goldman

A Northwestern student said he was held at knifepoint and threatened with a racial slur early Saturday morning just steps away from campus.

Xander Saide, the Communication freshman whose wall was vandalized Tuesday in Chapin Residential College, said he was attacked along Sherman Avenue within eyesight of Chapin. Saide said he could not identify the assailants because they attacked him from behind.

Saide said he felt hands around his throat and “something cold and sharp” and then heard someone whispered in his ear, “Spic, we didn’t run away this time.” Saide also said the attackers attempted to write something on his face.

“I froze and I didn’t know what to do,” Saide said.

Saide said after the assailant released him, he ran to his resident assistant’s room at Chapin, where the resident assistant called University Police.

Both university officials and UP declined to comment on the incident.

The incident follows five instances of racial and religious vandalism reported during Winter and Spring quarters. University administrators announced Thursday that they are offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to the arrest of people involved in recent hate crimes on campus.

Members of a number of student groups, including all those in the Coalition of Color, met Sunday night to formulate an action plan. Representatives said they will hold events this week to unite against recent acts.

Saide said he is coming forward with information about the attack because he wants to make sure his attackers know he isn’t a coward. He said many community members were supportive of his decision.

“I will survive this,” he said. “I just need a bit of time and space.”

Nathaniel Whittemore, Chapin’s president, said the dorm’s media committee is devoting one of its bi-quarterly publications to issues related to the recent events. The Weinberg sophomore also said he is working to restore a close-knit atmosphere in the 75-person dorm.

“People are more aware of the potential for (racial slurs) to happen in their home,” he said. “It’s almost a loss of naivety.”

Whittemore said though he is working hard to address issues in his dorm, he is frustrated the university has not promptly and publicly condemned the recent attacks and incidents.

“There has to be a strong visible presence that says we’re not going to stand for this,” he said.

Ronnie Rios, a multicultural Greek representative for the Latina sorority Lambda Theta Alpha, said she has met with Saide and “is shocked that this continues to happen.”

“It’s such a disappointment that at such an academic university, this ignorance still continues to exist,” said Rios, a Weinberg senior.

Hillel Cultural Life Associated Student Government Sen. Alexander Lurie said the issue of hate-related attacks must be addressed immediately.

“If we didn’t see it before, now it is painfully apparent: The plague of hate and hate-related assaults on the Northwestern campus beg further attention,” said Lurie, a Communication sophomore. “There has never been more apparent a need for both students and administrators to put an end to these acts.”

Richard Goldberg, co-chairman of the hate crimes task force and a Medill junior, which was formed in response to last year’s incidents, urged students to report information related the recent events — for legal as well as ethical reasons.

“If you know something about hate crimes,” Goldberg said, “you risk becoming an accessory after the fact and will open yourself up to prosecution under the hate crime statute.”