Student attacked Sunday morning

Sheila Burt

A Northwestern student was attacked during an attempted robbery near the Foster El station early Sunday morning, marking the first assault near campus since January, police and university officials said.

The male student was walking home shortly after 12 a.m. Sunday when two men approached him on the 2000 block of Maple Avenue, said Sgt. Steve Goldenberg of Evanston Police Department.

The first person demanded cash from the student and the second person then walked up to him and punched him in the face, Goldenberg said. Nothing was taken from the student.

The student then was chased for about a block as he ran to his nearby residence, said Charles Loebbaka, NU’s director of media relations. No weapons were displayed during the attempted robbery.

“Any attack is a concern,” Loebbaka said.

The Evanston Fire Department responded to the scene with an ambulance, where the student was treated, Goldenberg said.

Goldenberg did not know whether the assault was related to the ones in Fall Quarter but said police will investigate a possible connection.

Sunday’s incident marks the 12th robbery or attack of the academic year and the first since January. In response to the attacks, officials hired new security officers and the university installed brighter lights on the east side of Sheridan Road over Winter Break.

The January attacks occurred when an NU student and a Loyola University Chicago student were attacked in separate incidents on the Evanston Campus. At the time, police said they were not sure whether the attacks were connected to a string of attacks and robberies during Fall Quarter.

University officials posted a security alert about the recent attack at HereAndNow online at 8:14 a.m. Sunday. University Police, who could not be reached for comment, also sent the alert to students via e-mail Sunday afternoon.

The 2000 block of Maple is near the El tracks and is at the intersection of Foster Street, an area that is often dark, residents said.

Amalia Aleck, a Weinberg senior who lives on the 900 block of Foster directly across from the El tracks, said living next to the El is a concern but she frequently sees police officers in the parking lot.

“In general I haven’t felt in danger,” said Aleck, who carries Mace and a whistle on her keychain. “There tends to be a lot of people.”

Aleck added that she was surprised an attack occurred at about 12 a.m. Sunday, because she heard people, possibly students, banging on trash cans and making a lot of noise at about that time.

A clerk at Howard’s Books, 2000 Maple, had not heard about the incident but said he sees a fair amount of people walk around the area during the daytime.

“It seems to be safe from what I’ve seen,” said Ted Ehara, a Chicago resident who works at the store.

But the area is not immune to crime. A house occupied by NU students on the 2000 block of Maple was robbed April 15 between 10:30 p.m. and 11:45 p.m., EPD Deputy Chief Michael Perry said last month.

Two laptop computers worth $2,400 and two DVD players were stolen from the first floor, Perry said.

Seth Rosen, a Medill senior who lives in the house that was robbed, said he and his roommates did not think they would need to address security concerns.

But the lack of lighting and the robbery have made him think twice.

“I don’t think any of us feel quite as safe as we did,” Rosen said.