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Attack near Queens College prompts questions about campus safety

On her way home from a Halloween party, a 24-year-old QC student was attacked and sexually assaulted near 152nd St. and Melbourne Ave.

According to a memo from the Office of Public Safety, the student had just exited the bus on Jewel Avenue and was walking to her apartment near campus when she was approached by a white male who punched her in the face and threw her to the ground.

“He was saying ‘stop fighting before you die,’” the victim’s roommate, Su Wei said.

While on top of her, the attacker began to tear off her clothes, but he stopped and fled when a man in a nearby apartment said that he called 911 and the cops were on their way.

The student is badly shaken and bruised by the incident.

“The injuries are on the neck, forehead and the cheek,” Wei said.

The police released a sketch of the suspect and described him as being between 20 and 30 years old and standing 5-foot-5 to 5-foot-8. He was last seen wearing a dark-colored T-shirt and jeans. He also has short, dark hair, police said.

Many QC students are outraged and concerned that such an event could happen so close to campus.

“I live in the Summit. Someone got assaulted in my front yard,” Kiana Newell, 18, sophomore said.

Other students worry about staying late on campus whether it be to go to a class or an event happening in the evening.

“My [last] class ends around 8:00 p.m. and now I’m nervous about getting home afterward, especially since I commute on the bus,” Jasmine Thompson, 21, senior said.

The Office of Public Safety urges everyone to exercise caution and be wary of their surroundings, especially in circumstances where they might be alone after hours.

QC utilizes public safety officers to ensure the well-being of all students and faculty while they are on campus.

“We rely on continuously patrolling and timely responses to calls for service from the college community,” Pedro Pineiro, director of public safety said.

There are also security guards stationed at traffic gates and those that patrol the campus regularly.

Pineiro, who has worked at QC for 12 years, advises students to put security’s number on speed dial in order to request help quickly in times of danger.

Students can also access the blue emergency assistance call boxes located between Kiely and Delaney Hall if they ever find themselves in trouble while on campus. Pressing the red button alerts a public safety officer that help is needed.

Additionally, public safety provides escorts to parking lots and buildings.

All members of the college community are encouraged to attend crime prevention seminars, which are offered each semester and conducted by the New York City Police Department and the Department of Public Safety.

Everyone is encouraged to actively participate in their own safety and the safety of others. Incoming students receive information about campus crime prevention programs during orientation, which is every semester.

Pineiro urges students, faculty, staff and guests to do two main things: “Protect your property, [since] much of the crime on campus is petty property crime [and] if you feel scared or apprehensive about something, go with your feelings: call public safety,” Pineiro said.

The department of public safety can be reached at (718) 997-5912. The extension 75912 may be dialed within the college’s telephone system.

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