The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Muslim student attacked at Elmhurst College

Students at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, Ill., have rallied behind a female Muslim student who was attacked by a masked man with a gun Thursday night.

The student, whose name is not being released by the college, was in a basement bathroom of the school's science building when she was attacked, said Charles Henderson, Elmhurst director of public relations. He said the student described her attacker as a 5-foot-8-inch white male wearing a ski mask.

"It's the kind of thing that shakes you to the core," Henderson said.

Henderson said he has heard varying reports on the student's injuries, ranging from no injuries to a concussion.

The incident took place around 8:30 p.m.

Caroline Krause, Elmhurst College crime prevention officer, said a crime alert was issued on campus as part of routine emergency practices.

"When the initial call came in, the Elmhurst Police Department was here within minutes," Krause said. "We have more than 300 speakers on campus that made an announcement that told people to stay put."

Henderson said the campus was locked down from about 10 p.m. until 11 p.m.

"We have information posted in every building for emergencies," Henderson said. "We've got some very good communication methods. The days of running around with leaflets are gone."

Michelle Larsen, a senior nursing student at Elmhurst, said she was in the building before the attack occurred, but left around 8 p.m.

She said she received a text message from the college that informed students about what happened. She said the text message told students to stay where they were until the campus was confirmed to be safe.

The attack was one of two incidents in the past two weeks, both involving the same Muslim student.

On Oct. 2, her locker was found to have anti-Muslim graffiti on it.

"That's a hate crime," Henderson said.

Larsen said she thought the graffiti incident should have triggered more action from the college.

"They were being warned and could have done more," she said. While the attack was only on one student, she said more precautions could have been made in case of another incident like the shootings at Virginia Tech.

Henderson said pro-diversity rallies were held on campus Oct. 3, as well as this past Friday.

"The campus was impressive in how it rallied," he said. "There was very eloquent support for justice and the kind of campus (people) want."

Krause said she doesn't anticipate many changes in campus security for the time being, but she said she thinks people will be much more involved in their own personal safety.

"A ton of students have registered for EC alert (for text messages)," she said.

Henderson said he thought the situation was handled well overall.

"You learn from every crisis," he said. "You do the best you can in the heat of the moment and then look back."

He said there is no suspect at this point in time.

The Elmhurst Police Department referred calls to Elmhurst College.

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