An attack on a UW Madison student

Kayla Huynh:

Students’ usual feelings of excitement toward the start of the school year have been marred by anxiety after an unknown number of assailants brutally attacked a University of Wisconsin-Madison student downtown Sunday.   

At the university’s convocation event Tuesday, marking the beginning of thousands of incoming students’ college careers, Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said it wasn’t the start of the school year she had hoped for. 

Days before UW-Madison’s start of the fall semester, a student was hospitalized after she was brutally attacked and sexually assaulted. 

The woman, whose name has not been released to the news media, was found along the 500 block of West Wilson Street around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, according to the Madison Police Department incident report. A person living in the area called the police after noticing the victim was severely beaten. 

“I know there are so many of us in this room — and your parents and families — (who) are feeling anger and grief and anxiety,” Mnookin told incoming students at the convocation. 

“You may also be wondering if you can feel safe here,” she said. “The answer is mostly yes. Madison is generally quite a safe city, but no place is completely safe, including Madison.”

Mnookin directed students to the Dean of Students Office for resources and support regarding the incident. But incoming freshman Jisela Marquez said she wished the chancellor had gone into more detail. Some students, she said, would have found it helpful to hear about SAFEwalk, a walking companionship program that runs in the evenings until 1 a.m.