April 8, 2008
Columbia Student's Death Raises Questions
By SARAH GARLAND
Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 8, 2008
The death of a Columbia University student after he was chased into traffic during an assault near the campus has some students wondering how the school will deal with safety issues as it prepares to expand further north into Harlem.
The student, Minghui Yu, was hit by a car on 122nd Street and Broadway after being attacked, prompting the university's president, Lee Bollinger, to remind students this weekend that the campus is in one of the safest police precincts in the city.
The northern border of the Manhattanville campus, which will include student housing and science labs, will abut the edge of a precinct where robberies, assaults, and murders are much more common, however.
"One Hundred Twenty-Fifth Street is dangerous to me. I don't want to go up further," a graduate chemistry student, Sujun Wei, who went to the same Chinese university as Yu, said. "That's going to be an issue later."
The international student representative on Columbia's student council, William Guo, 23, said he knows of two other Chinese students who have been robbed in the area lately, and said the incidents have made foreign students particularly nervous.
Other students have pointed out that the attack happened several blocks north of Columbia University's main campus, beyond the areas most frequently patrolled by Columbia's security guards. But the path walked by Yu on Saturday when he was assaulted is set to become the main drag linking the old campus to the new one once the expansion is completed.
In preparation for the proposed development, the school has bought up land north of 125th Street as far as 133rd Street, which divides two police precincts. South of 133rd Street, the 26th Precinct covers Morningside Heights and the Upper West Side, where crime is generally low, although robberies and rapes are up slightly this year.
The 30th Precinct, which lies to the north of 133rd Street and covers the Sugar Hill neighborhood, has struggled more with crime. There were five murders and 224 felony assaults in the 30th Precinct last year, compared to two murders and 90 felony assaults in the 26th.
A spokeswoman for Columbia University, La-Verna Fountain, said the police precinct lines had not been taken into consideration when the border of the new campus was proposed.
"The blocks that we looked at were the more industrial blocks; that's where the warehouses were," she said.
A friend of Yu, Wei Wei, 26, who lives down the street from where Yu died, said he rarely ventures north of his apartment building, and never alone.
"There is a lot of crime in this area. I'm not sure what the university will do about this. Maybe they will have more safety people," Mr. Wei, an engineering doctoral student, said.
Ms. Fountain said she could not comment on specific security measures the school would implement at the Manhattanville campus, but said campus security would work closely with the police department. After Yu's death this weekend, the university deployed an additional security patrol to monitor the surrounding neighborhood, officials said.
NB - Wake Columbians - Morningside heights is part and parcel of WestSide Harlem and Columbia University has been in West Harlem since they came to Morningside Heights. Stop deluding yourselves that somehow you are not in Harlem. That is part of the problem created by the University in making students believe that they are not in Harlem.
The 26th Precinct and the 30th Precinct are among the safest in New York City.
Seems that all the fear is reflected by Asian students and white-bread students who probably feel as out of sorts with the White New Yorkers as they are with the Blacks and just as apprehensive, not to say fearful, with either.
West Harlem is home to a very wonderful diverse population and not all of them are blonde, blue eyed or Nubian Warrirors. One will find a few rotten apples in any barrel but the brad bush that is being used is totally out of proportion.
The article wants to raise some questions... Think about this...
A 13 year-old bully manages to intimidate a growm man into jumping into incoming traffic?, lets use some sense of proportion, I don't want to defend the wrong doer nor denigrate the victim, but think about it...
Those students that feel unsafe are welcome to join me in a midnight stroll through Manhattanville or through Hamilton Heights which includes Sugar Hill some of the safest and beautiful neighborhoods in the City.
Columbians You Do Not Have To Live in Fear. Face your fears, embrace West Harlem and you will find decent, boisterous youths of all colors and shades living in West Harlem from West 110th Street to West 155th Street from St. Nicholas Avenue to the Hudson River. Do so and become a part of teh community and the community will be your protection. - JRM
From: "Maritta Dunn"
Subject: RE: [G-2]: [Gray Wolf's Howl] Columbia Student's Death Raises Questions
Date: Sun, 13 Apr 2008 10:40:55 -0400
I tried to sent this to you before. Hope you get it this time. Your remarks are right on point. The press and these students seem to forget that they at a transient population in our neighborhood. Therefore, when visiting, you should attempt to arrive with an open mind and be willing to interact with your host not approach the visit with disdain.