Student Mugged Outside McBain on Saturday Afternoon

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This morning, Public Safety emailed an alert, describing the mugging of a student this past Saturday outside of McBain. The email included the location and time of the mugging, along with pictures of the suspected assailant. However, the alert failed to mention any sort of exceptional violence, even though the victim, Mason Fitch, CC ’12, tells Bwog that the attack seemed “much more violent then similar muggings I remember from the past.” The assailant, he recalled, “tackled me from behind and started hitting me” before he “kicked me in the face” and finally threatened to “slice me.” Mason also mentioned the unusual and concerning time of the mugging: 1pm in the afternoon. This comes as the latest (and maybe most violent) event in a string of incidents at Columbia during break: the three campus break-ins and an attempted mugging of a student by two kids on College Walk. We wish Mason a speedy recovery.

See the full security alert with pictures of the suspect here, and compare the accounts of the Public Safety announcement with a fuller version of Mason’s story below.

Public Safety: On Saturday, January 15, 2011, at approximately 1:10 pm, A Columbia University student was the victim of an assault and robbery on 113th Street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue. CCTV review by CU Investigations showed the victim walking south, with the suspect shown below following him from 114th and Broadway. After the incident, the suspect ran east on 113th Street and then south on Amsterdam Avenue.

Mason Fitch, CC ’12: I was mugged on 113th [on January 15th] just after 1pm – only steps away from McBain. I really feel like everyone needs to know about this since it was so unusual – it was 1pm, right off of Broadway on 113th, and much more violent than most of the muggings I remember from the past.  I was walking from my dorm, Broadway, to pick up lunch at Symposium when the guy (young, black, 5’10 or so, black jacket w/ red hoody underneath, red and white sneakers) tackled me from behind and started hitting me as he searched my pockets for my wallet and phone. When he couldn’t find it, he got back up, kicked me in the face several times, got back on top of me, and threatened me that he would “slice me” if I didn’t give him my phone, at which point I relented.  He took my wallet and phone. The NYPD was called, and I ran into McBain to tell the security guard to alert Public Safety.  Though I didn’t request it, the NYPD called paramedics to meet me at the police station.  I haven’t been given any updates, but I assume they haven’t caught him.

On Saturday afternoon, a student was mugged outside of McBain. Only
this morning did Public Safety send an alert to the student body. The
alert mentions location and time of the mugging, along with pictures
of the suspected assailant, but it doesn’t mention any of the
violence. However, the victim, Mason Fitch, CC ’12, tells Bwog that
the attack “was much more violent,” the victim told Bwog, “then
similar muggings I remember from the past.” The assailant, he recalls,
“tackled me from behind and started hitting me” before he “kicked me
in the face” and finally threatened to “slice me.” Of course, this is
only the latest (and most violent) robbery to occur at Columbia over
break. Don’t forget about the string of campus break-ins
(http://bwog.com/2011/01/05/swiper-no-swiping-2/) and that attempted
mugging of a student by two little kids on College Walk
Yes, it seems that crime has invaded our little Columbia bubble. Maybe
someone should call Sudhir Venkatesh
(http://www.sudhirvenkatesh.org/books/gang-leader-for-a-day)? Read the
full email from Mason and the Public Safety announcement after the

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  1. Anonymous  

    this mason guy just wants to get publicity. I dont appreciate the publicity stunt

    • Anonymous  

      You obviously haven't met Mason. I'm glad he spoke up, it's good for students to be aware. I never pay attention to those public safety emails, but Mason, I'll listen to.

    • dont.  

      such an attack - indeed an attack of any magnitude - is certainly scarring, and i can't imagine anyone choosing to re-live it unless for some broader cautionary reason. that "this mason guy" spoke out about the attack is certainly closer to an act of selflessness as it cautions students about an alarming attack in their own backyards in spite of the painful implications involved in discussing the event in a public forum.

    • Anonymous  

      Mason is not that kind of person!!! He's a great guy who cares deeply for his friends and fellow Columbians. Just because you've never met him before, you can't assume he's doing it for publicity.

    • Publicity?  

      For what? Seriously.

    • Anonymous  

      You're ridiculous. I know Mason and he would NEVER just make up some story for "publicity" or whatever. If you think it's funny to even make this a joke then clearly something's wrong....with you.

    • cc'11  

      It's fine if he spoke up, but I'm also curious as to why put your name out there. We can hear the public safety alert and even the message without knowing who you are.

      I don't think its malicious fame-grubbing, but I don't think I would personally want that attention.

  2. LOL  

    Wow, all of the recent "suspects" are black. Clearly there is some racial profiling going on. NYPD is racist. OMG

    • Anon  

      When they say "suspect" here they mean "perpetrator." This isn't profiling--it's simply fact that all the muggings I have received emails about since becoming a Columbia student have been by young black men. There could be a wide variety of reasons for this, NONE of which include any race being more naturally predisposed to violence than another. The NYPD doesn't control the race of the criminals it deals with.

    • call me a racist  

      and thumb me down all you want.

      but statistically speaking most of the crimes are committed by black people, whether by historical disadvantages, etc.

  3. Mason Fitch

    Hi Bwog,

    I don't believe I have talked to anybody from Bwog regarding Public Safety's email; in fact, I haven't even talked with anybody from Bwog at all since the email was sent out. While I did express some concern over how long it took Public Safety to put out an alert, I really have no problem with the content of the alert. I was assaulted, and that's what the alert says.

    Thanks for posting this, though, and thanks for the well wishes. I'm completely fine, but just have a little more street cred now. :-)



    • Mason Fitch

      Thanks for removing the inaccuracy.

    • a little more street cred?

      I'm sorry ... did I miss the part that described how you fought back?

      • a little more pragmatism?  

        Sure, let's encourage Columbia students who fight back. On second thoughts, maybe a phone and wallet isn't worth so much.

        • a little more street cred?

          If more Columbia students - at least Columbia men - earned actual street cred by fighting back against punks looking for soft targets, then all Columbia students would be safer.

          • truth  

            If more Columbia students- at least Columbia men - earned actual street cred by fighting back against punks looking for soft targets, then there would be more dead Columbia students - at least Columbia men

          • a little more street cred?

            Logical consequence of this attitude: a punk so confident about how SAFE it is to victimize Columbia students, he isn't afraid to attack and rob a healthy 20-year-old man mid-day, near campus in the open, by himself.

          • Of

            Of, if the would-be perpetrator is carrying a weapon, he isn't going to be deterred by the threat of a fist fight with anyone, healthy or not. If you read the posting, I believe that you would have remembered that the thief in this case did in fact claim to have a knife, and the victim did in fact try to fight until that fact was mentioned. In any case, as for the veiled attack on the guy's manhood, I would say that being unbothered by such an experience-- as the remark that you take issue with suggests-- qualifies as manly but you may disagree.

          • a little more street cred?

            "If you read the posting ... the victim did in fact try to fight "

            Neither the Spec nor Bwog accounts say he fought back. Wishful projection, perhaps? Understandable; I wish he had fought back for a safer community for Columbians, too.

          • Anonymous

            I love stubborn people like you, because you will ignore everything in a post or viewpoint, just to try and make the poster look bad.

            This wasn't some 5-year old standing in front of him saying, "G-g-...give me your money, please!" This was a dude who tackled him to the ground, beat him, went through his pockets, and when he found nothing, stood over him with a kick to the face and said "Give me everything you've got or I'll slice you."

            Because I'm sure you're such a badass that you would have assessed the situation, taken the chance that he DOESN'T have any violent force behind his threats, and of course the split second after all of that take him out with a swift sweep of the knee.

            And even then - the fuck? Stop idealizing every victim as some martial arts expert just waiting for the day they can take out their unsuspecting assailant, and say some witty line like, "The only thing YOU'LL be getting is time in jail!"

            We're not all reckless kung-fu experts, sir (or ma'am). Some of us aren't interested in the bet of, "Hey, I bet you $40 and a cellphone that this guy doesn't actually have a knife and probably won't have the guts to slash me, anyway."

          • Anonymous

            I feel like half of the comments on Bwog are posted by trolls, and I am just being dooped every day into thinking that the Admissions officers messed up somewhere along the way.

          • a little more street cred?

            I repeat myself ... Logical consequence of this attitude: a punk so confident about how SAFE it is to victimize Columbia students, he isn’t afraid to attack and rob a healthy 20-year-old man mid-day, near campus in the open, by himself.

            Do you think this incident has encouraged or discouraged future (or the same) attackers of Columbia students?

          • Anonymous

            Honestly, I don't think this dude really cared what school his victim attended. He just wanted money, and he was (clearly) willing to go to great lengths to get it.

          • If anyone ever tried to mug me  

            I'd beat the shit out of them. Like that scene in The Godfather with the trash can. It would happen.

          • BC '12  

            Not to go all Barnard on your ass, but really?

          • a little more street cred?

            Sorry. I'm assuming that when these punks judge Columbia as a target, they aren't PC about it, but I could be wrong.

            Hey, if Barnard (and Columbia) women are willing and able to protect the community like Columbia men apparently are unable to do, go for it.

  4. dte

    I know they are raised in totally f'ed up, fatherless, crime-ridden environments and civilized people are supposed to be sympathetic to them but if some bum "thug" tries to mess with me I'll beat his ass so hard he won't be able to walk straight for a month. Would that make me a bad person?

    • no you

      wouldn't, but nice try thou

    • Anonymous

      Wait until you're in that situation, man. You have NO idea. I was walking in Bushwick with a friend recently when about ten guys ran up to him out of nowhere and started beating him up and demanding his phone and money before we could even process what was going on. (They didn't go for me because I'm female, so I just ran. But in my shocked state I hesitated enough that they really could have done anything to me had they wanted to.) They claimed they had a gun -- probably didn't, but you shouldn't risk it. Also there were TEN of them. I don't care how tough you think you are, you would NOT have fought back in that situation.

  5. I'm thinking about

    Buying a taser and pepper spray, will NYC and CU let us carry these?

  6. Anonymous  

    I can't wait until one of these idiots tries to mug some GS guy who was some bad-ass shit like former Marine infantryman or Kung Fu expert. I've been anticipating *that* story.

  7. name  

    as long as the cops keep busting students for selling harmless drugs and letting punks go for robbing students, we will all be safe.

  8. wait wait

    hold on...Mason's been mugged enough times that this one stood out from the rest? That's pretty crazy.

    • yeah really  

      I think the idea that someone has been mugged multiple times is so sad. Obviously, it happening once is bad enough. I don't know if all the muggings occurred in this area though. I don't think it matters if you have "street cred" or are tough or whatever - when someone is physical with you and threatens you, most people are going to be smart and do whatever needs to be done to make them go away.

  9. ...  

    mason fitch is sexy as fuck

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