Tension ending after attack on Maricopa resident

By Zach Thomas
Arizona Daily Wildcat
October 16, 1996

One resident of Maricopa Hall described the situation as tense following multiple racially antagonistic notes pinned to hall doors in the past month.

An Oct. 2 assault on another resident marked the end of the notes.

"There was a lot of tension," said Gabrielle Nuhn, psychology freshman and Maricopa resident. "Five people on the third floor and a bunch on the second received notes."

However, the hall is becoming normal again, said undeclared freshman Jessica Peutz, another resident.

"It seems to have calmed down," she said.

However, a now former hall resident was assaulted and injured outside the Economics building Oct. 2 after she received three racially antagonistic notes on her residence hall room door, police reports stated.

According to police reports, she was walking to the hall, 1031 E. North Campus Drive, when she was jumped by two females at 11:55 p.m.

As the attackers were running away, one of her assailants reportedly yelled, "This is the last lesson we're going to give you spics and niggers."

In an interview with the Arizona Daily Wildcat, the victim said she thought it was "very possible" that the harrassing notes were related to the attack. The Wildcat is withholding the victim's name because she fears for her safety.

One of the notes, found Sept. 26, read, "If spicks don't want to be called spicks, they should go home to Mexico." The word "spick" was misspelled in each of the notes.

The victim said she had no idea who attacked her or what their motivation could have been.

One of the attackers reportedly hit her in the back with a pipe or a bat and then kicked her in the stomach after she fell. She then rolled over and the second assailant jumped on top of her, blackening her eye, police reports stated.

The victim suffered a large bruise above her right eye and a cut on her back requiring 17 stitches, she said.

Police reports indicate that bystanders then began yelling for help and the two attackers and a third female ran north from the Economics building, 1110 E. North Campus Drive, along the bike path adjacent to Yuma Residence Hall.

The assailants were both females and wore black sweat pants and shirts, police reports stated.

Acting Lt. Brian Seastone of the University of Arizona Police Department said the assault case has been inactivated due to lack of further leads.

He said there could be a relationship between the notes and the assault, but none has yet appeared.

"We're looking at all aspects," Seastone said.

Jim Van Arsdel, director of the the Department of Residence Life, would not comment on any action taken regarding the notes or the assault, but said his department is concerned for both the student and the hall community.

"This is something we're still looking into," he said Sunday.

The victim played down her own injuries when asked about the repercussions from the assault.

"The only damage that it's done is that it's moving a hell of a lot of people out of Maricopa," she said.

Peutz said residents' concerns about the notes were addressed in a hall-wide meeting held just hours before the victim was attacked. Although Peutz characterized the meeting as ineffective, the racial notes have since stopped, she said.

Neither Maricopa Hall Director Penny Woodcock nor Terri Precopio, Woodcock's supervisor and Residence Life area coordinator, returned repeated phone calls this week.