Fourth Estate/Erica Munisar

Mason Student attacked by unknown subject while on a walk around the Fairfax Campus.


Editor’s Note: The pseudonym of Jane Doe was used to protect the victim’s identity.

On Sept. 24, 2023, Mason student Jane Doe was assaulted on Fairfax Campus by an unidentified suspect around 10:30 p.m. The incident occurred at Patriot Circle near Eagle Bank Arena and Lot K. 

While on a nighttime walk, Doe recounts the sound of a person running up behind her but not being overly alarmed by the noise at first. 

“I saw the shadow and I thought it was just a runner, but they ended up attacking me,” said Doe. “They were hitting me several times with a blunt force object.”

Doe believes the attack object could have been a blue and silver baseball bat, however this was unconfirmed. This is because Doe did not get a proper view of the weapon during the incident.

The attack lasted for a couple of minutes before the suspect fled the scene. 

After the attack, Doe ran to safety and contacted local authorities, which arrived on the scene shortly after. 

Mason Alert sent out a campus wide message at 11:53 p.m., stating the ongoing investigation and requesting the evacuation of the scene. 

“Urgent Mason Alert: An assault investigation is in progress at Patriot Circle at Eagle Bank Arena. Please avoid the area and obey emergency response personnel.”

In the email alert, sent at 11:56 p.m., the suspect was described as “a 6 foot tall, medium build, black male with short black hair…last seen wearing a blue baseball cap, white shoes, and all black clothing.”

Doe claims that the Mason Alert was inaccurate, as she claimed the night of the incident that the man may have had a blue and silver baseball bat, not that he was wearing a blue baseball cap.

The investigation is still ongoing, as the suspect has not been reported as found. 

Doe believes this incident raises concerns regarding the safety of Mason’s campus. 

‘I do hear a lot that Mason is a safe campus from other people that go here,” said Doe. “However, based on my experience, I don’t believe it to be as safe as what is told.”

“If we had other security measures like the blue light system, or maybe even just a better security system put in place, I feel like it would be a safer campus,” said Doe. 

Doe recommends that students refrain from walking around campus alone at night and to stay in groups if able. 

“If you are walking alone, please carry pepper spray or some sort of alarm system,” said Doe. 

The use of pepper spray is not explicitly prohibited under University Policy of weapons on campus, however Virginia Law allows the use of non-lethal pepper spray in self defense.

Department of Police and Public Safety Chief of Staff Eric Fowler stated that Mason Pond is not subject to higher crime rates than other areas on campus. 

“Compared to other areas on campus, Mason Police receives a very small number of calls for service per year at Mason Pond,” said Fowler. “A majority of crimes are reported in areas where a large number of people congregate throughout the day, parking areas, and residence halls.”

Fowler states that lighting and camera coverage varies throughout areas on campus. The cameras are monitored by Mason Police. At the time of publication, there are currently no plans to increase lighting and/or camera coverage around the Fairfax campus.

“Mason Police will advocate for more lighting or camera coverage when needed,” said Fowler. 

Fowler states that sworn Virginia police officers patrol Mason campuses 24 hours a day and Mason police have a team of non-sworn security officers and student police cadets who are trained to patrol campuses and report suspicious activity. Additionally, Mason Police have a Special Response Team for active threat situations. 

For Safety resources, students, faculty, and staff should refer to the following Mason safety services and resources:” Said Fowler. 

“Safety Escorts. To request an escort, students can call Mason Police at (703) 993-2810.

RAVE Guardian. Integrated with Mason Alert and offers a number of important features.

Mason Alert. Receive emergency notifications. 

Timely Warning Notifications. Regarding Clery Act crimes that pose a serious or continuing threat to the campus community. 

Daily Crime Log. The crime log is updated within 2 business days. 

Annual Security Report. Review campus safety information. 

Stop the Violence. Students can make reports of concerning or threatening Behavior and get support.

Crime Solvers Program. Report crimes and suspicious activity anonymously to Mason Police. Call the anonymous tip line at 703-993-4111 or submit a report online.

Active Threat / Stop the Bleed Training. Sign up for free, hands-on training designed to prepare members of the Mason community for response to an active threat situation and first aid.”