Lundy assaulted behind Lawn, election postponed

Shortly before 2 a.m. yesterday, Daisy Lundy, second-year College student and Student Council presidential candidate, was assaulted in Poe Alley, directly behind the West side of the Lawn.

According to several sources nearby at the time, Lundy had just left the Lawn room of Tim Lovelace, student member of the Board of Visitors, to retrieve her cellular phone from her car, parked at the end of the alley.

While she was searching for her phone, an unknown assailant reportedly assaulted Lundy. As she was leaning into her car, the assailant allegedly grabbed Lundy by the hair and slammed her head against the steering wheel. She subsequently fell to the ground, causing minor injury to her ankle.

Multiple sources, including Coalition Chair Ryan McCarthy, who was present when Lundy spoke to the police, confirmed yesterday that Lundy told police the assailant said, "no one wants a nigger to be president."

Police are investigating the assault as a hate crime.

"Whenever there is an objective way of judging whether a crime was committed with some bias, it is labeled a bias crime," University Deputy Police Chief Michael Coleman said, clarifying the terminology.

Police do not carry out special investigations for hate offenses, though such crimes can carry harsher penalties when prosecuted by the Commonwealth attorney, Coleman said.

Police provided a description of the alleged assailant yesterday in a press release, describing the suspect as "a heavyset white male, wearing a dark coat, light pants and a dark hat."

The University has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the assault.

Council Elections Committee Chair Julie Teater closed the online polls for the Council presidential run-off at 8:05 a.m. yesterday, in response to the assault.

"I received a request from Daisy's campaign to close the polls this morning," Teater said yesterday. "I wholeheartedly supported that request."

The elections committee has not yet rescheduled the remainder of the run-off, but Teater said it probably will take place the first week after spring break. The polls originally were scheduled to be open from 8 a.m. Tuesday through 8 p.m. yesterday.

"Polls will be opened again for the amount of time [they were] closed early -- 12 hours," Teater said. "The votes that were cast in the first 24 hours are still in the system ... and will still be valid."

The run-off election lasts for a total of 36 hours, 24 of which have been completed.

Lawn residents were called to the scene of the assault Wednesday morning when Lundy repeatedly honked her car horn. Lovelace heard the honking and decided to make sure things were okay, said McCarthy, who lives two rooms down from Lovelace and has been actively involved in Lundy's campaign.

When Lovelace arrived on the scene, Lundy was lying on the ground and he began screaming.

Fourth-year Curry student Mary Ellen Bizzarri said she heard Lovelace scream and walked down the alley, where she heard Tim scream "call 911."

Bizzarri called the police at 1:53 a.m.

Police responded to the scene within a minute, according to University Police Sgt. Dave Webb, who remained at the scene of the assault for several hours afterward.

An ambulance soon arrived on the scene and carried Lundy to the University Medical Center. She subsequently was released, having sustained no serious injuries.

Prior to the assault, Lundy had filed police reports regarding telephone threats she began receiving Sunday night.

Police urge students with any information related to the assault to report leads immediately to Crime Stoppers at 977-4000.

--Staff reports contributed to this article.

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