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U. student attacked in parking lot on College Avenue campus

On April 2, a Rutgers student was assaulted in a parking lot on the College Avenue campus. – Photo by

On April 2, a juvenile, who is unaffiliated with the University, physically assaulted a Rutgers student in Lot 11 on the College Avenue campus.

The victim, Michael Simitz, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences sophomore, said that on the day of the incident, which was a Sunday, he had been taking a physics exam in Scott Hall.

After completing the assessment, he walked to Lot 11 and found that his car had been perpendicularly blocked by another vehicle, which presumedly belonged to a group of five to six individuals standing nearby, Simitz said.

As Simitz attempted to slowly reverse his car out of its parking spot, one of the individuals gestured for him to keep moving out and indicated that his car had room to leave, he said.

Eventually, Simitz hit the group's vehicle and exited his car to apologize to the group. He said the group accused him of making a large dent in the parked car and immediately asked him for money.

Simitz, who was not carrying cash at the time, disagreed with the group, saying he did not cause a dent given the lack of damage to his own vehicle and that the dent had rust around it.

The group refused to call the police to discuss a possible insurance claim, Simitz said. They then began to approach Simitz and accost him.

"They're just like, 'Get the f*ck out of here,' and I'm still kind of trapped in there. So I can't really get out, but I'm kind of in the fight or flight response," Simitz said. "There's like five, six of them, and it's just one of me. So I'm like, 'I gotta get out of here.'"

Simitz said he re-entered his car and attempted to leave but tapped the parked car again. He then exited the vehicle and asked the group to move. After he asked, an individual from the group punched him in the face, Simitz said.

Simitz returned to his car, and as he was driving away, the same individual punched him in the eye through his open window. As he was leaving the campus, he called the police, who requested he return to the scene.

The Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD) responded to the incident and, upon arrival, discerned the key details of the situation, according to a statement from the University. The RUPD identified all individuals on the scene, made no arrests and the case is not being investigated further.

"It's just unexpected. Nothing's really happened to me like that before, and it's just kind of out of nowhere," Simitz said. "I was talking to my family friend who's a New Brunswick cop, and they said, 'there's a good chance that could have been a scam,' but we don't know that for sure yet."

Tina Simitz, Michael Simitz's mother and a Rutgers alum, said she agreed that the incident could have been a possible insurance scam. She said she dislikes the idea of weekend exams as Sundays are normally a day of rest, specifically for religious families like hers.

Tina Simitz said she contacted her son's advisor and the professor who administered the Sunday exam, who both gave insufficient and unempathetic responses, in her opinion.

Eventually, she spoke with Thomas Leustek, the dean of academic programs at the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, who directed her to Detective Robert Calvert from the RUPD.

Tina Simitz said Calvert informed her that no arrests could be made with regard to the incident due to the offender's age. She said he told her that after obtaining a police report, she could file a misdemeanor or simple assault charge through the New Brunswick Police Department.

Regarding campus safety, the University's statement said policing patrol is the same on weekends and weekdays, and the RUPD and Rutgers Parking Enforcement regularly monitor on-campus parking lots. Tina Simitz said she appreciated the RUPD's help but still felt its response was inadequate.

"It's a little disheartening, obviously disturbing, to have this happen to my son, number one, but number two, the response from the police was like, 'Well, you know, we really can't be everywhere at every time,'" she said.

Tina Simitz said she is glad her son is doing well after the incident, and going forward, her family will pursue legal action.

"So we are definitely going to be filing the simple assault or misdemeanor complaint with the city of New Brunswick and, obviously, not looking to get any sort of compensation out of this but really just looking for justice because these guys are definitely out on the street. It's sad that the one is a juvenile," she said.

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