Over the last two weekends, a group or groups of black men have been roving have been roving the streets and beating people completely at random near the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.
Police say the beatdowns are consistent with initiations by big-city street gangs — a phenomenon not typically seen on most Big 10 campuses.
The latest round of maulings occurred in the wee hours of Saturday morning between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m., WLS-TV reports.
The attackers — described as black men, perhaps 25 years old, wearing dark clothes — rambled around an area in Champaign, tackling various innocent and unsuspecting people to the ground and kicking them in the head.
Police say five students suffered injuries in four different instances. Three of the students received treatment for bruises, cuts and facial wounds, notes WLS. One student also had a cell phone stolen.
Some victims said their attackers asked them a question or threatened them before their pummelings began. Other victims said they just got pummeled.
Each incident occurred on a residential street in front of witnesses.
There were six to eight attackers in total. They cruised around in a blue vehicle, looking for fresh victims.
Police also noted that a similar rash of random beatdowns occurred the prior weekend when there were at least three such attacks.
There have been 45 assaults reported in the Champaign–Urbana metropolitan area since Oct. 1.
Champaign police have been observing the growth of local satellite operations by Chicago street gangs since 2008.
The hits just keep coming for the flagship campus of the University of Illinois.
Last month, the University of Illinois system’s board of trustees voted 8-1 to reaffirm a decision by school officials to revoke an employment offer to Steven Salaita, the world-class Israel-hating professor who tweeted himself out of a job with a parade of foul-mouthed, juvenile vitriol. (RELATED: America 2014: University of Illinois Professor Blames Jews For Anti-Semitism)
Also, before bad press forced the hands of administrators, the Urbana–Champaign campus had employed urban planning professor James Kilgore — a felon and a former member of the notorious Symbionese Liberation Army that kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst. (RELATED: TERRORIST UNIVERSITY: The University of Illinois System Keeps Hiring Terrorists)