Yesterday's Attack in Morningside Park

December 12, 2019

Dear fellow members of the Columbia community,

It is with deep sadness that I write regarding the tragic death of Barnard student Tessa Majors. As many of you may be learning this morning, Tessa was attacked while walking through Morningside Park yesterday evening. Despite the efforts of the doctors and nurses at St. Luke’s Hospital, Tessa succumbed to the injuries she sustained in the attack.

This is an unthinkable tragedy, which took place only steps from the University campus. I personally and members of the University’s senior leadership are working closely with the NYPD and with Barnard to better understand the details of the attack and will keep you updated as we learn more.

We are all deeply affected by this tragic event. Counselors and specialists on the Columbia MorningsideBarnard, and Columbia University Medical Center campuses, as well as pastoral counseling through the Office of the University Chaplain, are available. International students also can seek support or referrals through the International Students and Scholars Office. Please take advantage of these services. Please also see the message President Sian Beilock sent to the Barnard community (below) and the message the Office of University Life posted last night. 

On behalf of the entire Columbia community, I send my deepest condolences to Tessa’s family, the Barnard community, and all who knew and loved her. Columbia stands in sympathy with Barnard.

Lee C. Bollinger


President Beilock's message to the Barnard community:

Dear Barnard Community,

With broken hearts, we share tragic news about the death of one of our students. Earlier this evening, Tessa Majors, a first year student at Barnard, was fatally injured during an armed robbery that occurred off campus in Morningside Park.

Dean Grinage and I have spoken to her parents and Tessa’s family is enroute to NYC. We are also in close touch with the New York Police Department as they conduct this on-going investigation and seek to identify the assailant in this horrible attack.

Tessa was just beginning her journey at Barnard and in life. We mourn this devastating murder of an extraordinary young woman and member of our community.

This is an unthinkable tragedy that has shaken us to our core. Please know that we are all grieving together and I am thinking of you as we process this awful news as a community.

In these difficult circumstances, it is important for us to take care of each other. The Furman Counseling Center will be open all night tonight and throughout the day tomorrow. We encourage anyone in need of support to come:

Furman Counseling Center: 100 Hewitt Hall, (212) 854-2092

In the days ahead, please know that all of our campus resources are available for you as we mourn this heartbreaking loss together. I encourage you to reach out to the following additional on-campus resources as needed:

Dean of Studies Office: 105 Milbank Hall, (212) 854-2024

After-hours psychological emergency line: (855) 622-1903

International SOS for students who are abroad: +1-215-942-8478

We will provide you with updates as they become available to us. Barnard and Columbia Public Safety are coordinating closely with the NYPD. We remind all students that public safety provides 24/7 escort services and students are free to reach out with any questions or concerns (212-854-6666).

To our entire Barnard community, I am in mourning with you and am here for you. Tonight and in the days ahead, please hold Tessa and her family in your hearts and keep each other close.

With sorrow,

Sian Leah Beilock, President