Just after midnight on Sunday, May 1, Northfield Police responded to a stabbing at Ytterboe Hall at St. Olaf College. The suspect is 20-year-old William Schulenberg of Chanhassen, Minnesota. Schulenberg allegedly attacked his ex-girlfriend and three other people with a hammer and a folding knife.
According to CBS Minnesota and KYMN Radio, the complaint states that Schulenberg’s ex-girlfriend was stabbed at least twice and hit in the head at least three times. The three other victims were male students who attempted to intervene. Two of the interveners and the ex-girlfriend were taken to Northfield hospital.
“He tried to kill me,” said the ex-girlfriend in the complaint, according to CBS Minnesota.
According to the same article, a bystander told police that Schulenberg came through the window during a party and attacked his ex-girlfriend with a hammer. St. Olaf had already issued a no-contact order against Schulenberg prior to the attack.
Schulenberg is currently in the Rice County Jail and is being charged with first-degree attempted murder and three counts of second-degree assault. First-degree attempted murder entails both the intention to commit murder and taking a step to commit the murder. Second-degree assault entails an attack with a dangerous weapon. These counts carry a total maximum sentence of 30 years if Schulenberg were to be convicted.
Schulenberg’s bail is set at $1 million with no conditions, and at $500,000 with conditions that include wearing a GPS monitor, having no contact with the victims or witnesses in the case, staying off the St. Olaf campus and not entering the city limits of Northfield, according to KYMN Radio.
According to an email sent by St. Olaf’s administration to the entire student body, “The horrible incident was a physical assault that involved two people with a pre-existing relationship. We have no evidence to suggest there is any ongoing or broader safety concern for the rest of campus.” The email further encouraged students to take advantage of campus mental health resources.
A St. Olaf student, who wished to remain anonymous, wrote, “At least from what I’ve seen people at St. Olaf are not feeling that unsettled, it seems like everyone is just back to their daily routines.”
For some Carls, especially those who aren’t men, incidents like these jeopardize a sense of physical safety on campus.
“Things like that make me scared to go out,” said a Carleton sophomore who wished to remain anonymous. “It makes me scared to be outside alone in general. Especially given the person targeted was a woman. I make sure to lock my doors when I go to bed and things like that, and this story reminds me why.”
“It’s really scary, because it’s something you think about but never think will happen close to home,” said Elizavetta Makatsaria ’23. “St. Olaf and Carleton are such similar institutions, when something happens there, it just really makes it clear that these things can happen anywhere.”