A haunting campus story

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Gather 'round, kids because I'm about to tell you a terrifying tale that is — unfortunately — 100% true.

The year is 1979. The place is UW-Madison's Memorial Library.

On May 2, 24-year-old graduate student Susan Oldenburg was working in one of the library's typing rooms, where she believed she was alone.

As reported at the time by the Cap Times, the story goes that just before midnight, the lights in the library flicked off briefly, indicating to students that it was time to wrap it up for the night. Oldenburg moved to gather her belongings, then it hit her.

“All of a sudden an arm came around my neck from behind,” Oldenburg said at the time. “I screamed and the next thing I remember, whoever it was put their other hand in my mouth.”

She was struck multiple times by a man wielding a 3-foot-long fire axe. Oldenburg cried out and her attacker left abruptly, leaving her bruised and bleeding on the floor.

Fellow students reportedly heard her screams and rushed to the typing room, where they spotted the axe-wielding man running out of the room. The students managed to chase him down and subdue him until police arrived. The attacker was identified as Eugene Devoe, a 25-year-old Madison resident with a considerable criminal previous record.

Miraculously, Oldenburg survived the attacked but was left with a gash on her head that required 11 stitches. Devoe was sentenced to five years in prison for his crimes, which was the maximum sentence at the time.

Unfortunately, this wouldn't be the last time Devoe attacked a UW student. In 1997, he attacked a woman at the UW’s Teacher Education building, striking her on the head with a stapler. Again, thankfully, the woman was able to fight him off and survived the attack.

The library attack forced the university to evaluate several of its security protocols. If you're a UW student today, you might wonder why you have to show a WisCard or ID to enter the library. Well, now you know.

— Hayley


💉 The UW System will comply with Biden's vaccine mandate for federal contractors.

🏫 Following a week of walkouts, East High School's principal is being reassigned.

📚 Welcome to Vel Phillips Memorial High School.

  • The James Madison Memorial renaming ad hoc committee sent their recommendation to change the school’s name to Vel Phillips Memorial High School on a 10 to 1 vote Wednesday, the Cap Times reports. The recommendation will now go to the full school board who will ultimately make the final call on the name change.

🧅 You might want to check your onions.

  • A recent salmonella outbreak has been linked to onions sold to distributors, restaurants, and grocery stores in all 50 states. Patch reports 25 onion-induced salmonella cases have been reported in Wisconsin so far.

👮 Keeping an eye on crime.

📰 NBC News is embedding seven reporters in critical counties across the country to report on key issues as we head into midterm election season. Dane County is on their list.

🎓 College enrollment is down and UW is no exception.

  • Enrollment in Wisconsin colleges dropped 4.9% from fall 2020 to this fall, outpacing the national decline of 3.2%, WPR reports. Graduate program enrollment, however, has gone up. Wisconsin enrolled 0.9 percent more graduate students this year, though this is below the national 2.1% increase.

💸 The county wants to give its workers raises, the question is how?

  • The county is considering multiple budget amendments that would give equitable raises to its employees. Currently, under Dane County Executive Joe Parisi’s proposed budget, county employees would get a 3% wage increase at the beginning of 2022 and another 3% bump in July 2022. But some county board members say these raises wouldn't be fair to lower-earning employees who would end up getting the lowest dollar amount increase.
  • Breaking down the proposals
    • District 21 Sup. Andrew Schauer proposed an amendment that would change the raises from percentages to flat dollar increases.
    • Dane County Board Chair Analiese Eicher proposed to keep Parisi’s two-step, 3% wage increase, but also provide a $0.24 boost for the 25% lowest-paid county employees.
    • District 6 Sup. Yogesh Chawla proposed a $1 per hour increase for county employees at the start of 2022 and a 3% increase partway through 2022.
  • The State Journal reports the county's Personnel & Finance Committee will start debate on budget amendments, including the wage increase changes, Nov. 1. For more details on the proposal, I highly recommend reading Emily Hamer's full article.

🗳️ Your lunchtime read: Faced with ongoing legal challenges, Wisconsin’s election officials are still trapped in 2020.

  • From the Cap Times: "It’s been nearly a year since the November 2020 election, and local Wisconsin election administration officials are describing it as the election that never ends. They are spending much of their time answering questions about the integrity of the last presidential election and fulfilling open records requests."
  • Fun fact: This story is Abby Becker's 31st and last cover story for the Cap Times. She's been a city and county reporter there for the last five years (!!!!), Monday was her last day on the job. I know I'll definitely miss her reporting and whoever takes the position next has some big shoes to fill. Everyone say good luck to Abby in her future endeavors!

🐢 And finally, for no reason at all, here are some tortoises munching on a pumpkin.


🦠 Covid-19 Resources

Wisconsin Vaccination Rate: 55%

Dane County Vaccination Rate: 71.8%

Here's where to find a COVID-19 vaccine near you.

Need a COVID-19 test? PHMDC has you covered.

Are you eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna? Find out here.


📅 Events: Thursday, Oct. 28

  • Rooftop happy hour with Loverboy at Camp Trippalindee. 4:40-6:30 p.m. $10.
  • “Descended” film screening at Hamel Music center. The film is an abstract ghost story inspired by the life and work of Lafcadio Hearn, an overlooked 19th-century writer and cultural preservationist. 5:30 p.m. Free.
  • Storytelling During the Abortion Access Crisis, presented by Planned Parenthood. “At a time when abortion rights across the country are being stripped and Roe is in danger, join us to learn about how to effectively tell your Planned Parenthood story.” 6 p.m.
  • Bus Rapid Transit 30% Design - Downtown with Metro Transit. Learn more about the downtown segment of the upcoming bus rapid transit line including station locations. 6 p.m. Virtual. Free.
  • Selies at High Noon Saloon. Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets start at $10.
  • Paul Dietrich at North Street Cabaret. 8 p.m. $10.
  • Schlock and Awe at The Rigby. Comedians do commentary over 1985 Italian horror classic “Demons” (which is about demons). 9 p.m. Free show, donations welcome.