Word of the reported sex assault came to many on the College of New Jersey campus by text message.
"It just said a timely warning that the campus police got in a report of a sexual assault on campus," student Rebecca Keating of Woodbridge said.
A later e-mail said the victim who was alone indicated the assault occurred at about 12:50 a.m. Wednesday.
"Everyone is talking about it on campus; it was a really scary thing to find out," student Jennifer Aleman of Bergenfield said.
The assailant is described as a black male, 5'6, a husky or muscular build, with a deep voice and a stutter.
The victim told police the attack occurred near Forcina Hall, a classroom building on the northwest edge of the campus, and that the knife-wielding attacker fled in the direction of a nearby lake.
"It is unfortunate it is the world we live in and there's nothing we can really do about it; it can happen here, it can happen anywhere," student Katlin Catapano of Toms River said.
Campus crime statistics show mostly liquor violations and burglaries. Three prior forcible sex offenses were reported in 2007 and one in 2009.
The lesson for the incoming freshmen at the college is to stay together
"My parents heard about it and they said make sure you always stick with a group; we are always with a group," Lauren Karpovich of Marlton said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the College of New Jersey campus police or the sex assault unit of the Mercer County prosecutor's office.
Meantime, the college says it is beefing up security.
The College of New Jersey was formerly known as Trenton State College and is home to about 6,000+ students.